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Random Lugnuts: The Man on the Not at All Grassy Knoll

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Tony Stewart, Kevin Ward Jr.
What is Random Lugnuts?  It's random bits of stock car racing commentary written on an irregular basis by an irregular racing fan.  The name is a reference to the lugnuts that go flying off a car during a pit stop:  you never know where they are going to go, what they're going to do when they get there, they can be annoying, they're often useless after a race, and every once in a while someone gets hit and they don't know exactly where it came from.
Opinions expressed by Bill Crittenden are not official policies or positions of The Crittenden Automotive Library. You can read more about the Library's goals, mission, policies, and operations on the About Us page.

Random Lugnuts: The Man on the Not at All Grassy Knoll

Bill Crittenden
August 30, 2014


The well-documented psychology that feeds conspiracy theories is that a certain segment of society just cannot believe the reasons that some things happen. They're so desperate for an alternative explanation that fits their view of the world that they'll ignore physics, evidence, and common logic to make the facts fit their beliefs.

"One man couldn't possibly have made it through the Secret Service and I don't know the physics of exit wounds, therefore, the gunman was on the grassy knoll and someone powerful had to have the pull to blame it on Oswald. It must be the Illuminati with LBJ's help!"

...or...

"Metal beams don't melt at 900 degrees and I don't understand that metal can lose strength before its melting point so therefore Bush bombed the World Trade Center to steal Iraq's oil!"

And I'm not even going to get started on Christianity or President Obama.

So now there's a handy video with little red arrows that people are citing showing Tony Stewart's sprint car sliding up the track completely unnecessarily, rear wheel heading directly at Kevin Ward Jr., and because a barely discernible dark blur behind the car appears to put up its hands as a metal race car comes flying at it at forty miles an hour, we're supposed to completely ignore the trajectory of the very bright and clearly lit race car and believe that Kevin Ward ran into Tony Stewart's car and grabbed on to it for some ridiculous reason, and when he fell off he ended up under Tony's rear tire.

Hell, if I was about to get run over, my first (and likely last) reaction would be to find something to grab on to, as well.

People are so eager to find anything that might exonerate their hero that they'll literally look past obvious evidence to interpret some blurry pixels into fitting the narrative that their hero is actually the victim in the incident.

It's called cognitive dissonance. People have a deep-rooted need to believe what they want to believe and are so averse to being wrong that they'll commit the worst acts of rhetorical hypocrisy to find anything to use as an argument in their favor.

Okay, one Obama reference, because it's my all-time favorite cognitive dissonance reference: on election night 2012 my very right-wing neighbor, fueled by Fox News horror stories of Acorn voter fraud asked how the polls were going, assuming there had to be nationwide arrests from right-wing poll watchers' tip-offs. I said, honestly, the only story I'd heard was of a Republican woman in Nevada getting caught doing something. Enraged, he said, "figures! That fuckin' n----- figured out how to blame it on Republicans to steal the election!" No evidence, not even having read the story I had, he had to make new information fit the narrative he had in his head.

NASCAR fans, I've been reading a lot of comments and commentary and y'all are starting to sound like my neighbor about Tony's incident. Incidentally, he also thinks Tony is a victim. Imagine that.

Oh, and of course NASCAR is behind Tony. Did you catch where Mike Helton felt the need to point out that Tony could still qualify for the Chase? Don't let NASCAR's "experts" fool you, the only "expert" opinion NASCAR needed for this is "how will the fans react and how will that affect ratings & sales?" I can't even really blame the Frances and Mike Helton for letting Tony back into the car no matter what the video shows because the fans are just a powder keg of outrage looking for a place to explode over him just missing a few races. The smart business decision was to let that target for fan rage be a prosecutor and sheriff in New York.

All because it was Tony Stewart. As I've said before, I guarantee you that if it were Kyle Busch in that sprint car or Tony Stewart that had been killed by a local racer with a name nobody knew of until they saw it on the news, or some random racer ran over Dale Earnhardt Jr., overall fan reaction would be a complete 180 of where it is now.

Guaran-fucking-teed.

Heck, if Kyle Busch ran over Dale Earnhardt Jr., he'd be hiding in a hole in Iraq like the one the army found Saddam Hussein in. He'd be safer fighting ISIS with a fly swatter than going back to a NASCAR race again.

But no, we're all pointing at blurry pixels behind a race car because most people can't get accept that one of their favorite drivers did something wrong. Reality doesn't match their feelings so fuck reality. And so just like that grassy knoll in Dallas, NASCAR fans can't help but try and interpret some vague blurs into supporting a fiction that they're so sure is real because their minds can't accept what's right in front of them, clear as day.

Badly spelled hate mail can be directed to admin@CarsAndRacingStuff.com.



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