NASCAR CONSPIRACY THEORIES

In the Sprint Cup, conspiracy theories abound. Let’s see. NASCAR spiked Jeremy Mayfield’s urine sample. NASCAR robbed Juan Pablo Montoya of a win at The Brickyard. Rick Hendrick took Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s good cars and gave them to Mark Martin. Marty Smith’s hair is the beneficiary of illegal human growth hormones. Jayski is not actually a blogger but a sentient computer program obsessed with the color yellow. Need I mention the Digger sex video? There are a lot of shadows, but you can totally tell it’s him.

Everyone is seeing black helicopters these days. The cacophony has reached such a pitch that one of the pillars of the NASCAR media, the Associated Press’s Jenna Fryer, recently wrote to say “enough.” Bump Drafts’ Jim McCoy, who has written for this site, and Florida Today’s Mark DeCotis echoed Fryer’s sentiments. They would like the madness to stop.

Not me. I like the conspiracy theories. I like when people openly question what’s happening. The people who articulate their conspiracy theories might sound dumb, and they might be proved wrong, and we might mock them openly right now and down the road, but at least they are challenging the unsatisfactory status quo. (For the fans who stay home and refuse to tune in, the status quo is very satisfactory these days.) I say, the more the better. Keep the conspiracy theories coming.

Conspiracy theories often occur when there is an absence of information. NASCAR is famous for its secrecy. In the case of Mayfield, the sanctioning body has not released a list of banned drugs. Until it does, every suspension will carry a whiff of witch hunt. In the case of Montoya, pit road speeds are not available in real time to drivers, crew chiefs and fans. Of all the things to keep secret, this one is ridiculous. With such secrets come accusations of favoritism.

I fully acknowledge that some of the conspiracy theories being floated out there are just wacky. Does anyone not named Jimmie Johnson or Chad Knaus really want to see Johnson win again in our lifetimes? But these conspiracy theories exist for a reason. There is an information gap. Viv Bernstein recently called it a credibility gap. To me, it’s the same thing.

I say, speak up and speak loud. I want to hear all about your theory that Montoya’s pit road speeding ticket was actually an elaborate ploy that would allow him to wager his wife and children in a high-risk game of chance with God. With any luck, NASCAR will be embarrassed by the volume of your strange accusations. It will realize that high-end sponsors don’t want to be associated with millions of crazy people wearing tinfoil hats and will also realize that people will not swear an allegiance to a sport they no longer believe in. Maybe if we all sound dumb enough, NASCAR will start answering questions and dispelling myths.

When that happens, you and I can get back to the issues that matter, issues like, “Is there an actual Jayski and does he draw his strength from our yellow human sun?”

Related links:
Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson’s inner dialogue late in the race at Chicago
Obama NASCAR conspiracy
NASCAR town-hall meeting transcript