Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Scrubbing the 500, and more

Props too you, if you stayed up late watching the Daytona 500 to its Tuesday morning finish. Fans had a choice to hit "record" and watch it at a reasonable time. I had to wait it out, which is not a complaint, just part of the job.

I'm glad that I did, because I would have missed the mayhem that was the 54th running of the Great American Race. You had Elliott Sadler go brain-dead and run into the back of Jimmie Johnson at the start of lap 2 (Sadler apologized to Johnson on Tuesday), a relatively calm 140 some laps after that, and then the most bizarre on-track moment I have ever seen.

A wreck with a jet dryer. Under caution.

Mind you, this was a complete and total accident, no one person is to blame here. Something (still undetermined as of this entry), broke on the #42 machine of Juan Pablo Montoya, causing him to lose control of the car, and slide wildly and directly into a jet-dryer on the track. The dryer was cleaning up "speedy-dry", a substance used to clean up oil on the track. The resulting crash caused the dryer to burst into flames, causing roughly 200 gallons of jet fuel to burn. Once the fire was out, track workers used Tide, as in the laundry detergent, so scrub the track clean of excess jet fuel. The subsequent delay lasted over 2 hours, and once repairs to the racing surface were complete, the race finished in typical Daytona fashion. By typical, I mean pack racing wrecks taking place as drivers tried to improve their finish in the season opener.

There are those who are on the outside of NASCAR and they viewed Monday-Tuesday's event as a disaster. It truly wasn't. It could have been, but the folks with NASCAR and the Daytona International Speedway rescued what could have been a horrible situation. I did not think the race was going to be completed, and Dave Blaney was going to be named the winner. I never thought the cars would see another green flag. Hats off to the folks in charge for finding a way to finish the race, and do it as safely as you can at a restrictor plate track.

Shifting gears, so to speak, got into a Twitter discussion with some folks on Monday, who continue to clamor for the Charlotte Bobcats to change their name to "Hornets." We're really STILL having this discussion?

OK, reminders as to why this isn't happening. First, changing your name means changing your logo, uniforms, branding, marketing, etc. All of which is unnecessary expense. Unless you simply hate the name that much to want to do something about it, you won't. Secondly, the Hornets nickname is currently in use in New Orleans, which makes it highly doubtful it would be used by another team at the same time.

Now let me add this: I understand that basketball fans in Charlotte feel a sense of "ownership" with the name "Hornets," especially if they were around at the teams inception. I get the4 connection to Zo, LJ, Dave Cowens, and on and on and on. It's not lost on me. What is lost on many, though, is that the glory days of the Hornets didn't last that long. The divorce was as messy and bitter between the city and team ownership, that it blows my mind that the craving for the "Hornets" nickname still exists.

The fact that the Bobcats are struggling, and pretty much have since day one, has absolutely nothing to do with the fact they are called the Bobcats. Their record would not be reversed if they were the Hornets. It has everything to do with Bob Johnson's utter mismanagement of the basketball team, making poor decisions on many fronts, and finally selling off controlling interest to Michael Jordan. Jordan has had his stumbles as well, and made his share of mistakes. The mess of issues he has had to climb out from is mind-boggling. I am not defending MJ for some of the decisions, but I am willing to give the guy time to move the franchise forward.

The Bobcats have to focus on the names on the back of the jersey, more than the logo or team name on the front. Those are the bigger issues.

Mike Solarte

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