Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Boo Heard Around The World

To some folks in the news business, it did not matter that Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards put on a great show. The tension of the final laps, the tight points race and the great sports TV pictures were pushed aside.

Many mainstream media members, online news sites and international publishers had struck gold long before the first lap was in the books.

It was supposed to be a quick stop for First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden in Homestead on Sunday. Just a visit with the families of military service members who had been invited to the track for the final race. Obama and Biden would then join in with some of the children at the gathering to give the starting command.

The appearance was part of the "Joining Forces" program that encourages Americans to support military families going through the hardship of having loved ones on deployment. There were five thousand active and retired military and their families at the race. It certainly seemed like a good idea.

Click here and take your pick of sources to see the NASCAR fans in the grandstands boo Obama when she was introduced with the children to give the starting command.

This blog is not about politics, political parties or debating freedom of speech. Save your comments on those topics. We watch the media happenings in and around NASCAR.

What we are discussing is the viral spread of less than one minute of NASCAR-themed video around the world. Instead of a smiling and happy Tony Stewart, many media outlets chose the Obama booing video to distribute.

At first, this might seem harmless to the sport. It's just a video snippet of some folks choosing to express themselves on one topic when actually another is the one being celebrated.

But in today's world, the media can't help but add-on to the story. Since Obama did nothing but stand there, guess who took the hit for this one? That's right, it was the NASCAR fans and the sport.

The New York Daily News: "NASCAR fans revved up the boos for Michelle Obama and Jill Biden at the car-racing league’s season-ending event in Florida."

Sydney Morning Herald (Australia): "Further signs of the polarisation of American politics was evident at the Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday when the First Lady and vice-president's wife were booed by the crowd at the NASCAR season finale."

The Guardian (England): "NASCAR is a good old southern sport dreamed up in Florida in the 1930's. It's a sport whose viewing audience is almost entirely made up of white Southerners and the soundtrack is country music and hard rock."

Los Angeles Times: "NASCAR officials downplayed reports that Michelle Obama faced a hostile reception at the Sprint Cup finale in Florida on Sunday, despite the sounds of booing heard during the live television broadcast."

In today's world of specialized new media interests, there were plenty of personalities who took it upon themselves to interject.

Rush Limbaugh (Syndicated Radio): "The NASCAR crowd doesn’t quite understand why when the husband and the wife are going to the same place, the First Lady has to take her own Boeing 757 with family and kids and hangers-on four hours earlier than her husband, who will be on his 747. NASCAR people understand that’s a little bit of a waste. They understand it’s a little bit of uppity-ism.”

Jay Busbee (Yahoo! Sports): "This is not about politics. This is not about free speech. This is about being enough of an American, whoever you are, to recognize that we should hold ourselves to some higher standards in our public life. You just harmed the image of NASCAR worse than anything that Obama ever could have done."

Terrance Harris (BET): "NASCAR has for years claimed it gets a bad rap as a conservative hillbilly outfit where the Confederate flag flies as a symbol of racial divide. And then those who support NASCAR go out and prove those who believe as much right."

This is just the tip of the iceberg on this topic. Basically, what we have here is a wonderful example of just how an unintended media event overshadowed what many of us consider to be a historic one. I live about 2 hours north of the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Our local TV news featured the booing video, but none of the stations showed even a moment of race footage on Monday.

Speaking of Monday, the Obama's hosted a night of country music at the White House that included Dierks Bentley and Allison Kraus. Perhaps used to just this kind of media issue, it seems the first couple have moved on. The performances were recorded and will be aired Wednesday night on PBS and later this week on American Forces Network for military personnel.

What's left behind after this mess is more work for NASCAR's new Integrated Marketing Communications team (IMC) to get out there and make some noise about this championship outside of the motorsports media. The IMC gang has a little over two months to turn the actions on the track into public relations gold off of it.

In a sport splintered by four TV networks with different agendas, the official NASCAR website in disarray and a shrinking media corps, the task of erasing the perception that drunken rednecks booed a black First Lady standing with the children of soliders might take a little bit of work.

It should be interesting to see in 2012 just how many politicians are involved in NASCAR pre-race activities and who is asked to be the Grand Marshal of the upcoming Daytona 500. What a fascinating 24 hours in media land.

We invite your comments on how the media used this story and where you saw it. Please avoid political comments, this is a media blog and we are just watching the ongoing NASCAR media happenings. Comments may be moderated prior to posting. Thanks for stopping by The Daly Planet.


Anonymous said...


Thank you for addressing this issue, as it truly needs addressing.

Where did I read this story? Everywhere! I didn't have to Google, it stared me in the face any place I went.

During my 40+ years as a NASCAR fan I have explained, defended my addiction to racing to friends, to fellow workers, to snotty acquaintances...

