A couple of state lawmakers are due for a tune-up after putting on snooty airs and denigrating supporters of a NASCAR track...
A couple of state lawmakers are due for a tune-up after putting on snooty airs and denigrating supporters of a NASCAR track proposal.
As Seattle Times political writer David Postman noted in his Postman on Politics blog, the debate over whether the state Legislature should assist in bringing a NASCAR track, possibly to Kitsap County, has devolved into something of a class conflict. For a number of reasons, this page opposes state involvement, but not because we think Washington is too good for NASCAR. Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, dismissed legendary racer Richard Petty’s visit to Olympia this week by erroneously saying Petty was arrested for drunken driving. Not true. In fact, Petty participates in a national responsible-driving campaign.
Then Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, said of NASCAR backers: “These people are not the kind of people you would want living next door to you. They’d be the ones with the junky cars in the front yard and would try to slip around the law.”
Though Chopp and Seaquist each later said they regretted their comments, they both ought to pull their turned-up noses out of the latest issue of The New Yorker, take a break from watching themselves on TVW — and open their eyes. They are talking about an increasingly mainstream sport many of their constituents hold dear.
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For example, two of last summer’s most successful movies were based on racing. Nominated for two Oscars, “Cars” stars a spirited, NASCAR-looking race car named Lightning McQueen. Among the animated Pixar feature’s voices are Petty and another NASCAR star, Darrell Waltrip, who was in Olympia, too. National Public Radio’s Click & Clack, the Tappit Brothers, also were featured, as was that low-brow salad-dressing salesman (and racing enthusiast) actor Paul Newman.
“Talladega Nights,” starring Will Ferrell, was the nation’s top-grossing film the first week it was released.
Chopp, Seaquist and a few others also seem to forget the Seattle area has been a successful motor-sport city for 57 summers, starting with the 1951 Gold Cup hydroplane race. Today, the race during Seafair is one of the most successful stops on the circuit.
The NASCAR proposal fails on the details, not on class. For shame.