Monday, February 16, 2004

I Guess My Vote Counts

With the recent running of the Daytona 500, with Dale Jr. putting another feather in his cap, the term "NASCAR Dad" is back in the news.  According to the BBC, the Democratic Party is courting votes from NASCAR Dads.:


By Matt Wells 
BBC correspondent in New Hampshire
GW Bush at DaytonaThursday, 25 September, 2003, 02:21 GMT 03:21 UK

[...] In the current race, a new key group has been identified that Democrats must win back - the "Nascar Dads".  Nascar stands for North American Stock Car Auto Racing and it has got an estimated 70 million fans around the country.  Its heartland is the south and mid-west, where many of the key states that decide the presidency are located. [...]

[...]The inventor of the Nascar dad term, pollster Celinda Lake, says the Democrats need to carry around 50% of them in order to win back the White House.[...]
Bush reaching out to NASCAR Dads
Last weekend, there was a piece on NPR in which the topic of tires was being discussed.  It turns out that Goodyear supplied softer tires for this year's season opener.  I explained the significance of this to my son, who was in the car with me.  (We were on our way to Lotus Thai for lunch.)  Softer tires enable the race car to go faster, but they wear out faster, so you have to take more pit stops.  When to take a pit stop is an important part of the strategy of racing.  So the change in the composition of the tires should make the strategy of the race more complex.  I mention this just to prove that I really am a NASCAR dad. 

Circle Track MagazineIronically, I became a NASCAR Dad the same year I got divorced.  I was a bit short of money, but I needed a new jacket.  Walking through JC Penney, I noticed that some NASCAR jackets were on sale.  There was a Jeff Gordon jacket that I could get for, I think, around $20.  The offical NASCAR jackets are pretty good jackets, usually selling for 50-100 dollars.  It was right after Gordon's rookie year, he was not popular, so I got a good deal.  Whenever I wore it, people said, "So you're into NASCAR, huh?" or something like that.  I wasn't at all, but I got tired of displaying my utter ignorance of the subject.  So I watched some of the races next season, and read Circle Track a few times.  That year, Jeff Gordon won the championship.  Everyone thought I was an expert by then, in part because I seemed to have anticipated his victorious season by buying the #24 jacket when Gordon was a nobody. 

The JacketNow the BBC is saying that I am important.  Everyone wants my vote.  This is a big change.  Usually, whoever I vote for looses, so usually nobody wants me to vote for them.   But the $20 jacket has changed all that.  Now I am in that sought after demographic, the NASCAR Dads.  According to pollsters, N.D.'s are "switchable, white, blue-collar and lower middle-class men."  Actually, I'm nonswitchable, blue, white-collar, and upper-middle class.  The pollsters know nothing.  But me, I've got the jacket.  And I know something that the pollsters do not.  I know about the tires.  I know about the strategy.  And I know how to get a good jacket cheap.  But, will I pick a winner this time?

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