Most of them do not read racing news. They do see the news.

How will NASCAR combat this? I don't know.

But,the media has their pound of flesh.

I'm so sad.


bryanh said...

They talked to Dave Burns(which was proably recorded earliar), but I think JD said they would be whisked(sp) away shortly after the command. Does anyone know if they even watched any of the the race, and for how long. I'm sure glad it was not Jamie doing the interview.

Biff said...

It is A shame that all NASCAR fans receive a black eye. I find it disrespectful booing children of military families,and the wives of our leaders,but the country seems to be a mess. A lot of people are fed up with politicians. Maybe now was the wrong time to have anyone associated with politics at the forefront. I know if just the military families had been there,the crowd response would have been positive.

OrangeTom said...

I get most of my news via Twitter accounts I follow. Frankly, the straight news sources barely mentioned the booing of the First Lady. There was much more talk about it from NASCAR-themed folks.

What focus there was from the traditional media I would attribute it more to their tendency to emphasize negative coverage of the President and his family, rather than an attempt to bash NASCAR fans.

Anonymous said...

While I don't agree with the booing I have to like the fact that Brian France can't control the fans. He can secretly fine Brad Kesolowski for speaking his mind and not toeing the company line but he can't control the fans. I am so tired of NASCAR being so PR sensitive that I think it is hilarious that the fans have undermined Brian France's PR agenda.

Anonymous said...

Don't for a second absolve the Nascar media of blame. The day started out with the traveling group bitching about the security measures taken for the First Lady and Dr Jill Biden and the inconvenience it caused. The same inconvenience was caused with Reagan, Bush, McCain and others but that didn't seem to be a problem. Some, well a lot, of fans are so influenced by the media they just fall in step and display the same kind of abhorrent behavior. For over a month the media has trumpeted the smash-mouth trash talking by Tony Stewart. They have glorified and reveled in his behavior thereby giving tacit approval to it. Some fans follow suit. Bad behavior by the media begets bad behavior by the fans. It shouldn't be that way, but it is. Someday maybe those with the power of the word at their disposal will use it for the betterment of the sport instead of prevoking the kind of fan response we saw Sunday.

AncientRacer said...

The booing was far less real than it has been made to seem.

It did not take a rocket scientist to anticipate in advance there would be some negative reaction.

The media, not a rocket scientist among them, was ready and waiting with bait-like breath for it to occur.


Because it fit the template.

glenc1 said...

you're a brave man taking on this one, JD.

I too saw the headline at Yahoo sports and groaned--might have even been before the race ended. Personally, I'm guessing (hoping) the dignitaries were warned about it before hand. If you were one of those kids, it would be hard to explain why someone would boo you & your parents, even if they weren't the intended targets. We who have been to races have heard them boo everything and everyone--and it's not necessarily a majority, but enough to be obnoxious (I once heard Dale Jr get booed during his first year in the then-Busch series. He hadn't even done anything boo-worthy except have the name Earnhardt). More disturbing are the cheers for wrecks, but that's another story.

I particularly find the comments from the Guardian interesting, because we know internationally they probably have a less realistic view to start with, and this doesn't help. It's a shame they couldn't have focused on a great battle between two guys from Indiana and Missouri instead of making it about who they think the fans are. Somehow, NASCAR is constantly having to convince people that their fans are made up of all kinds of people. (Suddenly I have the urge to break into song....) But just as our last few elections would say, we're a diverse bunch. NASCAR has done a lot to expand into other parts of the country, but I don't know how you change people's perceptions. Most of them have racing in their own backyards, from Maine to California, but if they haven't been exposed to that they're not going to undertand.

Personally, I'd prefer it if they (NASCAR) steered clear of politics completely--there is enough ugliness out there on that topic without dragging sporting events into it.

Vicki said...

I was disappointed in NASCAR fans for booing the first lady while she and Mrs. Biden were there surrounded by CHILDREN.
They did, however, attend an event known to be attended by God Fearing, gun lovin', conservative Americans.
They also attend a race where the fans are not afraid to boo anyone!

It's America, folks! deal with it!

But that is not the story this race should be known for. This should be known for the most exciting Championship in the history of NASCAR!
Ending in a tie, the Championship was decided in WINS!

Wisconsin Steve said...

It would be nice if people could leave their politics (and stupidity) at home instead of bringing it to the race track, but I guess thats the crappy world we live in right now.

Fed UP said...

Sorry JD, but you can't leave politics out of the equation. How many of the Nascar fans would have booed Laura or Barbara Bush or Nancy Reagan? They would have been on bended knees praising her for being there.

What is evident to me is this: A clear lack of respect for another fellow human being. The media has an OBLIGATION to report that during a sporting event, the first lady, and the vice presidents wife were booed by the spectators.

