Commentary by Frank Gillispie

I have great news! We the taxpayers of Georgia will NOT be financing the NASCAR museum. The taxpayers of Charlotte N.C. have that dubious honor.

I am happy about this news for several reasons. First of all, as many of you know, Brian France has turned his back on Southern Heritage by banning all Southern symbols, like the battle flag and the song “Dixie” from any official NASCAR entity. Drivers are not allowed to put them on their cars. Mechanics are not even allowed to put a small southern sticker on their tool boxes. Then he has pulled one well established and popular race after another out of Southern tracks and moved them to the North and West.

As a result thousands of former NASCAR fans in the South have made it clear that they will have nothing more to do with NASCAR. So many southerners have objected to his moves that NASCAR is now running ads on southern radio and TV stations proclaiming their Southern roots. But until they return Southern Heritage, including “Dixie” and the flags, their support in the South will continue to deteriorate.

Now let us consider the arrogance of Brian France. Although he and his family are among the most wealthy Americans, he insist that his museum, a monument more to himself than anything else, be built with tax money. He refused to consider any plan that uses private funding. Only tax money will do. And Atlanta and Georgia bowed and scraped and promised him $102 million in “public financing,” and that means tax money. Money out of your and my pockets. I have no desire to have my money taken away and given to a rich man like Brian France to build his monument. That is just another case of robbing the poor and giving to the rich.

Next, this monument to France’s megalomania was to be placed in downtown Atlanta. Now I don’t know how long it has been since any of you have been in downtown Atlanta, but it is a most unpleasant experience. First, you have to find someplace outside the city to park and then ride their overpriced trains. When you finally arrive, you have to fight the crowds of “homeless” and other panhandlers. That is, if you can find your way through the packed sidewalks. That may be OK for city slicks who live in that environment, but us rednecks find this kind of situation to be intolerable.

There is another thing about this fiasco that bothers me. Just a year or so ago, Atlanta’s mayor was desperately begging the state and federal governments for funds to help rebuild the city’s sewer system. Things were desperate. But now she has no problem issuing bonds for up to $100 million to build this monument to south bashing.

If the city of Atlanta can so easily come up with bonds to build a NASCAR museum, why don’t they go ahead and sell the bonds, then use them to help finance their badly needed sewage repairs. Just think. They can then honor Mr. France by naming the portion of the sewer system paid for by those bonds in his honor. They can put up some nice signs on either end proclaiming it the Brian France Memorial Sewer line. Now that would be much more appropriate.

Copyright © 2006 by Frank Gillispie

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