Carl Dean Combs, a Hero For These Troubled Times

Carl Dean Combs, a 57-year-old North Carolinian who ran 24 NASCAR races back in the early 1980s, was arrested late last week for running ‘shine.

According to the Wilkes-Journal Patriot, Combs’ operation was highly professional and clean, with all sorts of shiny stainless steel vats and condensers and doo-hickeys and stuff and a production capacity of about 300 gallons of corn mash per run — which, if you think about it, is kind of too bad: Somehow it would have been more poetic if Carl ran his operation out of shotgun shack back o’ the slaughter house and with 50-gallon barrells and five-gallon buckets.

Nevertheless, this strikes me as pure, marketing gold for NASCAR. Haven’t fans been bitching and moaning about how the sport has lost touch with its roots? The way I see it, Brian France needs to call up ol’ Carl and have him be Grand Marshall for the next 39 races. Not only that, but Carl needs to bring ample quantities of his product with him each week, perhaps taking a nip or two as he regales fans with what it was like when he ran Cup and finished eighth at Atlanta.

As far as I can tell, about the only way this story gets any better for NASCAR is if we suddenly learn that one of the sport’s top drivers is a Combs accomplice.

Or maybe just a distant cousin.