I can pretty much guarantee you that had they attended another sporting event, they would have recieved a warm welcome, even with those who politics differ. its called class, and unfortunately, alot of people have none.

Buschseries61 said...

Gotta' love the ignorance of the media. It's sad in 2011 the agenda of these organizations still rely heavily on ignorant stereotypes in order to present a story.

The weight of each argument you listed stems from the media portraying the audience as white Southern Republican hillbillys. It's a lot easier to present known figures and stereotypes to your general audience than present the reality of a great sport that's unfamiliar to many.

Anonymous said...

Lets not kid ourselves that the whole thing was a media opportunity for everyone.... Even the family selected was biracial so they looked good on TV. Everyone that is the Grand Marshall is promoting *something*...a movie, something local, whatever.

I wouldn't say this wasn't expected. And clearly the organizers expected it(to some degree) as well.

On another note, has any candidate every sponsored a car during a race? If Cain stays in it, he should sponsor Ambrose.

starrcade76 said...

I think this is more a result of the modern-day manner in which the media covers politics. It is about taking sides and knocking down the other guy, while defending your own.

Something like this does show the power of just crafting a headline to attract readers attentions. No matter the context or background with the actual story.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, I first heard about the booing on a site for black women in interracial relationships (yes, some of us do love NASCAR!). And then heard about it again on Rush Limbaugh's radio program. I don't like the fact some media outlets are not so subtly making the boo about race. While I feel it's disrespectful and unpatriotic to boo the First Lady, it seems clear (at least to me), it was a matter of politics and not race. I'm also saddened the service given to our country by the solider and his family is now being overshadowed.

Mary Ellen

GinaV24 said...

I'm not surprised to hear that the mainstream media jumped all over this story and of course, made it another redneck joke.

Although honestly until I read this blog, I hadn't heard anything about it on the news here in the Philly area but then again, they don't cover motorsports much either.

Considering that there are a lot of angry American's right now, some of whom are race fans, I'm not sure why the powers that be in either the White House PR or NASCAR's for that matter thought it was a good idea to have politician's or their wives at an event like this.

People boo drivers - even when they have their kids or mothers with them and they cheer wrecks - before they know if the driver is OK - why should Ms Obama or Biden have expected something different?

It was a race, not a political event, so people expressed their feelings about the people who "made an appearance". Think the entertainers who show up don't get booed?

Bob said...

While I certainly wouldn't and don't condone such behavior by any fan of any sport, this kind of behavior isn't unprecedented. People who act out like what we saw the other day at Homestead are snotpockets IMO.

The First Lady is a political figure, political figures get booed. The Bush clan experienced and continue to experience the same kind of disrespect.

I'm a Vet of many of your recent forays and I appreciated the First Lady's appearance. Regardless of political affiliation, the office of the POTUS/FLOTUS deserves respect, that didn't happen and let's be honest here....rarely does. Unless of course the the venue is 'politically friendly'.

The WH and OFL knew that the FLOTUS would receive something other than a warm and fuzzy reception. It's a shrewd move by the WH & OFL, a politically expedient tactic...which, considering what's happening was pretty smart.

You can't legislate morality, things will happen, people will make mountains out of molehills. The MSM will trumpet things that appeal it its viewership or advance a certain agenda.

The booing was certainly upsetting, but like I said, hardly unprecedented.


bknotts said...

I don't really think you can honestly discuss this while taking politics out of this, as it was all about politics.

They were booed because of politics, and they were there because of politics.

What percentage booed? Probably less than 10%. You can't control everyone.

To me, this is a non-story.

Anonymous said...

NASCAR is getting better and better with a shovel. What did they expect would happen? They are trying to change what got them to where they are. All this did was give fans who were already an the edge a push to leave the sport. It also assures that most of the people who they are trying to attract will not be very interested. If you are going to market yourself, you better know your audience.

Vicky D said...

Fox Business News person, Dagen McDowell, a big Tony Stewart fan was at the race and mentioned it on tv this morning that she didn't even hear the booing there was so much noise at the track and the planes flying over too. So perhaps Mrs. Obama didn't hear it.

John said...

I'm at a loss as to why anyone would think that Mrs. Obama would not be booed. Nationally her husband approval numbers are in the low 40's. He has been booed atleast twice at baseball games, just as President Bush was when his approval numbers were low.

NASCAR fans are no longer just Rednecks, but that doesn't mean their politics aren't bent strongly to the right. I would venture to guess that even at tracks like Fontana or Sonoma, most of the people there are more likely to vote Republican than the typical voter in California.

That is the long way of saying that when you are politically unpopular, and the voters only get to vote for or against you once every four years, booing is the only outlet you have to voice your displeasure. And many Americans are not pleased.

