By Brian Hoffman – Sports Editor
I watched with interest the report that Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin will team up to field a NASCAR team next year, and Bubba Wallace would be the driver.
I think this will be great for the sport. I’m sure there are a lot of Jordan fans who don’t watch NASCAR, and just having Jordan’s name on a team will entice them to check it out. Once they do, I expect a majority of first-time watchers will become fans, and that can only be good for the sport.
I was somewhat surprised to hear Jordan say he watches the races every week, although I probably shouldn’t have been since he grew up in North Carolina. However, it’s not known as a popular sport among African Americans. Then again, neither was golf at one time, but Jordan is a huge golfer.
One of my first questions when I heard this was if the No. 23 was available, and after some research it appears Hamlin already has that number on his team. He designed a No. 23 car with the famous Jordan “dunking silhouette” on the side panel for the Daytona race in February of this year. Casey Kirwan drove that car, but I’d be very surprised if that wasn’t Wallace’s number next year.
While Jordan had great success with the No. 23 in basketball, it hasn’t been as lucky in NASCAR. The last win for a No. 23 car in a NASCAR race was in March of 1954 when Al Keller drove a Hudson to a win at Oglethorpe Speedway in Savannah, Ga. Jimmy Spencer had eight top 10 finishes driving the 23 car and finished second twice, but never won. Whenever I think of him I recall the one-liner, “Gentlemen and Jimmy Spencer, start your engines.”
Jordan won six NBA championships wearing the No. 23, but he won’t have to win six NASCAR championships to make his team a success. I’d say six wins would do it, and I’ll be rooting for him next year when, hopefully, things will be back to normal with fans at the track.
Fast Food Follies
This isn’t exactly sports but I’m running out of things to talk about during the pandemic, especially if I stay away from politics like some have suggested.
My experiences with fast food outlets are a source of constant entertainment for my wife. Invariably I’ll come home with some kind of story about something odd that happened on my visit. A couple instances of aggravation happened last week, the first was with the McDonald’s at Lakeside Plaza in Salem.
I went to pick up breakfast on Sunday morning and I was pleased to find the line for the drive thru wasn’t long. Sometimes it’s wrapped all the way around the building, especially during the pandemic when people don’t want to go inside.
I was pleased to find they expanded the value menu. At one time there were lots of cheap stuff, then they pared it down considerably. However, in the past week or so they added many more items for $1, $2 or $3.
After examining the board I ordered a sausage McGriddle from the $1 list and a combo bacon, egg and cheese biscuit with a hash brown from the $3 list. The response from inside was “that will be $5.65, please drive around.”
I know the restaurant tax in Virginia is high, but I questioned a tax of $1.65 on $4 worth of food. The reply was that the combo was $3 and the McGriddle was $2.
Well, the McGriddle was clearly listed right in the middle of the $1 items, which I pointed out. At that point the voice in the box reiterated that the McGriddle was a $2 item. It wasn’t worth arguing, but I wasn’t about to pay an extra dollar for something clearly marked $1, so I had them take it off the bill when I got to the window and got something at 7-11 instead when I bought my morning paper. Yes, I still like to sit on my porch with a cup of coffee and a real paper in my hand.
My next gripe is with Subway, which is normally one of my favorite places. I feel like I’m getting my needed share of vegetables if I pile them on a ham sub.
Have you seen the commercials advertising, “Buy two and get one free?” I thought that was a good deal, and it would suffice for lunch over at least two days at a decent price. Well, try finding a place around here participating in that promotion.
I went to four, count ’em, four Subways in the area and not a one was offering the “buy two and get one free” deal that I saw many times on TV in the past week. One of them had a sign on the door saying they weren’t participating and I had to go inside to get disappointed with the others. I finally asked the sandwich guru at my fourth stop what the deal was and his reply was, “We can’t afford to do that.”
Well, to me, if you can afford to call yourself a Subway restaurant you should be willing to participate in their promotions. I don’t think any of those four places paid a nickel to get that advertising on national TV, and that was what got me to the store in the first place. I ended up buying one sub at the fourth place I visited but I’m going to have to think twice before I return to any of the four. It cost me enough gas driving around that it was no bargain regardless.
That’s my rant for the day. Hopefully, we’ll have more sports to talk about next week.