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Bad Ol' Wace Car Dwyvas!
By Steve Wingate
Originally Appeared on Mike Calinoff's Stock Car City
Author's Note: Please folks, keep in mind that this is all in good fun, and I'm not "bashing" anybody's driver. The "Looney Tunes" tie-in created an opportunity that I just couldn't pass up. By the way, if you don't know anything about Looney Tunes cartoons, none of this will make any sense.
The Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400 with The Looney Tunes ended not only without a "Looney Tune" driver in victory lane, but also with a Ford Taurus in that coveted spot. "Looney Tunes" turned out to be a far better description of the on-track action rather than the "theme" of the "Back To School Edition" of NASCAR on TNT.
I do think, however, that the Looney Tunes theme could have been carried farther by having actual Looney Tunes characters call the race. How about instead of Allen, Benny, and Wally in the booth, we had Speedy Gonzales, Porky Pig and Foghorn Leghorn.
Speedy: Hello senores and senoritas and welcome to the CHEVORlay Monte Carlo 400 at Reechmond International Raceway. I em Speedy Gonzales with Porky Peeg and Foghorn Leghorn in the booth with me tonight.
Porky: T-t-thanks S-speedy. The bi-buh-bi-buh-big story tonight is the s-s-stra-st-strategy in the pi-pi-puh-pi-pi-puh-pi-puh….
Foghorn: I say, what the boy means is pit, I say, pit strategy. (whispers) That boys' 'bout as sharp as a wet toothpick in a barrel of dumplins, I say. Let's go to pit reporter Pepe La Pew for tha story in the pits.
Pepe: Whot ees thees? Where is everybody? We are going racing tonight, no? Peet crew! I em looking somewhere to find you, peegons!
It turned out to be quite a rough night for the LT Racing Team, however, starting with the #24 car early in the race. I think we all expected that race to end with polesitter Jeff Gordon / Bugs Bunny "Celebrating with Team Monte Carlo" in victory lane. Then Gordon would wink at the camera and say "Ain't I a stinkah?" before cutting to the Looney Tunes theme music and that famous "That's All Folks!" epitaph from Porky Pig. That's the kind of finish I'm sure GM execs had in mind while planning this promotion. Instead, Sterling Marlin asked the famous Bugs Bunny question "One lump or two?" before clonking Bugs on the head with a mallet and sending him tail first into the wall on lap 35. Looks like Daffy was right-- it was wabbit season. Ooooo Sterwing! You wascawy wace car dwiver!
Sylvester and Tweety / Kenny Wallace managed to stay out of trouble for most of the night in the #1 DEI car to finish a fairly disappointing 21st. Help! Gwanny! That bad ol' puddy tat got me stuck in 21st pwace. Help!
Daffy Duck / Jeff Green also ended up with a disappointing finish after Daffy got his bill blown off on lap 234 in a scrape with the wall. Looks like it was wabbit and duck season at Richmond. Yikes! And away!
Terry Labonte played the part of the Road Runner for a good part of the race, only to have his luck turn to that of Wilie E. Coyote in laps 255-260. After hitting the wall and loosening the exhaust pipe, Terry came into pit road so the crew could fix the problem with some handy-dandy ACME bungee cords. If you looked real close, you could actually see the wooden crate over by the war wagon. The #5 went back out, where the temporary fix broke immediately, causing Terry to run over his own tailpipe and spin out. If you look really close at the replay, you can see a tiny sign sticking out of the window that says "HELP", then the sign is replaced by a tiny white flag.
On lap 350 or so, Mike Skinner / Yosemite Sam also pegged the wall and tore up that sass-a-frassin-rassa-frassin race car to tarnation and back.. It looked to me like the car had a hard time stopping as it approached the pit stall. When ah say whoa, aaaah mean WHOA! Ya stupid race car.
Bobby Hamilton / Marvin the Martian did the second best of all the Looney Tunes cars with a thirteenth place finish. The #55 team claims it was sabotaged by the #24 Bugs Bunny team. "That creature has stolen our Immodium Q32 Race Modulator!"
The Kevin Harvick / Taz team finished the highest of all Looney Tunes cars with a second place. Taz proved to be a good sport about being bumped by Ricky Rudd with four laps to go after he let off steam by eating Rudd's helmet and his right side tire carrier. In his post race interview, Taz was quoted as saying: "Blaugh-bluh-rowr-brap-eeky-oww-blagh-bluh-rowr-uh."
Okay, enough of that nonsense. As I mentioned earlier, most of the "looniness" took place out on the track in the last twenty-five laps. Rusty got loose, allowing Rudd and Harvick to get past, then Harvick bumped Rudd, then Rudd bumped Harvick back with four laps to go to take the win. We also got to see both Wallace and Rudd demonstrate their skill by saving their cars after getting way out of shape. At the same time we were all witness to the dogged determination of Kevin Harvick and Dale Jr.. Once the race was over, the combatants all saluted each other on the cool-down lap, I was struck by the fact that those drivers had been having the times of their lives out there. It was almost like they had been engaging in a friendly game of backyard football and giving each other noogies instead of racing at over a hundred miles per hour inches apart. Here they had bumped and banged each other all over the place, but they still respected one another. They all showed tons of class and sportsmanship. Thanks guys… you made this fan feel a lot better about the sport that night.
Now let's get back to the Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400 with The Looney Tunes where the post race activities are still going on.
Porky: Th-ta-thanks, Steve. That wuh-eh-wuh was a gih-ga-gih great race! Th-thuh-the…
Foghorn: That's enough, there boy. These good folks ain't got time to listen to you. (whispers) That boys' 'bout as bright as a mud puddle at midnight. Let's join our pit reporter who is now in vic'try lane with Ricky Rudd. Pepe?
Pepe: Reeeky! Reeky Rudd! Where are you peegon? Eh? Whot ees thees? Where is everyone? We are celebrating victory, no? Reeeeky! I em looking……
2001 Car Guy of Benchfield