Sure it was unseemly that a veteran and his family was there, but that was done for the optics. Just as the entire visit was. NASCAR is not the Obama's thing which is fine. I love it, just like I love College Basketball which the President is a huge fan of. Let's not act as if this had racial overtones. Remember there was a time when Richard Petty objected to President Jimmy Carter being the Grand Marshal at the Southern 500, and last time I checked Carter is a white peanut farmer from Georgia. Which would seem to be the natural consituency of NASCAR.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Some interesting items today:

Got email from a fan that said he booed because he had to stand in line for a metal detector because Ms. Obama was there.

Got tons of hateful comments from folks about all kinds of political things. None will get posted as I mentioned in the column.

This story seems to have died as quickly as it started. So interesting as a sports media person to see the dog and pony show of politics and the reality of what the "media" has become.

Still like to know where you saw this story originally and what you think about media outlets going for the political controversy (as off-base as it really was) rather then the national sports drama of a historic moment in a major professional sport.



AncientRacer said...

Without (though I knew it was coming) looking for the story:

Miami Herald, Saint Petersburg Times, Sayfie Review Blog Ticker, NBC Nightly News (in that order)

sbaker17 said...

What I found interesting from reading snippets from a multitude of sites, is the that a majority of the articles I read characterized the sport as (my quote) "Southern Redneck." If one were to check the final point standings, only 3 drivers in the top twenty are originally from south of the Mason-Dixon line.
My guess is that allot of the fans in the stand are not "Southern Redneck."

AveryNH said...

Whether you support the president or not I find it entirely disrespectful to boo anybody of service. They sacrifice their life so that you can even watch the damn race and that is how you repay them? It's embarrassing that we treat our service men and women this way. I was embarrassed when when it occurred and was worried itd stir up the redneck debate

Keith said...

I would like to see this fiasco used as an opportunity to get rid of some of these antiquated ceremonies. I cringe at some of the celebrities they bring out pushing movies and such.

Did the first lady deserve the treatment she received? No, but one solution would be to eliminate a lot of these distractions and focus on giving the fans a good race.

sue said...

Remember 5 years ago when NBC was trying to provoke anti-semantic reactions from Nascar fans by sending Muslim males (along with plenty of cameras) to a race? Nascar management was outraged. It backfired on NBC when the cat was let out of the bag that NBC tried entrapping Nascar fans.

Is Mrs Obama the first presidents wife to be booed. Of course not. I'm sure Hillary Clinton could give some insight to this. Heck even Lady Bird Johnson has been booed. But that's not the point.
To say that these women are not political would be erroneous. Because by virtue of being married to their spouse they are. But again that's not the point.
The point is that whether it was Nascar or the Whitehouse whoever thought this would be a good idea doesn't live in the real world. Not that I condoned the folks that booed Mrs Obama and Mrs Biden.

Listening to a few of the broadcasts I noticed that ABC prior to showing the tape made sure that everyone knew that Michelle Obama was African American thus making it seem the booing was racially motivated. And if you listen closely you can hear the boo's. Now if you listen to the same video but on the LA Times website you will notice that the boo's aren't as prominent and barely noticeable. Maybe some editing by the media to provide greater clarity us all? Again its just the hyping of bad behavior from some folks by the media, should we be surprised?

West Coast Kenny said...


I usually don't want to be lumped with the "grassy knoll" crowd, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the White House was well aware of the reception the First Lady and Jill Biden would receive and were counting on it.

Nothing like a rude reception to generate a little sympathetic press at a time when even the President's own party seems dissatisfied. The reaction was disgraceful, but it was to be expected.

I would not have booed the First Lady and Jill Biden when they were introduced. But I might have booed them later. That was the weakest and least enthusiastic "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines" I've ever heard.


Anonymous said...

When I saw the coverage, the serviceman and the children were cheered. Only Obama and Biden were booed. If they had been in Philly, they probably would have needed flak jackets. It's the economy, stupid.

Anonymous said...

John, I'm a NASCAR fan, as are many who are not Republicans. Realistically I would agree with you they are probably the majority, I don't know how much it would be. Junior Johnson is a Democrat; it was Carter who started his pardon, not Reagan. The traditional southern fan, yes, but I doubt you'd find as much of that much leaning at Fontana or Sonoma or even Michigan. If we believe those who were there, it was no majority that were booing. The Miami area is very diverse.

I agree with Keith, I think there is way too much nonsense going on before the race. Sing the anthem, give the command and let's get going. Part of that is on Humpy and his 'show', which was only mean to be for Memorial Day. I know people believe that sells tickets, But I don't think so. As Keith said, concentrate on making a better product.

