Sunday, August 30, 2009
Nudity Pushes NASCAR To The Back Burner
Well, it seemed to be a pretty good idea at the time. Former sports car veteran and current SPEED on-air talent Tommy Kendall would be hosting Wind Tunnel for the first time as Dave Despain continues his summer vacation.
Since Kendall is new to this role, getting him a top-notch guest to interview would be a very big plus. Well, some good things come in small packages, so SPEED lined-up the one and only Danica Patrick for the show.
Patrick is on the verge of re-signing with an IRL team in turmoil led by Michael Andretti. She is also rumored to be exploring her options to race part-time in a NASCAR series in 2010. Emails from fans have her in a Randy Moss truck, a JR Motorsports Nationwide Series car or even Tony Stewart's non-existent third team with Go Daddy as a sponsor.
Sunday night would have given Kendall a chance to talk about those topics and perhaps get Patrick to deny or confirm her plans for next season in several areas. Now, he has something else to talk about.
Click here for the Sports Biz story from Darren Rovell over at CNBC. We are using this link because it is one of the few that does not contain nudity. That's right, just when the stories about Patrick began to be themed around her driving, an old issue came to the surface again.
This time, the amazing story is that ESPN the Magazine is supposedly going to feature Patrick nude in its upcoming "Body Issue." This is a poorly disguised attempt by ESPN to cash in on the Sports Illustrated swimsuit franchise that makes millions for that publication.
The ESPN angle is that they will have both male and female athletes in different stages of well...you know. The "hook" is that ESPN will not reveal which athletes are in the issues until well...you buy it.
Print publications are a mess these days. Click here for the real goal of ESPN. That's right, if rumors are true there will be nude images of Patrick available on the magazine's Internet site in October. Sure, they will be tasteful. Sure, they will be professionally done. All of that makes little difference.
Patrick has the opportunity to advance her career into NASCAR in a tough economic time and with the IRL continuing to struggle. She has the exposure of the right kind in the media that has been focusing on her consistent finishes and curiosity about the world of stock car racing. Now, just toss that aside.
Just like Kyle Busch took a while to understand there is a reason you stand and talk to the TV reporters after a race, Patrick is going to have to grasp that in order to make it as a credible female in NASCAR, the clothes have to stay on.
The reason there is an invocation, a National Anthem and a fly-over at NASCAR events is because this All-American sport is aimed directly at the family. The driver's wives and children stand with them during the pre-race and hug them in Victory Lane.
Kendall is going to have to ask about this issue on Wind Tunnel or risk letting a caller do it. In our current society, the words "nude female" will top the words "NASCAR racing" in a Google search every time. If Patrick does not dip her toe in NASCAR, this issue is moot. She and the IRL can continue their very strange relationship.
Kendall's Wind Tunnel program on Sunday could get very interesting if he widens his discussion with Patrick to topics like her Go Daddy commercials and modeling projects. Especially if he lets viewers chime-in. Click here for the Wind Tunnel website where SPEED lets viewers interact with the show. The program airs live at 9PM ET on Sunday.
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