by John Grooms
The city is stunned stunned, I tell you that the NASCAR Museum and Hall of Fame isnt seeing anywhere near the astronomical attendance predicted by the usual crowd of deluded Uptown! boosters. In fact, the museum is barely drawing half of the predicted number of visitors. With the economy in the toilet and attendance at NASCAR races down substantially, many fear Uptown! will soon be saddled with another CityFair-style white elephant. Were here to help. We have some ideas for displays and attractions that, if properly marketed by the museum, could draw visitors like beef bones draw hounds. No need to thank us; think of it as a public service.
Dem Golden Bones: A specially commissioned sculpture by world-famous artist Claes Oldenburg, this interwoven pile of solid gold chicken bones is NASCAR's own tribute to generations of stock car racing fans who have chomped on untold millions of pieces of fried chicken while attending their favorite sport.
Junior Johnson Kiddie Shrine: The rags-to-riches legend of Junior Johnson is an inspiring one for children, so the museum has fashioned a kid-friendly shrine to NASCAR's most famous former moonshine-runner Junior's Bootleg Gumballs, with a unique dispenser in the shape of an authentic corn likker still!
The Jeff Gordon Whine and Cheese Café: When you want a meal, a snack, or just something cool to drink, you'll feel at home here. So you think Gordon is a California-Yankee interloper? You can whine about it here. Think Gordon's a great star who's under-appreciated because he's not Southern? Tell us all about it. Think hes gay? Come on in and whine to your heart's content. The café's weekend special is always Southern-fried crow.
Infield RV Rooftop Deck replica: The most interesting people at a race are usually in the infield. The museum pays tribute to that particular NASCAR subculture with a replica of a deck built over the top of an RV. Comes complete with grill, lounge chairs, couch, fridge, stereo system, flat-screen TV, the smell of ribs grilling, three cases' worth of beer empties, and, of course, a giant flag (choice of U.S., Confederate, Skull & Crossbones, or No. 3). Flag changes every hour.
Tony Stewart Temper Testimonial: A museum exclusive: the official certificate verifying that driver Tony Stewart completed the anger management course NASCAR forced him to take. Includes authentic broken glass and frame.
Sound-Like-Bill Elliott Helium Blaster: Many fans would like to be a great a driver like Bill Elliott, but few of them can. And even fewer can sound like him, no matter how high they try to speak, or how many Four Seasons songs they've sung along with. Until now. Step right up to what is sure to be one of the museum's most popular exhibits. Take a big whiff of pure helium, and you'll be able to screech, "Hey, I sound just like Awesome Bill!"
Free Chest X-Ray: Every patron of the museum will be eligible to get a quick, painless, and free chest x-ray, compliments of the museum, in honor of NASCAR's Winston Cup "Tobacco Years."
Dead Mans Curve: As you're going up or coming down our fabulous curved staircase, you'll pass Dead Man's Curve, a tribute to the drivers who've been killed while competing in NASCAR events. Stop for a second to pay homage to the likes of Fireball Roberts, Dale Earnhardt, Joe Weatherly, Jimmy Pardue, Adam Petty, Neil Bonnett, Kenny Irwin, Tony Roper, John Nemechek, J.D. McDuffie ... well, lets stop there; the list kind of goes on and on, but theres no need to upset people or anything.