I would also bet that Homestead fans were warned ahead of time about the possible delays. People just think it won't effect them. Most of us who fly know the drill. Things haven't been the same since 9/11 in regards to security, and right or wrong, they probably never will be again.

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

Heard about it on Twitter, not sure who posted first. Pretty sure it was a media person.

I agree with those that say, while rude & impolite, no one should have been surprised. It has nothing to do with "redneck", everything to do with "politics".

I could be wrong, but I believe the family was introduced first, then the 1st/2nd ladies. That's when I heard what sounded like some boos. If I hadn't seen the comment on Twitter, wonder if I would have noticed. FYI, I was watching delayed on DVR, which is how I knew before I saw :-).

Charlie said...

While I was recording the race I saw on some site that the First Lady was boo'd at the race and they had a youtube video to watch. I watched it and didn't really hear any boo's. I did hear the crowd get quieter after they introduced the kids and soldier and as they were introducing the First Lady but not loud boo's like I hear a crowd boo Kyle Busch.
I then watched the recorded race and saw the part again where the boo's happened and to me if I wasn't told before hand they were booing I wouldn't have noticed.
I wasn't there so I can't say how many fans boo'ed. Maybe Espn turned the microphones down so it wasn't so obvious.
News is news and if the First Lady was boo'd anywhere it would have made the news. It is to bad some reporters stretch this to include Nascar fans but it does make a better story.

Unknown said...

Whoever is in charge of such decisions should have used better judgement in putting Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden in a position where such a reaction could have happened in the first place.

Reguardless of your political leanings, it's evident between the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street crowd that Americans are pissed these days...what kind of reaction did they think they were gonna get???

I don't blame the 1st Lady, and I don't blame the crowd, I blame NASCAR/the race track for being so clueless and utterly stupid in their decisions...again.

Anonymous said...

I "get" that many Nascar fans are republican, conservatives and do not like Dems/libs. Add to that in the deep south-where racism still lives-even in Nascar and the crowds-these folks felt the need to act out. However, to take out their frustrations on the wives of the elected officials was very disrespectful. I for one was left answering for it on my facebook, where many folks consider ALL nascar fans as ignorant backwoods racists, and the sport itself stupid as it's just driving around in circles pointlessly. I take this personally. I love the sport and hate that the deep south conservative Obama haters make the rest of us lovers of the sport look bad and have to make excuses for or answer for them. They booed the women-the wives of the real intended targets.....so much for the southern "gentry". It was a shameful display the deserves being called out for what it was. Just shameful. We can argue politics somewhere else and reasons for liking(or not) elected officials. But treating the women like that was bad form and left the rest of us fans ashamed and having to answer for the lower class Ricky Bobby types.

OSBORNK said...

I don't think they were booing the First Lady. I think they were booing her husband since she represents him . The citizens don't often have the opportunity to express their unhappiness with the state of the economy or the way the government is impacting their lives and this was simply an opportunity to express themselves.

I think some were also booing to complain about the inconvenience and delays they incurred due to the presence of someone who always plays politics with her every action.

Dennis said...

In Canada, it's normal for politicians to be booed when they attend sporting events. Why should a NASCAR event be any different?

My take on it is that it's much ado about nothing. Let the media paint it any way they want. In the long run it won't matter a lick.

As far as race fans are concerned, they saw one of the most compelling season-ending, Champion-crowning races ever. I found my heart beating like I was wired on coffee throughout the event. How much more can you ask for?

Melinda in Miami said...

Once again, more overhyped media BS. We were there, and the booing was FAR exceeded by the cheers. But all it takes is one media bozo to hear a few boos, and to blow it all out of proportion. I hazard to guess that most who have been reporting/blogging/tweeting about this weren't even there. All they are doing is picking up on some comments made by a VERY few people at the scene. You can bet your behind that Rush wasn't there, that the reporter from BET wasn't there and probably the peron from the LA Times wasn't there because the Times barely covers the race in Fontana !!!!!!!!!! This is a non-story, IMHO. And why is this considered such a huge fiasco in the first place? It's not like politicians haven't been booed at public venues before. Regardless of political affiliation, they ALL get booed. It's just part of the job. Sorry, but I can't help but think that race is part of the equation. Would it have been such a huge media story if it had been Clinton or Bush who had been booed? I hardy think so.

Bill said...

My online news and sports sources are culled from AP releases, and none mentioned the booing, which kind of surprised me. Now, of course I could find it, but many of the more "respectable" news sources buried it underneath the main story of Smoke's improbable run.

Sadly, not everyone reads these sources, and many prefer the more sensationalistic and garbage-filled sites and TV stations, so I'm in no way implying that the event won't have an impact, but I honestly think it will be minor.

