It’ll never be far away from Bowman-Gray -- by John R. Andres/SMM Editor-in-Chief 
Monday, April 26, 2010, 02:47 PM
Posted by Administrator
Funny thing about “roots”. Some celebrate them and others try to keep them buried. In the case of NASCAR’s Whelen All-American Series, it seems the mothership is unsure what to do with the History Channel’s “Madhouse” program that depicts the events transpiring at Winston-Salem’s very own Bowman-Gray Stadium.

To hear it being described by the pundits at Sirius NASCAR Radio who maintain an unbroken umbilical connection to the aforementioned sanctioning body, it represents something that most would rather forget -- something that doesn’t represent the corporate mantra of clean living and altruistic inspired sportsman racing because it brings up all of those nasty stereotypes of the South they have worked so hard to eliminate, either through repackaging or denial. After all, these things happened over 50 years ago. Let’s forget about it and move on to a more genteel world, one that doesn’t offend, one that is beyond reproach.

Contrary to this belief, “Madhouse” offers its audience an unsanitized dose of reality of the behind the scenes drama that racing has always been about. The characters are real and the names have NOT been changed to protect the innocent. Central casting could never surpass creating the individuals who comprise the core of this series: Bad Brad, Junior, Rocket Brown, Eric, The Show Stopper, the K-Ville Mafia, “Jon Boy” and the Myers Brothers. Some of this may sound like the WWF but these guys play for real and their quest for a trophy, peer recognition and a take no prisoners reputation often comes before family and their ability to exercise better judgment.

Week in, week out, the major networks serve up the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series events that seem like a world away from the “do it on a shoestring” grass roots racers who risk it all on the ¼ and ½ mile short tracks across this country. It’s easy to get lulled into a semi-vegetative state watching the “made men” of racing, with all their high dollar corporate sponsorships, cavort around the track in an endless parade, usually interrupted only when it’s time for the omnipresent commercial break.

We’ve become too accustomed to prepackaged and processed programs, sports, foods and ideology. We got there because we forgot how to cook and to think on our own. It’s too easy to throw in a TV dinner or a frozen pizza. Sure, times have changed but whether we like it or not we’re still, NASCAR included, connected to the roots that we may or may not be proud of and no matter how hard we try to erase or discount them, they’re never far away from us or Bowman-Gray. In this age of diversity, who we are or where we came from should be celebrated and the boys from Winston-Salem deserve our praise for being true to their ideals and their chosen way of life. NASCAR’s lucky to have them whether they choose to admit it or not.


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