Are NASCAR Drivers Good Role Models?

Are NASCAR Drivers Good Role Models?

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Wednesday, 26 April 2017
Mike Harper - SOZ

It’s the 2017 Rap Crap List! A role model as defined by Dictionary.com is “a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people.” At every NASCAR race you will find children in the stands. And for many adult NASCAR fans, sharing the experience of race weekend with their children is a beloved tradition, passed down from their parents.

According to Nielsen Scarborough, one of the country’s largest marketing research firms, 2 out of 5 NASCAR fans have children under the age of 18. As a parent, I can truly say it doesn’t get any better than watching a child’s first reaction at the sight of their favorite driver. It reminds me of when I was a kid, walking into the Astrodome in Houston for the first time with my grandfather to watch the Astros. It’s a memory I will always hold dear to my heart – my guess is it’s similar to the NASCAR kid meeting Dale Earnhardt Jr., or Kevin Harvick for the first time.

In the past, NASCAR did a good job protecting the sport’s most vulnerable fans – children.  Drivers, especially the older ones understood the responsibility automatically given to them as a race car driver to be that bigger than life role model for the kids. And since the sport was family oriented, participants really didn’t stress over the responsibility because it was a natural fit.

Unfortunately, somewhere between 2006 and 2012 the responsibility of protecting the NASCAR children disappeared. A new society was forming – talent and popularity was more important than doing what was right or clean. The new NASCAR concept is to reward or ignore bad behavior instead of stopping it. We as fans must face the reality that NASCAR isn’t a family oriented sport anymore…especially in this new Monster Energy era, where an F-Bomb shirt is accepted in Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway.

I would like to stop here for a moment and warn you that from this point forward this column may be offensive and/or disturbing to some of our readers.

I’m absolutely dumbfounded how NASCAR will not learn from past mistakes. As previous reports have stated, NASCAR has lost 45% of their fan base since Brian France took the reins from his father. Bristol Motor Speedway has lost thousands of race fans over the years – many due to the changes made to the track surface causing poor racing. After several attempts to correct the racing, both NASCAR and Bristol Motor Speedway cannot win back fans. I wonder why?

Has anyone stopped to think about what were NASCAR’s demographics back when it was popular to be a NASCAR fan? It was families. I submit when the importance of fans and families were flushed down the toilet is when NASCAR’s popularity went south. I will address this in a future column.

For now, let me share with you – as I do after each Bristol race, an example of how families are no longer a priority to NASCAR, to Bristol Motor Speedway and to a handful of drivers.

Most NASCAR fans are aware of the driver introductions at Bristol Motor Speedway. It’s a fun and entertaining aspect of the pre-race ceremony…where drivers are able to select their driver intro music. Since 2012, I have put a spotlight on drivers using music with lyrics containing racial slurs, extreme profanity, words harmful to police and degrading to women.  Many drivers over the years have ended up on my “Rap Crap List” including Austin Dillon and Denny Hamlin.

I have questioned Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) about the issue. I’ve been told by them that they only play 10 to 15 seconds of music and they leave out the profanity. Last year, BMS admitted a song choice given to them by Austin Dillon was so bad they (and Austin’s sponsor) told him to change the song. He did, but he changed the song title from the original song title and it was still laced with profanity and racial slurs.

Every time I put together the “Rap Crap List” some adults, most whom do not have children, will blame me for spotlighting the drivers and songs. They excuse their behavior and follow it up with a profanity filled message telling me to relax and accept it. Look, I’m not here to tell someone the type of music to enjoy – I honestly do not care. Austin Dillon can listen to whatever he wants – profanity and racial slur galore.  But when you are responsible for introducing a song to an audience – a race track full of children, and they can easily go home and pull up the song of their favorite driver on YouTube – to find it full of hate and vile, someone should stand up.

