Flossing a Dead Horse: The Boringness of Racing Drivers

Go ahead. Call Richard Petty a relic. Call him back-asswards on women's issues. Fair game, of course. But never let it be said that the man doesn't have personality. The kids over at thefirehouse.biz, Chrysler's media-only blog, posted a podcast featuring some short interviews with NASCAR drivers past and present, and while Petty was diplomatic, at least he was instructive and human, explaining the post-Second-War origins of motorsports in general. On the other hand, Kurt Busch, Jeremy Mayfield and Casey Kahne were roughly as fascinating as potting soil blended with bleached flour, and honestly, recently-retired Rusty Wallace wasn't much more interesting.

Where are the two-fisted adventurers? Why is it now a requirement that a racing driver be as bland as a two-bit pile of mashed potatoes with skim-milk sauce? Of course, the answer is money, but the biggest deal in racing lately has been the Andrettis and Danica Patrick referring to Eddie Cheever as an idiot. Where are the A.J. Foyts, the Cale Yarboroughs, the Connie Kalittas of years past? Even when Doug Kalitta hit on our then-girlfriend, he did it in a lame, smarmy way that smacked of desperation instead of suave, swaggering racing-car-wrestling masculinity. When the most entertaining motorsports-personality-related thing one has seen in the past week is Helio Castroneves giggling like a schoolgirl after winning at the Texas Motor Speedway, something is definitely wrong with top-level motorsport.

Bring back the hairy-chested mofos (see #14 on this list who would brawl on the streets of New York City with Burt Reynolds...and win.

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