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August 23, 2008 7:22 PM   Subscribe

NASCAR as little as they like it, has it's roots in Moonshine. Junior Johnson, one of the early heroes who is considered the greatest to never win a championship, has even gone legal with it after getting his start running Moonshine for his father. He was even the subject of a 1965 Tom Wolfe Essay as the Last American Hero. The latest cheating scandal to hit NASCAR? Junior just says they were doing their job, being creative, and just got caught.
posted by Eekacat (27 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
You would think the webmaster might be able to cut and paste a copyrighted story and spell Wolfe right, but then again, we're dealing with NASCAR.
posted by timsteil at 7:30 PM on August 23, 2008


'as little as they like it..." I've only ever heard the illegal roots of NASCAR mentioned as a positive thing. You don't think only teetotalers watch NASCAR do you? The whole race has been a beer advertisement for as long as I can remember.

Trivia: Did you know Combos are the official 'cheese filled' food sponsors of NASCAR? Now you do.
posted by Science! at 7:45 PM on August 23, 2008


Also, the website misspells Wolfe once, right before it spells it correctly, notes the author and discloses that it has permission to reprint the article.
posted by Science! at 7:50 PM on August 23, 2008


Pedantic copy-editing follows. I tried to keep off of the content as much as possible. The following aren't necessarily the only solutions, but I think they'd work.

NASCAR, as little as they like it, has its roots in moonshine. Junior Johnson, one of its early heroes -- considered the greatest to never win a championship -- has gone legal with it a half-century after getting his start running moonshine for his father. He was even the subject of a 1965 Tom Wolfe essay, "The Last American Hero."
posted by lumensimus at 8:04 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've got magnetic shims under the keys on my keyboard, and one of these days I'll slip them out, and you'll see what this baby really can do.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:08 PM on August 23, 2008


Guys the grammer wank fest is over here where it's at least slightly on topic.

Man, I just the ingenuity of cheating in motorsports. Stuff like de-timing the engine to hide the power while giving plausible deniability is perfect. The shim thing is low class. Toyota's variable restrictor in their WRC cars is another brilliant example.
posted by Mitheral at 8:16 PM on August 23, 2008


See, a lot of people who compare NASCAR to, say, Formula 1 are always decrying "oh, NASCAR is just a bunch of good ol boys who only turn left, blah blah blah" and the NASCAR-defenders are newly minted saying "yeah, look how well your ex-Formula 1 Columbian is doing in the field, NASCAR is the best!"

Well, this "cheating scandal" has, beyond any shadow of a doubt, proved that Formula 1 is by far the better series.

When NASCAR teams cheat, they stick a magnet or a little piece of metal underneath the accelerator.

When Formula 1 teams cheat, they create illegal mass dampening systems that allow the car to maintain more stability through high-speed cornering.
posted by mark242 at 8:22 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Tom Wolfe article was mentioned previously on MeFi. They made a movie based on it.
posted by theclaw at 8:40 PM on August 23, 2008


According to my good friend Kyle who cares deeply about these things, NASCAR is superior to F1 because it has better crashes.
posted by philip-random at 8:51 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]




about that mountain boy who ran illegal alcohol
posted by hortense at 10:15 PM on August 23, 2008


Y'all should truly learn to appreciate NASCAR for the great athletes (seriously) that these drivers are. It is friggin hot in there. Concentrate while sweating in 110+ degrees for hours on end with the consequence of screwing up likely death or serious bodily harm. Then watch the strategy the teams employ regarding fuel, tires, setup, and the occasional magnet.

I am proud to be a NASCAR fan. While Tony Stewart is my current favorite, the days of Bill Elliot and before that Richard Petty still bring back great memories.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:58 PM on August 23, 2008


Unfortunate formatting aside, that Wolfe piece has always been one of my favorites.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:36 PM on August 23, 2008


I wish they'd use consumer vehicles in nascar. They could even have separate divisions for coupes vs sedans vs minivans vs hatchbacks. The way it is right now, these so-called "stock" cars don't even have real headlights. If they used consumer level vehicles, maybe the US manufacturers would have to start building higher quality machines, and they could have A/C for a change, the lack of which I understand is a real issue with current stock cars.

If nothing else, it'd make them put that 5-star crash safety rating to good use.
posted by agress at 12:43 AM on August 24, 2008


they could have A/C for a change

Sure, and they could have sat-nav too! "Turn left in 100 yards..."
posted by sfenders at 4:04 AM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Y'all should truly learn to appreciate NASCAR for the great athletes (seriously) that these drivers are. It is friggin hot in there. Concentrate while sweating in 110+ degrees for hours on end with the consequence of screwing up likely death or serious bodily harm.

