If you’ve ever watched any NASCAR racing (and if you haven’t, you can catch the Daytona 500, this Sunday, the 17th—which is now causing you to wonder what the hell this has to do with music: Good question, but be patient; we’ll get there), you may have noticed certain things about those cars that aren’t quite, well, right.
Although the vehicles have the same names as cars rolling on thoroughfares across the land (e.g., Taurus; Monte Carlo), there are certain peculiarities. For example, consider the headlights. They’re not incandescent, nor are they halogen. They’re stickers. Just like all of those sponsorship logos. With regard to the interior, the vehicles are Spartan to an extreme. First of all, to get into the driver’s seat—the only seat, incidentally—it is necessary to clamber through the window opening. Or that might be “opening opening,” because where most of us have glass surrounded by that door frame, there’s just space in a NASCAR vehicle. Webbing is snapped in place instead of a window. One thing that seems oddly absent is the lack of a speedometer on the instrument panel; perhaps the thinking is that if you need to know how fast you’re going, you’re not going fast enough.
Which leads me to wonder about Sirius Satellite Radio’s February 13th service launch in Jackson, Mississippi. Sirius, if you’re not familiar with it, is radio’s version of cable television. Buy a subscription ($12.95/month) and get “60 original channels of completely commercial-free music in virtually every genre, and 40 world-class sports, new and entertainment channels.” In other words, rather than being surreptitiously hit up for cash by listening to commercials, or overtly hit up during public radio pledge drives, Sirius allows you to pay up front (along with your cell phone bill, ISP charge, car payment, car insurance payment, rent, groceries. . . .).
The kick-off in Mississippi sounds like it will be quite an event: Randy Travis, Earl Scruggs, Tom T. Hall, and more. Presumably a point is that you’re not going to get that sort of music on your AM dial. . .although I suspect that in places like Jackson, Mississippi, you do.
Anyway, here’s the thing that is exceedingly odd. In addition to the musical guests, there will be, and I am quoting from a news release, an “Appearance by the No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid R/T driven by Casey Atwood on the NASCAR circuit.” An appearance by a car? Is someone going to drive it in to the lot at “Famed Jackson Retailer Cowboy Maloney’s” and then simply allow the vehicle to make a cameo?
And while I may be wrong about this, I suspect that the vehicle in question will not be equipped with a digital quality radio system. Fire extinguisher, yes. Radio, probably not. No matter how many channels it pulls in.