February 12, 2004


Damian Penny explores religion and motor racing, and discovers ex-racer Michael Andrettiís reaction to Scientologist sponsorship appearing on his car:

ESPN's Dan Patrick: What's the most far fetched sponsorship you've been offered?

Michael Andretti: There was a time when we went down to the race and Dianetics was on the car and we said we weren't driving the car.

DP: And what did they do?

MA: Took it off.

DP: You're not a big fan of L. Ron Hubbard?

MA: No.

Damianís post was prompted by news that Bobby Labonte's Daytona 500 Chevy will be sponsored by Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. Daytona being in Florida, Iím reminded to point out that Donnah at Florida Cracker is currently posting up a storm.

Another gal to vist: Sasha Castel, who has located a site of particular interest: the Lunch Blog!

UPDATE. AP reports:

If President Bush was looking for a friendly audience in this vitriolic election season, he sure picked the right place. Bush is assured of getting a warm welcome - especially from those on the track - when he attends Sunday's Daytona 500.

"He's just a great American," said Terry Labonte, a Bush supporter and fellow Texan. "In times like this, I'm glad we've got someone like him in office."

Why do the Republicans seemingly have such a one-party hold on this sport?

"We're all individuals," explained Petty, who once held political office in his native North Carolina. "When the guys in here go to lobby NASCAR, most of the time it's what can they do for me? It's not for anybody else. This is not a very socialistic operation in here, that's for sure."

Labonte put it more bluntly.

"I guess most of 'em just have a lot of common sense," he said.

Posted by Tim Blair at February 12, 2004 11:50 AM

For lunch today Drago had chickens.

Posted by: Drago Milovechek at February 12, 2004 at 12:23 PM

i'm liking michael andretti more and more

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at February 12, 2004 at 01:08 PM

is it me, or is there something rather unseemly about Passion sponsoring NASCAR?

i'm curious what these folks think...

mind you, i thought i'd found the answer to that question this summer in virginia.

sigh. guess i was mistaken.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at February 12, 2004 at 01:26 PM

Michael Andretti is my hero!

Can't remember who my old hero was, anyway.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at February 12, 2004 at 01:33 PM

Mr. Bingley: read Damian's post -- or don't, I'll tell you. I live in Orlando -- even closer to Daytona -- and NASCAR fans tend to be very religious, though it's mostly the Baptist/Evangelical sort of Christianity. They are also very serious about NASCAR -- something some fellow Christians of other denominations can't seem to deal with all that well. I can see why they feel that way, but it's just a movie, not the actual Second Coming.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at February 12, 2004 at 01:41 PM

gosh, if they're crazy about nascar, that's fine (i'm well acquainted with another poster here who lives but 4 miles from charlotte motor speedway); my heebeejeebees arise out of this commercialization of christ. will we soon see Passion happy meals? i admit that i got this same feeling a few years back in turin when i went into the cathedral there to see the shroud (actually, the 'reasonable facsimile thereof' that they have on display), and found that a good chunk of the back of the church is a gift shop. it just makes me sad.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at February 12, 2004 at 01:56 PM

Enh, that Lunch Blog is a bit lacking.

Posted by: dorkafork at February 12, 2004 at 02:07 PM

You'll be looking forward to dinner then.

Posted by: kitchenhand at February 12, 2004 at 02:42 PM

Actually, Richard Petty ran for Secretary of State for North Carolina (we're a fun state, we elect the entire Cabinet for the State as well, and until 8 years ago, the governor didn't even have the veto), but he lost.

Posted by: John Thacker at February 12, 2004 at 04:01 PM

How, exactly, do all you crazy Australian F-1 fans feel about NASCAR? Do you guys even have stock car racing down there?

Posted by: Andrew at February 12, 2004 at 04:26 PM

These f**king cars. They just go around and around, and it's ... so ... f**king ... boring!

Posted by: Murray Walker at February 12, 2004 at 04:57 PM

i'm aussie and i love NASCAR, King Richard Petty and the whole evangelical southern baptist christian deal. It's a pity more people in australia dont get with the plan; ie most of you are born of christian stock. why not be proud of your heritage? the alternative as you know is...

Posted by: roscoe at February 12, 2004 at 06:04 PM

Someone should start up a blog about what Michael Moore had for lunch. If nothing else, it would allow them to use the term "millions of innocent lives lost" with some degree of validity

Posted by: Johnny Wishbone at February 12, 2004 at 06:27 PM

I'm a big NASCAR fan myself and try to make it to at least one race a year. Used to be a Dale Earnhardt fan and now root for his son, Dale, Jr. Anyone who thinks it's just cars going around and around doesn't know racing.

NASCAR definitely draws a Jacksonian crowd. If you don't know what that means read this brilliant essay by Walter Russell Mead.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at February 12, 2004 at 09:33 PM

Ditto Randal
I used to be one of those people who thought Nascar was just a bunch of cars going "around and around" - until I married a Nascar fan.
Once I started watching with my husband, and he explained the sport to me - I fell in love with it.

I'd like to see Murray manhandle a machine at 180+ mph on a track with 40 other cars, centimeters (and sometimes less) away from the car next to them while enduring 100+ degree temps in car while wrapped in a fire suit. These guys are serious athletes, requiring amazing strength, endurance and cunning.

Also, the reason these people love Bush isn't because they're Christians. It's because southerners have BBD - built-in bullshit detectors. Kerry (and most Dems) just don't pass the smell test.

Posted by: acassa at February 13, 2004 at 12:12 AM


Australia has one NASCAR-style speedway, at Calder Park outside of Melbourne. Queensland driver Dick Johnson competed in several NASCAR events in the late 80s-early 90s, with moderate success; he did make some US headlines, I recall, when he crashed during a race and yelled in rage (he was miked for television): "FUCK THIS!"

Or something similar.

Posted by: tim at February 13, 2004 at 01:28 AM

After living almost 4 years in Michigan I have come to understand why so few Michiganders (are the female of the species Michigooses?) could make it in NASCAR racing, despite their penchant for tailgating at speeds of (near as I could guess) 100 MPH.

There are really just 2 rules in NASCAR racing: 1) go fast; 2) turn left. In Michigan just about everybody has real serious trouble with number 2.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at February 13, 2004 at 01:46 AM

If Australians have a NASCAR type speedway, Do they turn right (i.e. go clockwise around the track). No this is not a Simpson's joke, don't y'all drive on the left side and have steering columns on the right side?

Posted by: JFH at February 13, 2004 at 02:18 AM

jorg, drivers here in nj have that same problem. our government ingeniuosly solved this problem with the invention of the 'jughandle': to turn left you turn right...

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at February 14, 2004 at 02:25 AM

I surprised none of you Aussies have mentioned that you do indeed have a NASCAR equivalent over there. The cars are Holden Monaros Commodores and Ford Falcons. All running on big-torque V-8s with rabid fans whos allegiance to the various marques and drivers is just as high as NASCAR fans. I may be mistaken but they are not normally your high-society type either, much like their American brethren. Just about the only difference I see is that the V-8 supercars run almost exclusively on road tracks.
PS: I love the long track at Bathurst the best.

Posted by: kwame at February 14, 2004 at 03:00 AM