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Uncensored CΛRT Commentary
by Ed Donath

Trendsetters
7/22/03

ATHENS, NY—A plethora of mid-season reviews this past week reached a crescendo of annoyance that is very difficult to digest. There was another week of similarly foolish punditry about 2½ years ago that prompted me to write the following still-true (IMHO) commentary:

America’s most listened-to blowhard frequently reminds his massive radio audience that he is “on the cutting edge of societal evolution.” True, Rush Limbaugh has run about as far with the talk radio football as anyone ever has, but it took the true pioneering of real cutting edge conservative genii trendsetters like Joe Pine and Bob Grant—even liberal call-takers like Larry King—to create the format which enabled Limbaugh to seize the title of Talkmeister #1.

If you believe that megatrends like body piercing were launched by ultra-hip alternative grunge types in the early Nineties guess again. If not for the role model that Captain Lou Albano [Editors note: That’s Cyndi Lauper’s father for those of you in the MTV Generation] provided by hanging five rubber bands from a hole in his cheek during the formative years of the WWF, then no one outside of Punjab would ever have thought of the idea.

Who are the trendsetters in Champ Car racing? Or is one of CΛRT’s biggest problems the fact that there just haven’t ever been any?

Sure, Paul Tracy and Mad Max Papis once colored their hair to match the livery of their Champ Cars. But it was Alex Zanardi who came as close to being a trendsetter as anybody in Champ Car racing ever has. Alex’ post-victory doughnut-making choreography was very cool and very fan pleasing. Nonetheless, it never became the universally known trendy equivalent of the Macarena.

A current trend—I mean right now, this week—is for columnists and pundits to show us their blueprints for what CΛRT must build in 2001 in order to survive and prosper. But isn’t it a bit late now, with only a few ticks left on the Y2K shot clock, to start stringing together suggestion lists and self-aggrandizing shoulda/woulda/couldas? Where were all of these trendoid wanna-be thinkers during the other 51 weeks of the year?

Everyone who regularly visits this website knows exactly what material improvements, personnel changes, technology upgrades, media connections, etc. Champ Car racing needs to be a better and more universally known and loved source of motorsports entertainment. As much as any of the movers and shakers or any of CΛRT’s columnists live, breathe, eat, and sleep our beloved speed sport, it is you folks that provide the impetus for all of the others to strive for peak performance.

However, can you name even one person paid by Championship Auto Racing Teams who is up to the task of making the masses want to follow him or her like a pace car through every lap of the CΛRT season from Monterrey to Fontana?

Champ Car racing is one of the most potentially trendy and seductive deals anyone could ever imagine. It is truly international in scope, includes cutting edge technology, is populated by Jet Set personalities, features a multi-national corps of charismatic pilots, and is singularly famous for excruciatingly fierce and close competition.

Yet, there has never been anyone in authority who has ever seized upon a way to say to the world:

“Are you lame or something not being a Champ Car fan yet? This is where you’ve gotta be every Sunday, ‘cause we’ve got the Pet Rock, Nehru Jackets, Rubik’s Cube, Palm Pilots, cappuccino, Hula Hoops, Tickle Me Elmo, fog lights, and rear spoilers all rolled up into one incredible package. You mean to say that at your age you’ve never tried inhaling methanol fumes—not even once?”

Don’t you wish you could see at least one trendsetter before this year ends? Well, you can. Go have a look at yourself in the mirror.

Copyright © 2003 by Ed Donath and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

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