News & Media


Adoration (almost) never ends for prolific writer

August 01, 2011, Joe Menzer, NASCAR.com

Reader feedback strokes ego, keeps author on his toes throughout season

To say this column is back by popular demand might be more than a bit of an exaggeration.

But there were indeed some loyal fans who showed their support when the last Best and Worst of Emails effort was posted last December. They demanded more.

You don't believe it? Well, just take a look ...

Joe,

When I read your "mailbag" I laughed my ass off. I think it is hilarious that some moronic fans take out their aggression on you. You always amuse me and I just wanted to tell you to keep it up.

Steve T. from Anaheim, Calif. (Near the place that NASCAR took a race from)

"And if $150,000 is "junk change" to RC, I might be inclined to have a couple Budweisers with him sometime and discuss terms of a loan."

--

Thanks, Steve. And then there was this one ...

Hey Joe,

You inspired me to write to you again. I really liked the piece on the emails you receive. If memory serves, this is an annual column and I'd like to suggest that if you get the opportunity to do it more frequently that you should do so. I'm sure there is enough material available in your inbox to do a full piece on it each week. I love the way you segue from one mail to another while interjecting humor and insight in the process.

You're always an interesting read. Keep up the great work.

Snake (aka Jerry S.) from Raleigh, N.C.

Why thank you, Snake. Hissss words mean so much.

Related: Santa Menz's mailbag shows the naughty, nice

But then there was this one (if you keep reading, you quickly will realize it's not always a lovefest in the ol' Menzer inbox) ...

Dear Joe,

I enjoyed the article, tho (sic) I wish it had been longer! Maybe you could do a sequel?

However, I feel the need to voice my opinion of your opinion on Jimmie Johnson. You wrote "...Jimmie Johnson might just end up being the greatest, most prolific champion this sport has ever seen before he's finished with his career." Apparently you need a dictionary & a thesaurus as "most prolific" and "greatest" are NOT synonyms!

If the system was changed to favor Juan Pablo (how about all road courses?) or Michael Waltrip (we only race at Daytona!) would you be making that claim for either of them? Consistency was always the key to a championship. And that is how it should still be.

I don't care for the Chase at all; I don't believe a playoff system has a place in NASCAR. But if the powers that be insist on attempting to make NASCAR more like other sports, the focus should still be on season-wide consistency. Taking away the points drivers have earned in the first 26 races is ridiculous. Those points are just as important and just as earned as those in the final 10. Without that HUGE boost, what would Johnson's trophy total be? I believe TWO. Hardly the definition of "the greatest."

Judy B. from Scenic Lakes, N.J.

OK, so now we're getting somewhere. Let me respond in this spirited way ...

Dear Judy, here is your sequel. You now get two e-mail mailbag pieces for the price of one -- at least for this year. No matter what you hear, it has nothing to do with me taking a week's vacation to go to the beach with my family in the middle of the season.

As for your argument against the validity of Jimmie Johnson's five consecutive championships, all I know is that he has claimed them under the rules of the day and he deserves credit for that. Did the other drivers competing for the title not do so under the very same rules for the last five seasons? Virtually every other major sport employs a playoff system of some kind where the top "regular-season" performers are guaranteed little more than a spot at the postseason table once their playoffs begin.

Johnson already is gearing up for a run at a sixth consecutive title. He's still relatively young. He's talented and laser-focused and endures a training regimen that may be the envy even of Carl Edwards. He's not going anywhere anytime soon -- and for those who will be up in arms when and if he surpasses the record total of seven championships currently shared by Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, the feat should be celebrated for what it shall be, not derided because it didn't come under the old system.

Now let's get back to the mailbag and some more people who agree with me ... like this one on the recent Richard Childress-Kyle Busch scrap.

Joe,

I couldn't agree with you more. Kyle Busch needed to get pounded and shown a lesson by a father figure like Childress.

I remember when Kurt [Busch] got pounded by Jimmy Spencer and he had that coming that, too. Bravo and a long time coming!

They do both have talent, however. That's another subject.

Thanks,

Hal S., No Known Address

Well, Hal, I never quite said Kyle Busch "needed to get pounded and shown a lesson by a father figure like Childress." I just want to be clear on that.

I do remember big brother Kurt getting pounded by Jimmy Spencer back in the day and seem to remember it did seem like he had it coming. And I also agree that both of the Busch brothers possess incredible driving talent -- and that it's a subject for another day.