NASCAR should be able to easily skirt around it, and emphasize the excitement created by the 2011 Chase as a reason for fans and sponsors to invest in the 2012 season.

What NASCAR needs to stop doing is commenting on things that are not only out of their control, but none of their business as well.

By now, most have heard about Kurt Busch's profanity-laced tirade with Dr. Punch, secretly caught by a fan's cell camera. It was immediately published up to YouTube, and NASCAR has already chimed in and called Kurt's comments "disappointing."

OK, this was done in front of an ESPN crew, but it wasn't being recorded by the network. The driveshaft failure had just lost Kurt his seat at the banquet, in his own home town, no less, as only the top ten drivers sit on the podium. That equipment failure that took him out of the race dropped him to eleventh in the points.

Ironically, only he and his brother, both Las Vegas natives, are the only two drivers in the Chase who won't be on the stage in Las Vegas.

We all know Kurt's mouth (and both brothers' fingers) have gotten the boys into trouble in the past, but this tirade was NOT broadcast on either TV, internet or radio by an official source, had no effect on the race or any team member or equipment, and was not on a team radio. Hence, it is none of NASCAR's business.

Name one driver or team member who doesn't use profanity on a regular basis! Who can blame Kurt for being upset, and then being told to wait for the network to put him on live. It seems as if Kurt agreed to the live interview, but wasn't willing to wait. Then, he apparently isn't granted the option to "tape" the interview, which is quite baffling to me.

So, Jerry gets frustrated, and kills the interview, and Kurt couldn't be happier.

I am not a Kurt Busch fan, but if NASCAR fines him one penny for that tirade, then the France autocracy needs to relinquish power, or be overthrown.

Roland said...

The Guardian (England): "NASCAR is a good old southern sport dreamed up in Florida in the 1930's.

HA, that gave me a bloody good laugh.

I agree with glenc1, they shouldnt have even brought them to the track.

Personally, I didnt hear any boos when it happened live. The whole thing was overblown by the media because of the Nascar stereotypes.

Ive come to the conclusion that this sport will never be able to shake the stereotype its burdened with. People still refer to it as rednecks driving in circles, and I dont think that will ever change. People my age (early 20's) seem to have the worst view of the sport. Even though these are death defying bada$$es driving 900hp beasts, it will always be rednecks driving in circles.

I saw a thing one time about the most hated professional sports, and Nascar came in at #2. I think bullriding was #1. Just look at how ESPN treats our highlights on Sportscenter. Theres not another sport out there that gets hated on and grossly oversimplified more than ours. Its just the sad reality. Theres not really anything that can be done about it, or it would have been done by now.

It is what it is.

diane said...

Boorish behavior has become the norm, not the exception.

As a Nascar fan I am neither a simpleton nor a racist, but that's the image these people in the stands projected.

That being said, I am among the people who don't want various "known" people involved in pre-race activities and only want the anthem followed by a race official giving the command to start engines. Period, end of story, just race.

Zetona said...

What annoys me is that the booing will only reinforce the idea, especially prevalent in my part of the country, that NASCAR is the domain of dumb conservative rednecks. Heck, I don't even bother telling people that I'm a NASCAR fan anymore, because defending the sport to someone who questions its value as a sport is an exercise in futility. This will only make it worse.

NASCAR stated during the 2008 elections that its fanbase was evenly split among Democrats, Republicans, and independents, but the drivers are mostly conservative (many donated to Republican campaigns in 2008) and the sport's political guests had been up till now almost exclusively Republican: Reagan at Daytona in '84, Bush as Grand Marshal for the 500 in 2004, Cheney in the booth at the Pepsi 400 one year, McCain at New Hampshire in 2008. I don't think any of those guys were booed.

Now, I noticed someone asked whether a politician has ever sponsored a NASCAR car? I seem to remember Kirk Shelmerdine carrying some sort of pro-Bush sponsorship in 2004, but I may be mistaken and he was a field-filler in any case. For some reason, Kenny Schrader pops to mind for the 2008 elections, but I can't remember anything specific.

jdh417 said...

If it had been Herman Cain giving the command, I suspect there would have been plenty of cheers.

I would have to compare this story to the one about the Detroit Lions doing mock prayers whenever they sacked Tim Tebow in their game a few weeks ago. If didn't you didn't hear about that story, you're not alone. It didn't get much press for some reason.

I did not hear anything about the booing on ESPN radio when they interviewed Tony Stewart on Monday, but I wasn't listening to them much beyond that. Honestly, they have a fairly liberal bent amongst their hosts and love to sanctimoniously scold fans, but since their network actually ran the event, perhaps they didn't want to spoil it.

In this case, given who owns GM and Chrysler, I have to see this whole incident as a political setup. I expect NASCAR and its media partners to be spinning like tops over the off-season and next season to regain favor with the administration.