My guess is parents have no clue – because on the surface the driver is a good charitable person. And NASCAR is sold as a family oriented sport – safe for everyone. It’s hard to raise children in today’s society and when a trust is broken, like when a horrific song is introduced to a kid – who may not even be a fan of the driver but liked the beat of the song, just adds to the dishonesty of the times. Where is NASCAR? Where is Bristol Motor Speedway? Where are the spouses or girlfriends of these drivers? Where are the sponsors and team owners? I wonder sometimes if these drivers have a conscience.

On the “Rap Crap List” this time are AJ Allmendinger, Kyle Busch, Landon Cassill, Ty Dillon, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson.  The driver intro song they selected contained one or more of the following; racial slurs, extreme profanity, words degrading to women or sexual content. Bottom line – their songs were not family friendly.

The worst of the worst drivers on the list are Ty Dillon and Landon Cassill. I wonder if the good folks at GEICO or Love’s Travel Stops would enjoy a print out of the lyrics chosen by their corporate representative to give to their empoyees? Let’s see what you think.

Ty Dillon: “No Problem” by Chance the Rapper

Hold up, get too choked up and I think of old stuff

Move on, put my goons on, they kidnap newborns

In the streets my face a coupon

Her p***y too warm

All these b****es come to do harm

Just bought a new charm

F**k a watch, I buy a new arm, you lukewarm

I’m Uncle Luke with the h**s

Pretty b****es, centerfolds

Tippy toes around my crib in their robes, just their robes

Half a milli’ in the safe, another in the pillowcase

Codeine got me movin’ slower than a caterpillar race

F**k is wrong with you? What you thinkin’?

F**k you thought it was?

I just popped five percocets and only caught a buzz

And if that label try to stop me

There gon’ be some crazy Weezy fans waitin’ in the lobby

Mula, baby

 

Landon Cassill:  “Electric Body” by A$AP

Shorty she like to pop a** high

Popped her way up to first class high

She clap-clap-clap-clap-clap, she drop it low

Then she clap-clap-clap-clap-clap, down to the floor

Shake that a** girl, make that c****ie wet

Shake that a** girl, make that c****ie wet

Shake that a** girl, make that c****ie wet

Ever seen a crib like this? Diamonds in my ear like wrists

Pull off at the light like, ‘Wuh’, lookin’ like a mil in that trunk

Two-seater got me lookin’ all clumped, hit a n***a wig on sight

Serve a n***a mom off work, I’ma get it so high, I’m Christ

N***a, ball so hard like Mike, I could whip that b***h like Ike

I can f**k your b***h off hype, pink ring, got bling all right

How a hot n***a rock this ice? 14, almost got that strike

14, almost did that time, 14, had a 905

Clip small, but the s**t shoot fine

Shoot a spine, make a n***a recline

Start sparkin’, a n***a go blind, G Ride, hoppin out of Nissans

Do I got them h**s chirpin’? Yeah

Do I put the work in? Yeah

Do I got them h**s out workin’? Yeah

Do I make ’em put the work in the Birkin? Yeah

Just kind of makes you feel good inside doesn’t it?

This is normal for Landon Cassill – he lives on our “Rap Crap List.” But I’m most disappointed in Ty Dillon.  He has too much talent and integrity to make this mistake. This is his first time on our list and hopefully the last.  Ty has such potential to be a great role model.

Introducing songs like these to fans and children at a race track is disrespectful and completely selfish. Frankly it’s not necessary. Thankfully a lot of fans stayed home this past Bristol race and only a handful of drivers do it each season, which tells us a lot – it’s not popular and the drivers with the most followers normally don’t use these vile songs…again which has me confused on why NASCAR and Bristol Motor Speedway would even allow it to happen. Maybe they have just stopped caring about ALL fans.

What do you think?

 

Follow SOZ (nascarSOZ), get NO FOO FOO Opinions and WIN NASCAR STUFF at the new @TheThunderCrew

Want more SOZ? Check out his last column–> WOULD CARL EDWARDS REPLACE DARRELL WALTRIP AT FOX?

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author (SOZ) and does not necessarily reflect RaceTalkRadio.com or our advertisers.   

