Saturday, August 18, 2007


I have always been amused by collective nouns for animals. Some of those nouns are amazing in how descriptive they are for groups of animals, and go far beyond the nouns of “herd” “pack” and “litter.” Those nouns, while somewhat anthropomorphic, appear to reflect the appearance, behavior and antics of the animal group. For instance:

  • A Shrewdness of Apes
  • An Intrusion of Cockroaches
  • A Quiver of Cobra
  • A Charm of Finches
  • A Murder of Crows (how Poe-etic!)
  • A Tower of Giraffe
  • A Parliament of Owls
  • A Pride of Lions

Unfortunately, the behavior of NASCAR fans in the recent weeks makes me think we should be labeled as An Embarrassment of NASCAR Fans! Sadly, we fans of the Big Oval Sport are being cast in a variety of negative lights, and these stereotypes may never go away, due to our own behaviors.

Sharyn McCrumb, in her recent NASCAR-related novel, tells of one fan that is hopelessly in love with her chosen driver. This character waits for hours in a line for an appearance, only to be heartbroken by an offhand comment by the driver. She continues to defend her driver on a message board, and indeed goes to the length of becoming one of his team members, just so she can be closer to the ‘love of her life.’ While that scenario made me personally uncomfortable (due to some fans I have met), it is a very valuable insight into what some fans feel about their driver.

Recently, I was lurking at a message board, where friends congregate to meet and discuss the career of a favorite unmarried driver. Suddenly there were a few new folks jumping into the group, and they were all taking part in trashing the driver’s girlfriend. For some reason, the new fans decided that it was their duty to tell all of the other fans that a significant other was somehow lowlier than they were. And these same folks have espoused their personal agenda at several message boards, tag-teaming each other to argue with the other fans. An Embarrassment of NASCAR Fans!

Also, the recent failure to agree between a Team Owner and a Widow over something as simple as a car number has caused the true ugliness of people to come out. Indeed, these fans remind me of the Quiver of Cobras, as they remain poised to strike out at the Widow, leaving a trail of venom dripping behind with every post. The venom includes pretty vile name-calling and pornographic references. The moderators of message boards involving the current driver of that number have been very busy, trying to delete threads as soon as they are created. How sad, as most of those fans, by this time next year, will not even care about that number. An Embarrassment of NASCAR Fans!

A recent verbal and only slightly physical spat between two drivers caused fans of both of those drivers to turn ugly. One group proceeded trash one of the drivers for his nationality (they got it wrong, most of the time) and his background. Fans, RACE should never, ever be called into play here, unless it is a discussion of THE RACE, not the person's heritage. An Embarrassment of NASCAR Fans!

That same driver was featured on a Primetime show recently. It broke my heart when I saw his wife and children join him on Pit Road. The camera was squarely on the face of his son, who was listening to the crowd boo his father. An Embarrassment of NASCAR Fans!

A new, foreign based manufacturer entered into NASCAR NEXTEL Cup this year. Some callers to Sirius Speedway, and posters on many message boards, have shown an amazing amount of ignorance on global economy. The conversation in some cases disintegrated into calling the manufacturer scatological names, and professing the ‘common knowledge’ that the “Japs” were out to take over our country. An Embarrassment of NASCAR Fans!

I realize that not all fans are this drastic. I know many wonderful NASCAR fans that would be mortified to be included in any of the groups I mentioned. However, these behaviors continue to support the notion that NASCAR fans are red-necked, toothless, uneducated idiots. If we want our sport to grow and be taken seriously, then we as fans have to change our antics. We should aspire to being something more than being An EMBARASSMENT of NASCAR Fans.