Anonymous said...

Having been a auto racing fan since the early 1960's and having made my living in NASCAR for almost 20 years, I offer my two cents on the subject. First, the current fan base are not the redneck good old boys from the past. That group got pushed out of NASCAR Cup events years ago. The folks going to Cup races today are upper middle class to those elite "one percent" everyone is protesting against today. The average "Joe" would have a very tough time affording more than one Cup event a year. So my point is, the vast majority of the folks at a Cup event are very well off. That brings us to the political side of the equation. Well off folks tend to be right leaning conservatives who don't like to have their comfortable little world threatened. And so when representatives of their arch enemy show up, you can expect this sort of thing to happen. I was at Darlington and saw Bill Clinton booed when he was running for president. Having the politician booed is fair game. Having their spouses booed when they are there for a good cause is despicable. Like several who have commented here, I was ashamed that I was ever associated with the type of people who did it. I'm not a Democrat or a Republican (I'm an Independent who votes for the person, not the party) and there are certainly things I don't agree with in each party, so my comments are not meant to take either side. What was done, regardless if it was 10% or 80% of those attending, took away from what should have been an exciting sporting event. I, for one, will never attend another event in person. The people at these events are no longer people I want to associate with.

old97fan said...

I've missed the last couple of races, caught the beginning and end of this one. I saw the Michelle Obama intro and immediately heard the boos as did my wife who was in the next room. I'm about as anti Obama and his wife as they come and I was mortified. It doesn't reflect well on us when we are like that in a neutral setting like this. If she or her husband had been up there making a political speech or statement-then fine, boo all you want. But this was wrong. It seemed every where I went on news later on and the next day it was twisted to whatever the political leaning was of the particular show or network. Shame on them too. Our media has really sunk a long ways.

On the Busch thing I'm puzzled. It wasn't a tirade, there were inappropriate curse words but no tirade. It wasn't broadcast or reported on ESPN. I've heard much worse from other drivers AND they made him wait and wait and wait when most drivers would have made them get the comment while walking to the hauler. Seems like this is being blown out of proportion. Not saying there aren't issues here but this is a little ridiculous.

Robert Eastman said...

Everybody should BOO anyone connected to an administration that destroys/delays more than 100,000 "great paying jobs" (drilling in the gulf) plus 20,000 good paying jobs on an already approved pipeline project during an extreme recession/depression... just to placate a small segment of the POTUS's base-block of voters.
NASCAR's "operational sports-model" requires a strong economy in order to attract the corporate sponsorship that "pays the freight" that gets the "race-cars" on the track.
Just try to convince the 125 employees that just got "the pink-slip" at Roush that "the President's policies" shouldn't be Booooooo-ed!" How can "the citizens" project their displeasure any other way than to Booooo! They should have Booooo-ed more! Just sayin... "Truth/ Reality" needs to wake up the leadership before it's too-late for our country to ever recover.
Sorry J.D. if this post is too "in your face" to be included... BUT NASCAR needs a great economy more than any other sport... just to survive! IT IS NOT a racial/red-neck issue... IT IS an economic issue!!!

tonybct said...

I missed the original incident, heard it played several times after, didn't pick up much booing, didn't think it was a big deal, not surprised that NY daily news would see fit to print this, since they can't usually be bothered to print any race result, unless maybe there was a death associated with it, I wasn't happy to see the two of them featured in a "filler" piece later on, but that's politics, any honor to a serviceman, or his/her family, can't be highlighted enough

Saltsburgtrojanfan said...


What really burns me is that NASCAR fans have Ben exploited by the media as classless. Michelle Obama was there and regardless of the fans political views needs to be respected.

Have fun on black Friday, jd

Anonymous said...

In main stream news this topic was the lead for NASCAR, the fact Tony won the championship was a note attached as an after thought to the story. Well played NASCAR nation. Another big black eye for the sport. Try to show some respect in the future, oh who am I kidding. Carry on.

Anonymous said...

I didn't even see it on the news, i barely saw it on twitter. I heard more about it on SIRIUSXM NASCAR radio. I hate that the FLOTUS was boo'd but can't control it. I agree that the NATION is mad because of the state of the economy. But to display disrespect for the FLOTUS is embarrassing to me as a die hard NASCAR fan. I don't expect the boos were for the family that was there with the FLOTUS

NancyatStudioN said...

