Thursday, December 08, 2005

2005 NASCAR Awards Banquet -- TV Ad Nauseam

The 25th NASCAR Awards Banquet (now sponsored by NEXTEL) is an annual event held each year in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. It is supposed to be an upbeat celebration of the past year's stock car racing accomplishments, culminating in the presentation of the NEXTEL Cup Award to the top driver based on points earned throughout the season. This year's black-tie event started this past Friday, December 2nd and today is Thursday, December 8th. I'm told it has finally concluded.

Being a long-time NASCAR fan I tried to watch these proceedings once again. In the past I have done so in part to see just how attractive the wives and girl friends of the drivers, crew chiefs and car owners are -- it is a relatively harmless fetish, just one of many that I have acquired over the years. In the past I have also tuned in to discover which of these drivers are capable of reading a teleprompter and which might have the best sense of humor. I found that I could devote an hour or two to this endeavor since my life at 6001 Creekwood Pass is generally slow-paced and relatively uneventful.

There is, however, a limit -- even for me. Once this year's proceedings exceeded the time it takes Halley's Comet to circumnavigate the solar system I realized that enough is enough. I'd rather eat the same Banquet TV Dinner for a week than spend another nanosecond watching this boring banquet on TV.

Perhaps most annoying are the endless sponsorship plugs mouthed by everyone with access to the podium. These verbal ads have become interminable -- bringing a new meaning to the word ad nauseam. And there's even more to come thanks to the recent announcement of a NASCAR/Harlequin Enterprises partnership. Yep, Wal-Mart stores everywhere will soon be inundated with romance novels featuring fictional NEXTEL Cup drivers. First out, in pole position, is IN THE GROOVE, by Pamela Britton. Apparently it is the story of a former teacher named Sarah Tingle (yes, Tingle -- and you thought Dick Trickle was a funny name) who is forced to take a job driving a team bus. Hey, at least she's not pulling a train.


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