Besides, Hal, not everyone came down on the side of Childress in this one -- such as person who wrote this:

Joe,

You're the one that has to be kidding!!!!!!! An old man hitting a young driver just goes to show you what a low life Childress really is. He is a smart a-- big mouth bully just like his driver (Harvick, of course). A real good example for his grandson to watch. That [$150,000] fine is just junk change to Richard. He should be barred from the tracks until the Chase starts. When will NASCAR ever learn?

Spunky, Whereabouts Unknown

Wow. That reader sure was Spunky.

For the record, I don't agree with his personality analysis of Richard Childress. And if $150,000 is "junk change" to RC, I might be inclined to have a couple Budweisers with him sometime and discuss terms of a loan.

Again, though, our own NASCAR.COM staffer Jill Erwin seemed to come down on the side of Kyle in the Childress vs. KB confrontation -- and that drew this interesting comment from yet another reader.

Joe,

Loved your article. This 68-year-old told Jill Erwin that more than [anything] Childress just wanted to take Busch behind the wood shed, but I am me and she is she. I was born under the wood-shed days and she was born under the Doctor Spock days, I guess. Keep up the good writing.

James J., Location Withheld

What do you say, Jill? Were you really born under the Dr. Spock days? Can you beam me outta here to the beach? Or was that a different Spock?

Related: Head2Head: Was Childress/Busch clash good for NASCAR?

Speaking of Cowboys and Aliens -- well, just aliens unless you are Mike Wallace -- one reader got a big kick out of a column I wrote about all the conspiracy theories that were instantaneously in full swing as soon as Carl Edwards self-wrecked his winning car after claiming the $1 million prize that goes along with finishing first in the Sprint All-Star Race.

Joe,

Here's the real story. It has nothing to do with the car. It's fine. It's Carl. He's really an Alien from another planet and he brought with him the secret crystals that allowed his car to stick to the track better than anyone else's.

True story.

I swear.

Regards,

Mark Y. from Summit County, Colo.

P.S. Thanks for the laugh.

No, Mark, thank YOU. We've all wondered about Carl's inhuman abilities and physique from time to time. Does this mean he'll be driving the Mars candy car next year and Joe Gibbs Racing will be putting Kyle Busch in something else?

Related: Not even crazy conspiracies can sink Edwards

Then there was the new element of Twitter. Yes, instant access to way too much information, most of which we [should] care a whole lot less about. When I commented through that social-networking behemoth that I don't mind paying a little more in taxes if it helps improve the budget crunch in our local school system, more than a few NASCAR fans ripped me pretty good for it.

The following loyal reader took notice and e-mailed ...

Joe,

If you're getting [crap] from people about the tax statement ... screw them. People in this country ... let's get more specific ... (many) people in OUR NASCAR WORLD think anything to do with raising taxes makes you a communist or socialist or any other catchphrase the right wing of this country wants to label you -- even if the reason is a valid one.

I hope you're getting supportive comments, too.

Later.

Willie M. of El Dorado, Ariz.

Willie, I did indeed get my share of supportive comments about my opinion on that particular matter but, well, not everyone is always so supportive. Such as the man who wrote in under the following subject heading after I admittedly did not give Dave Blaney the credit he was due following a strong run at Talladega.

Blaniacs, I hear you. Trust me, I hear you -- and I do not dislike fellow Ohioan Dave Blaney, who is doing more with less than most others currently employed in the Sprint Cup garage. I was only stating an opinion, which led to an avalanche of Blaney supporters rallying behind him. That was impressive in itself.

Related: Head2Head: Should NASCAR celebrate Blaney's near-win at Talladega?

Anyway, one wrote ...

YOU ARE AN IDIOT

You obviously have absolutely know [sic] idea what it takes to drive in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Take a minute to look up facts or better yet since you probably do not have the intelligence to properly interpret them ask the drivers and owners in the series what they think of Dave Blaney. He has never had a chance to drive with an established and well-financed team. Now as dumb as you are you will say that this is because he lacked the talent which would be entirely untrue. If Dave would have forfeited his World of Outlaw career and entered Sprint Cup sooner his record today would be different. Don't be a fool and underestimate a person by your lack of knowing the circumstances.

William R., Location Not Stated (but I'm guessing he's probably from Ohio)

I stand corrected, William R. Maybe if he had more Sprint Cup opportunities, Dave Blaney would be the greatest, most prolific champion in the sport's history. Anybody want to debate that point?

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.