Occasionally I will wake up in the middle of the night with really strange ideas, and then I find I am unable to fall asleep for what seems like hours. That happened last night. One of the odd cable sports channels-probably a channel that will show NASCAR Sprint Cup racing next year-has shown old, old, old Battle of the Network Stars shows. If you are as old as me you remember these quasi-sporting events hosted by Howard Cosell. If not, and you have stumbled unto these shows you probably wonder who those people are and why are they called stars.
Anyway, this ghost of bad TV past must have taken over a few of my brain cells and caused them to generate an idea for a new show called Battle of the NASCAR Stars. It is so brilliant I do not understand why it hasn’t already been done. Race fans suffer through winter, and while this would not involve any official NASCAR racing, it would involve all the stars that fans love and hate.
Chevy vs. Ford vs. Toyota. Drivers-and their significant others-of each brand of race car would do battle in a variety of events. It would all be for charity, and sponsors would have to come up with big bucks-the winning team would receive $6,000,000 for selected charities, the runner-ups would receive $4,000,000 for charity, and the third place team would get $2,000,000 for worthwhile causes.
Here are some of the contests I dreamed up with eyes shut but mind alert at 2:00 a.m.:
-Pit stop challenge. Yup, drivers would become the over the wall crew changing tires and fueling a race car. Make it a four tire stop, and add two cans of Sunoco fuel. Only times for the fastest stop for each manufacturer will count, with 10-8-6 points rewarded. Rules will stipulate that Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, and Kyle Busch must be tire changers. I suspect there will not be any 12 second stops in this competition.
-Free throw shooting. 25 shots, and most made by one driver will determine the winners and which manufacturer gets 10-8-6 points. For those of you who know my son Matt, he was a prodigious free throw shooter in his day, once making 24 of 25 shots to qualify for the Knight of Columbus State Championship in Nebraska. I doubt that any of the drivers will make 24 of 25, not even self-proclaimed basketball ace Denny Hamlin.
-Whiffle Ball home run derby. There are whiffle ball experts who would know what dimensions to use. Would Greg Biffle be good at this? The headline could read “Biffle Sets Whiffle Record.”
-Football toss. For distance, and then for accuracy. Again best score by one driver will determine the manufacturer’s points of 10-8-6. Maybe Dale Earnhardt Jr. can get pointers from Brett Favre.
-3200 meter relay. I realize that some drivers like Jimmie Johnson run road races, so they would have an advantage if this was just a road run. However, this is like any relay at a track meet, requiring 4 runners to each run 800 meters, approximately ½ mile. One relay team per manufacturer, and as has been, 10-8-6 points rewarded.
-Coed Volleyball. Originally, I thought mud volleyball, but this would not work, although I really would like to see a bunch of whiney millionaires get dirty. One team per manufacturer. Each team would have to have at least two players on the court. 10-8-6 points rewarded, though if each team wins one game, they all get 8 points.
-Dunk tank. OK, this is totally sexist. I don’t claim to be perfect. While I would enjoy seeing Kyle Busch repeatedly knocked into a dunk tank, I have to admit I would rather see his wife Samantha dunked. This would be the event that significant others would be involved in-wives, girl friends, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. would get on the stand. Chevy would throw at Ford and Toyota, Ford would throw at Chevy and Toyota, and Toyota would throw at Chevy and Ford. Each round would be three from a team getting thrown at, and each person would get thrown at three times. Most dunks gets 10 points, second most gets 8 points, and least gets 6 points. Hey, this is for ratings too.
-Golf challenge. This would involve three tests of golf skills-longest drive, closest to the pin in one on a par 3 hole, and lowest score on 18 holes of miniature golf. Longest drive gets one point, closest to the hole gets one point, and lowest Putt-Putt score gets one point. Lowest scores will be used to determine the 10-8-6 points rewarded.
-Trap shooting. I know so little about it that all I can say is there would be one low score per manufacturer and 10-8-6 points would be rewarded.
-Late model dirt track racing. This is the main event. 18 drivers racing on dirt, six drivers from each manufacturer. No time trials. Drivers will draw for starting position in the first of three 10 lap heat races. A second round of heat races will follow, with starting positions inverted from round one. Points will be given by heat race finish and number of cars passed. The driver with the most points accumulated in the heats will start on the pole of a 50 lap feature. This event will likely determine the overall champion manufacturer, as points will be rewarded to each driver for his/her feature finishing position, 18-17-16, etc.
The first seven events could all be done inside, say at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte. I am thinking this should be done on one night in January, and the place would likely sell out. Obviously there are golf courses in and around Charlotte, and I Googled “Charlotte Mini-Golf” and found at least six miniature golf courses. A map of shooting ranges in the Charlotte area showed more than I could count. And of course the Charlotte Motor Speedway facility has a dirt track, so everything could be done near most driver’s home town.
As far as commentators, I would really hate to hear “Boogety, Boogety, Boogety, let’s go trap shooting boys,” but if this is taped in January and shown in February, FOX does do the early season NASCAR coverage, so I suppose Darrell and Larry and the boys would have to tell us all about what we are watching.
Intersperse some driver or driver family profiles along with taped testing for the Daytona 500 and make this into two 2-3 hour shows to be shown prior to Daytona in February, and it would probably draw ratings as good as, if not better than some of the NASCAR Sprint Cup races.
I say this is pure genius, but I doubt it will ever be done. Thanks for stopping by.