Rudy and Dale Sr. Go Way Back, Don'tcha Know?

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Nov 20, 2007 5:50 PM

Some are suspicious of Rudy's sudden interest in NASCAR, which coincides neatly with his presidential run and the Homestead race in electorally imperative Florida:
Now, Rudolph W. Giuliani says, he "really" is a NASCAR fan.

The Republican presidential candidate is better known as a New Yorker, of course, one who as the city's mayor drew admiration associating with quintessentially New York passions -- for attending the Metropolitan Opera and pulling unambiguously for the Yankees.

But now he is playing to a national audience, and if it means the New Yorker has to do NASCAR, the honored Southern pastime with national appeal, well, he proved game.
Allah objects to both Rudy's newfound fandom and his characterization of the sport:
Exit question: Precisely how, dear reader, does NASCAR represent “the best of America”? I’m keeping an open mind here. Just make the case.
For that question, I have a two-sentence answer. Moonshine-runners trying to evade an overbearing government during Prohibition created a backwoods sport that within two generations has been elevated to worldwide phenomenon, internationally respected racing scene, and the second most-watched sport in the U.S. (behind only NFL) fueled by a host of colorful personalities, aggressive competition, and funded by unabashed commercialism. Damn straight it's the best of America.

As for Rudy, heck yeah he's pandering, and obviously. A better route would have been saying that he's recognized for some years the economic benefits of NASCAR to his state, where Watkins Glen generates about 2,000 jobs, more than $10 million in annual taxes, and an estimated economic impact of more than $150 million for a tri-county area, but he's excited to visit Homestead for a crash course in chassis and restrictor plates. He could have easily cracked a joke about New Yorkers loving the imported sport.

NASCAR fans are happy to show newcomers the ins and outs of the sport, and welcome Yankees like Mr. Giuliani to the fold, which is what has made the sport so popular in New Hampshire, California, and New York instead of confining it to South Carolina and Georgia.

Or, he could go the Spitzer route and be excused for pandering by marrying a North Carolina woman and talking like this (Andrew Levy, fellow NASCAR fan whose got my back in comments at Hot Air will be sad to know he's actually not the world's only Jewish NASCAR fan.):
“One thing that’s true in a road course as opposed to an oval, passing is a lot harder here,” the governor said. “There are only two or three corners where you can easily pass people. Some of the big ovals like Daytona or, I guess, Michigan, where everybody has the same horsepower and they have restrictor plates on the carburetor, you’re all going the same speed. You have 43 cars within a second of each other bunched up, and in the end you have huge crashes, and you never quite know who’s going to win.”
And, clowning on Tony Stewart (who doesn't like that?)
“The No. 20 car,” he added, “can be recovered at the State Police pound down the road.”
That's some informed pandering! (By the way, It's amazing how charming the NYT thinks racing is once a Democrat politician is there to sanction it.)

On the other hand, could it be that an astute Republican front-runner considers NASCAR a diplomatic frontier for the U.S.? After all, NASCAR is luring Europe's and South America's open-wheel drivers like never before and expanding its country-fried commercialism to overseas markets. At long last, we'll be "strong at home, respected in the world."

Rudy, you sly dog, you.

In other political news, Rudy and I had long planned to split a case at Darlington this year. He and Andrew Levy and I are joining forces to get Allah to a race. Start your engines!