A gymnast who can compete on the rings or horse in the Olympics is a great athlete. A middle-aged cigarette-smoking beer-bellied guy who can navigate a Chevy through heavy traffic at high speed is a commuter.
posted by pracowity at 5:28 AM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


A middle-aged cigarette-smoking beer-bellied guy who can navigate a Chevy through heavy traffic at high speed is a NASCAR Champion.

Fixed that for you.

I've always hated the imposed parity that NASCAR Cup has become. If a manufacturer or engine builder can develop a better product, then put it on the track, so be it; As long as it is safe.
Now, unfortunately, with the COT and improved downforces the days of NASCAR cars getting airborne are nigh over. Fabulous crashes are becomoing mere youtube memories.
posted by Gungho at 5:47 AM on August 24, 2008


I'm not a NASCAR fan, but I love watching the races on TV. They have found a way to make the world's second most boring sport wildly exciting. It is a triumph of television broadcasting- in car cameras, cameras buried in the track itself, in car cameras pointed at the brakes so you can see them get cherry red during turns. And I *like* the aerodynamic science of it- how they figured out that the car becomes a very effective airfoil when it spins to 140 degrees. You see this thing taking a nice, gentle spin onto the grass until it hits that rotation, and then BAM, it lifts off the ground like it's an airplane. And then they figured out how to fix it.

And then there's Smokey Yunick. A five gallon fuel line? A complete 7/8 replica car? Genius.

(And I am a fan of imposed parity- at least in NASCAR and NFL Football- it makes the game about the skills of the participants, not how much money one can spend.

But I would like to see a new stock car racing circuit evolve. Rules: you have to buy a car, bone stock. All you can do is tune the engine- change cams, change computer timing, etc. And... race.)
posted by gjc at 8:19 AM on August 24, 2008


Racing for Dummies.

They still use carburetors (I had to use spell check for that word, it's so fucking old).



"look how well your ex-Formula 1 Columbian is doing in the field, NASCAR is the best!"

Montoya fits right in with NASCAR. He was kicked out of F1 because he was viewed by many as a danger (the official story is that he "decided to leave" but I'm close to people in F1 who know the real story).
posted by Zambrano at 8:19 AM on August 24, 2008


gjc writes "But I would like to see a new stock car racing circuit evolve. Rules: you have to buy a car, bone stock. All you can do is tune the engine- change cams, change computer timing, etc. And... race.)"

Me too but the problem is stock cars are too fast. Especially if the series becomes popular enough that the manufacturers are motivated to produce specials. You end up with awesome abominations like the Superbird.

Zambrano writes "They still use carburetors "

There isn't really much wrong with carbs in this application. The engines are running in a very narrow set of parameters and the setup can be customized for environmental conditions pre-race. And on the upside carbs are very regulatable compared to fuel injection. It's at least an order of magnitude harder to generate functions like traction control with a carb.
posted by Mitheral at 9:05 AM on August 24, 2008


They still use carburetors (I had to use spell check for that word, it's so fucking old).

Even worse, they still use nuts and bolts to hold the engine together, that's steam engine technology! And even though we've had powered flight for a hundred years, they're still using stone age wheels...
posted by 445supermag at 9:40 AM on August 24, 2008


Even worse, they still use nuts and bolts to hold the engine together, that's steam engine technology! And even though we've had powered flight for a hundred years, they're still using stone age wheels...


Fixed that for you:


They still use steel nuts and bolts.

They still use steel wheels.
posted by Zambrano at 10:22 AM on August 24, 2008


Even worse, they still use nuts and bolts to hold the engine together, that's steam engine technology! And even though we've had powered flight for a hundred years, they're still using stone age wheels...


Fixed that for you:


They still use steel nuts and bolts.

They still use steel wheels.
posted by Zambrano at 10:23 AM on August 24, 2008


NASCAR is superior to F1 because it has better crashes.

Nonsense..
posted by Chuckles at 11:26 AM on August 24, 2008


Guys the grammer wank fest is over here where it's at least slightly on topic.

No, this is one the cases where it's warranted. I couldn't understand the post as originally written; the copyedited version actually made sense. Message is not actually communicated to readers = FAIL.
posted by electrasteph at 12:14 PM on August 24, 2008


James Dean in that Mercury '49
Junior Johnson runnin' thru the woods of Caroline
Even Burt Reynolds in that black Trans-Am
All gonna meet down at the Cadillac Ranch

posted by Halloween Jack at 8:55 AM on August 25, 2008


Junior Johnson-- yeah, that Tom Wolfe article is great.

But don't forget about Jerry Rushing.

Without him there'd be no Moonrunners and without Moonrunners there's no Dukes of Hazzard.

YEEEEEEEE-HAWWWWWWWW!
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 10:39 AM on August 25, 2008


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