6 Comments

  1. Bill B says:

    In a perfect world this wouldn’t even be an issue but here in the real world thug culture is now mainstream and emulated by a large percentage of youth and young adults (sadly). Personally I hate everything about that culture and mentality. It has degraded society and created a generation of idiots (or worse).

    I will just make one observation. If they play a 15 second clip of the song at the track that does not have any obscenities or R-rated subject matter and then the kid goes home and seeks that song out on YouTube, in my opinion that’s on the parents for allowing their kid to be on the internet unsupervised. I will use an analogy. R-rated movies are advertised on TV all the time (edited to be safe for all audiences, much like the songs at the race) and I am sure there are kids that would like to see that movie based solely on that commercial. It’s up to the parents to make sure that the child doesn’t have access to see that movie.

    Keep fighting the good fight but realize it’s an uphill battle until parents take on the responsibility of knowing what their children are up to at all times no matter how difficult that may be in this day and age. Our culture is in the crapper and relative to other objectionable material children are bombarded with in every day life, NASCAR is still relatively G-rated when compared to other sports and entertainment.

    • Mike Harper says:

      Hi Bill – excellent comments. I agree, at the end of the day it’s the parents responsibility. For my part – I want to make sure people/parents are aware of the drivers who do not care what they share publicly and not reported by the NASCAR media. This all started when a parent experienced this after Bristol many years ago (thanks Denny Hamlin). I think people have come to trust the NASCAR community and that all drivers are good stewards…obviously 85% of the drivers do a good job and like you said the sport is still relatively family friendly. Thank you for your comments – we’ll keep at it.

      • Bill B says:

        I’m no fan of any of the drivers you have mentioned, so my comment is not based on defending specific person. Using the R-rated movie analogy, if a driver was being interviewed and was asked what their favorite all-time movie was and they said, “Scarface”, would you hold that against them the same way if they said their favorite song was “Kill Everyone Dead” by F. Hugh The Rapper? Once again I detest rap but I just think this is a slippery slope and somewhat unfair to place a scarlet letter on someone, who is otherwise a decent person.

        Perhaps the door you need to be knocking on is NASCAR and the sponsors to apply a higher degree of censorship to the songs they allow the drivers to choose. Of course, this is not without it’s own set of issues. Can you imagine the uproar if the only songs censored were rap songs?

        • Mike Harper says:

          I understand your point. My hope would be (if the driver was aware of his/her status) when asked about a favorite movie they would think before they answer. But my “red line” if you will would be when a driver/owner/NASCAR did something on their own – without being asked while working (at the track). The song choice is driven by the driver – they selected something for everyone to hear…without the fans choice. That said, I will defend the driver outside of work…if Ty Dillon wants to listen to his song, he has that right. Also if a kid tuned into Kyle or Kurt Busch’s radio scanner at the track…well, everyone knows what they will hear. That is the fault of the parent or kid for doing it. The person is going into the driver’s world – so the driver can’t be blamed. I would just hope some of these drivers would use better judgment on their song choices. Sponsors and NASCAR don’t care because such a small group of people see it/hear and don’t complain. If this hit mainstream media – where the attention was high it would change. But “bad” rap is accepted in our society. Which proves my point too – NASCAR is chasing today’s accepted culture, which is another column coming next week. Looking at the list of songs – several drivers used rap…it just didn’t have all the crap attached to it.

          • Bill B says:

            Yep, I get it. You’d think drivers would use a little common sense with things like this. I might like porn but I can promise you that if my employer or my 13 year old niece asked what my favorite movies were, I’d come up with an alternative. I guess this just gets back to how accepted thug culture is by the mainstream. Apparently the drivers feel there is no stigma attached to it anymore.

  2. racefangurl says:

    The Dillons are hypocrites! I mean, they’re open God believers, talk about God in interviews and all. And then they use music like THAT for their intros! Still kind of like them, but they need to use cleaner songs.

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