A sinus infection causing a blurry vision? What the heck? That must be the mother of all sinus infections! Judging from comments around NASCAR Nation, yours truly wasn’t the only one saying “Huh?” when he got the news about Denny Hamlin’s absence from Sunday’s race at Fontana.
It turns out- according to a press release from Joe Gibbs Racing- that a small metal sliver got into Hambone’s eye, and THAT was causing the blurry vision problems. Like me, I’m sure you’re thinking “Now THAT makes sense.” A metal flake in the eye when you’re constantly around it? It doesn’t defy logic.
This comes just a day after Dale Earnhardt Jr. demanded that NASCAR, JGR, the doctors, or SOMEONE come forward to explain what the heck happened. Why would Junior get so stirred up over it? It might have something to do with a little history that the third-generation racer is all too familiar with.
It’s not secret that NASCAR has had its share of secrets over the years. One that is a particularly nasty black eye is the case of one Tim Richmond, the once free-spirited, high living driver who came to fame in the 80s that died due to health complications due to being infected with AIDS. Richmond did his darndest to hide it (who could blame him at the time?), NASCAR jerked him around, and the fans were just a maddening mixture of angry, sad, and scared. I mean, if you feel like nobody is being straight with you, then the door is flung wide open for speculation. Speculation fuels suspicion, and so it goes.
Understandably, with some of the controversies involving Richmond, the drug suspension of Jeremy Mayfield and a litany of other curious cases, one’s mind tends to wander towards the worst, does it not? To that end, are we not grateful that Gibbs has shed some light on what happened.
May this serve as an instructive tale for NASCAR, the mainstream sports media and the teams- especially the PR folks at NASCAR. Just be straight with us! Most of us can handle a little bad news, it happens; just don’t lie and try to spin things in such a way that insults our intelligence. NASCAR (and TV network that will remain nameless) have this nasty habit of blowing sunshine up our butts like we the fans are too stupid to know what’s behind the curtain.
If you don’t know, admit it! If you screwed up, guess what? Join the club- we’ve all dropped the ball at least once. Life in these modern times present its share of uncharted territory to negotiate, sometimes all you can say is “I don’t know the answer, but I’ll get it for you.” NASCAR has long operated under a cloud of suspicion by fans who feel like they’ve just had their chains yanked one too many times.
Going forward, being straightforward would be a refreshing change. Maybe then, in due time, fans might find the news out of Daytona Beach a little more believable, even if it seems a bit far-fetched at first. It would be a good move in the right direction, particularly important as we live in the age of the Internet, TMZ and 24-hour sports channels. The truth has a way of working its way out, better to tell you own story than to have someone tell it for you.