So I read a statistic that claims 1 in 3 Americans are NASCAR fans, that equates to over 100 million people. Are we to believe that a full third of the American population do not deserve the making of a true quality NASCAR Movie? Now when I say true, what I mean is a movie that reflects the reality of the sport, not fantasy. Great stories have drama, suspense, anticipation, characters, a beginning and an end. Can anyone argue that all of these elements are not part of every NASCAR race? All 36 of them! And this doesn’t even consider the story lines that build from the first race at Daytona to the final race at Miami/Homestead.
Over the years, Hollywood has tried in vane to create the definitive NASCAR movie (Red Line 7000, Stroker Ace and The Last American Hero to mention a few). So far, only “Days of Thunder” in my opinion even registers. To quantify my measurement system on a 1 to 10 scale (with 10 being the highest), “Days of Thunder” is a definite 1. Yes I agree it is good entertainment and has some big names, but the actual racing and apparent driving skills are all Hollywood. By this scale, name any other NASCAR movie you’ve ever seen and it would rate in the negative numbers. I’m saying they don’t even qualify for a rating, clearly, nobody has hit the bulls eye as far as NASCAR Movies go.
This brings me to the reason I started writing this article today. “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”. This is like rubbing salt into an open wound. Yes, I totally get that this is a comedy about a fictitious NASCAR driver; it has to be, Will Ferrell “stars” in and co-wrote the story. In the new book; The Un-Official NASCAR Fan Guide this movie is referred to by its working title; High, Wide and Handsome, an equally stupid name. I can’t help but feel that movies like this make NASCAR, its stars and fans look dumb. Quite frankly, I’m surprised NASCAR approved this film after making huge efforts to broaden its fan base into areas other than the American South East.
Having not seen the movie yet, I can only guess that it pokes fun at the sport, it’s Southern heritage, red neck, beer drinking fans and a few choice names (the lead character played by Ferrell goes by the name of Ricky Bobby, need I say more?). Somebody needs to put the front bumper to Ferrell, wake him up and inform him it’s 2006. I’m also pretty sure that Ferrell’s character will be an egotistical, self serving, self centered creep. This isn’t really a stretch; he plays the same character in almost every movie he’s made, maybe he’s not even acting! For those of you new-to-the-sport, here’s a little inside scoop, real NASCAR drivers and the entire NASCAR “family” are all very generous and caring people, the polar opposite to Ricky Bobby. NASCAR drivers and their families support financially, countless charities and charity events. Many drivers (Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Kyle Petty) even have their own charity foundation