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Uncensored CART Commentary
by Ed Donath

Long Name…No Can Say

“Hello again Champ Car racing fans…Todd Wickerbill here welcoming you to another edition of Way Behind the Scenes in CART. So much has happened since our last program aired that I don’t even know where to begin the update process.

“The biggest news of all, however, is that FedEx has opted out of its series sponsorship, making room for what CART CEO Chris Pook and others have referred to as ‘two giant multinational consumer product companies that will aggressively be promoting our series.’ The two corporate partners are Ford Motor Company—soon to be CART’s exclusive engine supplier through its Cosworth subsidiary—and Bridgestone, which will continue in its status as the series’ exclusive tire manufacturer.

“Thus, the official new name for CART’s brand of racing has recently been announced: Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. It’s a mouthful all right!

“While CART will, for the first time ever in its history, have ongoing relationships with series sponsors who might actually exploit their affiliation with high-tech multi-disciplinary racing—which would translate into far more media exposure and commercial mentions than the series has ever enjoyed in the past—there is, nonetheless, a potential negative in this re-naming.

“Perhaps Dr. Clifford Notes, Professor of Anthropological Popular Culture at Malbec College and his colleague, Dr. Shana Ritaman of the Riesling Institute can shed some light on this subject. Professor Notes…”

“Thank you kindly, Mr. Wickerbill. Dating back as far as mediaeval Europe’s Fairy Tale Era, the juxtaposition of extremely difficult-to-enunciate names with questionable, if not villainous, characters has been a pervasive theme in legend and literature.

“Reference the likes of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s imp, Rumplestiltskin, who perpetrated sadistic power over the innocent Rapunzel. Recall the mid-Twentieth Century sci-fi of Action Comics…wherein even Superman was outsmarted and perplexed by a court jester from another dimension known as Mr. Mxyzptlk. Positive perception is likely to be jeopardized by the ingrained subconscious fear of hyper-syllabic and unpronounceable names and titles that is rooted in characterizations such as these.”

“Hmmm. Pretty interesting stuff there, Professor. Of course, my own limited intellect enabled me to get only as far as considering the ramifications of the removal of ‘CART’ from the new series name. Fact is, as difficult as it has been to explain to the uninitiated what the CART acronym represents, there are, nonetheless, legions of casual motorsports fans who have finally figured out that top-echelon open-wheel racing and CART are synonymous—even after the somewhat more descriptive ‘IndyCar’ trade name was dropped from the series title in 1997. What say you, Dr. Ritaman?”

“Well, Todd, I couldn’t disagree any more strongly with Dr. Notes’ assessment of what you refer to as the ‘mouthful’ new title of your racing organization. For every villainous Rumplestiltskin in legend and literature there are an equal number of likeable Nickynickytembonosoremboumamoochygammagammagoochies and John Jacob Jingleheimerschmidts.”

“Forgive my naiveté, Dr. Ritaman. While I am familiar with John Jacob Jingleheimerschmidt because, after all, his name is my name too, I have never heard of that other unpronounceable character’s name.”

“Nick is one of my personal favorites, Todd. Whereas the Chinese culture is known for monosyllabicism, there is a particular children’s story known affectionately in English as Long Name No Can Say about a Chinese boy with an unusually long name. The tale is traditionally read aloud and it never ceases to delight the little ones who sit on the edge of their seats in anticipation of the inevitable big laugh when mommy or daddy stumbles over the pronunciation of the protagonist’s out-sized moniker.

“Therefore Todd, in my humble opinion, it would appear that memorizing and learning to properly enunciate Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford may be nearly as entertaining as attending one of its races.”

“Fascinating observations. It’s time for a commercial break now but Way Behind will be back before you can sing a chorus of Supercalafragilisticexpealadocious. Don’t touch those remotes folks…”

Copyright © 2002 by Ed Donath and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

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