I have a few thoughts about this matter.
#1 - I heard the boos and was shocked and embarrassed, if not totally surprised. Common courtesy seems to have gone the way of the dodo bird, and I for one mourn its loss. I've heard it justified by the fact that others have been booed. Even so, it's still wrong.
#2 - The media promotes the "redneck image," showing beer-guzzling, half-naked race fans acting stupid in the campground and infield and playing up the "bad boy" image of as many drivers as possible. Why are they surprised when fans think this kind of behavior is acceptable?
#3 - It's inconceivable to think that Nascar officials didn't know that this would happen. Either they didn't care, or they wanted the country to see the First Lady being booed.
#4 - In addition to the boos, it was very disappointing to read Tweets from WAGs who complained about the security - especially since one's hubby is sponsored by the military. Maybe they forgot that the First Lady is married to the Commander in Chief. Maybe he should pull the sponsorship and give it to someone with enough sense to keep their mouth shut.
#5 - No matter what any of us think about the situation, it isn't going to change it.

Anonymous said...

Jay Busbee couldn't have been more accurate. Nascar gets recognized for their staunch support of the military by Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden (those of you who didn't see the interview in the garage about this need to watch it) and the fans boo them? I'm sorry but when you disrespect people who support the military in any way, shape or form, you disrespect every single member of the military and their families. Shame on you.

Mary Lou Morgan said...

I am completely isolated as a NASCAR fan among my peers, who tend in the majority professional, upper middle class, and educated. My friends and family cannot understand my passion for this sport, since I am horrified by narrow minds, discrimination, and uninformed thinking. In short, those things that represent what is usually implied by the uncouth redneck tag on NASCAR fans. The booing on Sunday validates and perpetuates this stereotype and is is extraordinarily detrimental to the sport

jdh417 said...

A bunch of drunken, rascist rednecks heckling a pair of very respectable women supporting our military? A staged political stunt using our military and their kids as human props?

I'd be willing to give more benefit of doubt to the First Lady, but for that incident during the Health Care debate, where democrat congressmen were marched through a crowd of protesters while their aides recorded the procession, hoping for an incident.

I just don't see this as an honest miscalculation of an audience. And I'm really not sure why NASCAR invited the ladies to be there to honor the troops, knowing that this might happen.

Anonymous said...

The NASCAR crowds are by and large anti-Democrat. This is no surprise. Does anyone remember when the (redneck?) Bill Clinton rolled into Darlington and was introduced? The booing rocked the place. ESPN tried then to smooth it over, as if it did not happen. Not a "race-related" incident, to be sure. These 2 typically only go to places where they know they'll be insulated from negative responses. And I would have furious if I went to this race and was held up in a security check too. It is a story now because of the internet. When it happened to Clinton there was not the instant news cycle, like now.

Anonymous said...

What did they expect? Less than a year until the election, and all of a sudden she is concerned about us troops and shows up at a race?

What an egregious mistake, and the fans know it is pure politics and nothing more.

Anonymous said...

Didn't watch the race ... Knew what would happen during the pre-race ceremonies ... Knew it'd wind up being a news story as the track & NASCAR were already taking heat for it when they announced "who" was going to be the grand marshals ...

Saw a link on my Yahoo Home Page for my webmail ... Read Busbee's article & got annoyed at Busbee ... Watched one of the youtube videos and it sounded like the mic was right where the people were sitting (planted there on purpose??) ... Then immediately lost my internet connection for almost TWO DAYS ...

Here's a different opinion on the incident ...


red said...

This: the first thing my boss, not a race fan or even a sports fan, asked me Monday morning & I quote:
"Did they really boo the First Lady & Dr. Biden yesterday?"

Everything else that race was & everything I've done for 3 years to chip away at the nascar fan stereotype with my boss was undone in those few moments.


Anonymous said...

I saw the picture and story on the front page of yahoo.com.

My question is, did Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden complain that they were booed? I haven't heard any reaction from them, the White House or the Vice Presidents office. So, I assume they have thick skin and it really didn't bother them. Therefore, remind me why this is a big deal?

Tony Stewart's championship picture and story was on the same front page the next day. NASCAR got exposure from every angle with all the events of the weekend. End of Story!

Daly Planet Editor said...


This is a NASCAR media blog. These are the kind of topics we discuss. If you want to know why, see red's post above. In many circles, this was the story of the weekend.

sbaker17 said...

The pundits on the left and right will spin this thing to fit their particular agenda. When in reality it is.

Wait for it.

Much a Boo About Nothing

So sorry for that :)

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Nascar didnt invite the first ladies. They invited themselves. Nascar does stuff with the military always and could have without them. I dont know if I would have booed. But I'm pretty unhappy with Obama-and did not like being reminded of it before the race. So maybe I would have. By the way, I think most Nascar fans dont mind being called a Southern redneck. Most are not ashamed of where they come from. It's just everyone else thinks we should be.

air ride kits said...

NASCAR fans skew conservative. You know that, I know that, politicians know that. An overwhelmingly white fan base, rooted in Southern conservative values.