Monday, June 20, 2011

NASCAR, Joe Gibbs and apple pie

First things first. My apologies to George Pohly of Journal Register News Service, who covers NASCAR for same, because I'm going to "borrow" some of his stuff. I'll get back to that.

I dare say even the casual American sports fan has heard of Joe Gibbs. Starting way back in the 60's, he was an assistant football coach at such places as San Diego State, Florida State, Arkansas, and Southern Cal. On to the NFL, where he served in similar capacities for the (then) St. Lous Cardinals, Tampa Bay Bucs, and San Diego Chargers. Old timers might remember a guy named Don Coryell and a quarterback by the name of Dan Fouts. DC was the head coach, and DF was throwing the ball, but "air Coryell" was the brainchild of then offensive coordinator Joe Gibbs.

Finally he got a shot at being a head coach for the Washington Redskins. While there, he won 3 Super Bowls in 12 years. Pretty impressive stuff. He did a second not as successful stint for the Skins in the early 2000's, and to this day still serves as a "consultant".

In 1992, he created Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), and has fielded such drivers as Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart, and more recently Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Joey Lagano. On top of the Super Bowls, throw in 3 Sprint Cup championships. In 1995, he even dabbled in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) where he owned a funny car, top fuel dragster, and a pro stock car. Those were all sponsored by McDonald's.

Needless to say, the man has one helluva resume, and if he's not a billionaire by now, he can't be too far from it. Yet it seems like he keeps getting caught "cheating" once in a while. That brings me back to Pohly's words.

Gibbs "has an admirable reputation. He preaches faith, family, organization and integrity, making him NASCAR's answer to, ahem, Jim Tressel, the former Ohio State football coach".

I couldn't agree more, but maybe George was too easy on him, by ignoring the obvious. I'm not that nice. If Gibbs ever wanted to be known as the "All-American boy" success story, he can forget about that, because he threw that out the window a few years back with an unforgiveable choice. Pohly spoke of such things as illegal oil pans, magnets, and failed post-race inspections. Sure, most teams will bend the rules and push the envelope as far as they can, and yeah, NASCAR has to closely monitor the inmates so they don't take over the asylum, but Gibbs commited a cardinal sin.

That "All -American boy" thing goes right along with mom, apple pie, and Chevrolet. Or Ford. Or Dodge. Or any other American brand.

But not TOYOTA, which are currently the cars and engines of Gibbs' choice.

Like Pohly said, "Come on, Joe. You can be better than that. You can be smarter than that".

I doubt even Mickey D's would take him back at this point. Ever hear of one of those going out of business? They don't. It's no coincidence those arches are golden. Like gold, they never lose their value. As long as there's cows and potatoes, there will be McDonalds. It's an American icon, as is NASCAR, but there's a difference. Some might view Toyota as a sort of cancer that has found it's way into the NASCAR circuit, and Mr. Gibbs needing some serious chemo before it gets terminal, like it did with Honda and the Indy cars. How popular are THEY these days?

Jim Tressel may have lost a lot of face, but even HE never bowed down to Japanese masters.

Sorry if I stepped on your toes George, but I hope I did ya proud in the end.


  1. nice article about joe gibbs and i read your bio. im an american girl. play me a song on the piano and take me for a ride on the harley and im yours. is it ok if im 6-5 and weigh about 350?

  2. Dear American girl. No prob. Like NASCAR pit crews can stiffen up suspensions on cars, I can do the same to the bike. Bring it on. I'm currently living in a cave in Afghanistan. Walk around the mountains long enough and you'll find me eventually. As for the song? I can hear it now. Yesterday..... all my troubles seemed so far away...... JL