It had to happen. The baseball players did it and we lost a season. The football players did it and we had the scrub teams. The hockey players did it and we lost a season there too—which was not only hard on the fans but on a large group of oral surgeons who count on the busted teeth to keep them in practice.
Someone said that the NBA went on strike, too, but no one noticed—until playoff time.
So it was big news when the NASCAR guys decided to form a union. They elected Richard Petty as their President and voted to strike. The vote was 57-13-3. (Three drivers ordered hamburgers—obviously mistaking the strike vote for the lunch order).
The grievances were a little vague. Some of the rookie drivers wanted a minimum salary; others wanted Jeff Gordon to have to tow a trailer to make it fair. Kyle Petty wanted to be guaranteed that he would win more races than his Daddy but that demand was nixed by the President.
Several names were suggested for the union:
Reorganized Order of Angelic Racers (ROAR)
Society of Professional Exceptional Energized Drivers (SPEED)
Professional Association of Special Speeders (PASS)
Fraternal Association of Racing Teams was suggested but dropped for obvious reasons because as President Petty remarked, “It just didn’t pass the smell test.”
In the end they settled on Fraternal Association of Race Car Excellence. “From now on, our focus will be FARCE,” said President Petty. “We have to make NASCAR and FARCE syno-something or other. We’ve got to make it the same, you know, like GM and UAW.”
The team owners responded with a plan to keep the fans interested in racing during the strike. “We’re going to keep the tracks open,” said an anonymous spokesperson. “The pit crews are still working so the fans can come to the track and see regular people getting their tires changed—very quickly.”
He added, “We’re also introducing something new. We know the heart of our fans. If we can’t give them the thrill of wrecks involving big name drivers, we can put more of them into the NASCAR state of mind. When you come to the track, we are offering Outback Steakhouse Parking Lots—‘No Rules, Just Riots.’ No organized parking, no speed limits in our lots and no more traffic control people. We can almost guarantee wrecks every weekend from now on. Bring the entire family for this wholesome fun.”
Despite these efforts, some of the fans have taken the matter into their own hands. A group of disgruntled NASCAR enthusiasts set up an “infield” in the median of I-85 near Charlotte, NC. They had their coolers and got drunk and sunburned as they watched the cars go buy and hoped for a wreck. After about six hours, they packed up and went home. “Its better than nothing,” said one of the fans, “but it just ain’t the same.”
Other fans have taken to NASCAR-like driving when they are on the road—driving just a few inches behind the cars in front of them and nudging them out of the way when they are trying to pass. One fan insists on being showered by champagne by his wife when he gets home from work but this may have been going on even before the strike.
Reaction from our nation’s elected officials has been swift. A Congressman from Alabama has proposed federalizing NASCAR. “Look at how we handled the steroid situation. I think we can do for NASCAR what we have already done for baseball,” he added. Another Congressman proposed the creation of a college racing circuit, “We can withhold higher education funding from any university that refuses to have a racing team. That way at least we would have amateur racing.” Several Ivy League schools have already indicated some interest. “Our schools may be full of weirdoes and nerds but we might be able to win a few races. They already drive like maniacs and we could use some television dollars,” said one unidentified school president.
The important thing is to stick together during the crisis. Groups of fans are holding candlelight vigils and many fans are wearing wife-beaters and blacking out a few teeth to show solidarity. One fan summed it up best, NASCAR now means Nobody Apparently Seriously Cares About Racing. That just about sums it up, don’t it?