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Playing with Monopoly Money

So I'm in a 30-person scrum of media people trying to talk to future U.S. Senator Jeff Burton. (He's ready for filibuster duty, btw; check this quote when he was asked if the current points system should be changed:

You know I don't know, I mean, I honestly don't know. There's something to be said about the negative of finishing 40th. I mean, there's something to be said about that, and in racing it's different from other sports. With every sport, with the exception of this and golf, there's a winner and a loser. In this deal there's people that won, there's people that did really really well but didn't win, there's people that did really really poorly, so the cost for doing poorly is large here. And that's the other way to look at this thing, is that I know that some people say that the reward for winning isn't high enough; but on the other hand, the penalty for doing poor is very big. So you know that's something nobody really puts a lot of emphasis on, is the penalty for doing poorly. If you have a terrible, terrible day, that's a huge penalty that you pay. I mean, all's you got to do is go look at what happened to us in Michigan; we had a terrible day, and that one bad day--coupled with a lot of other stuff, but we're emphasizing on that--that put us in a position where now we have a whole lot of work to do, so the thought that you can run really really well and win races, and that means you should transfer in or you should be the deserving champion, that doesn't hold merit because if you do poorly and you also do well, you get penalized for that poor, and I think that's what happens in this sport is that you get penalized more for doing badly then you get rewarded for doing great. So I think it counteracts itself. That's a long answer, I'm sorry.

So I wandered off to interview a lady who was wandering around with two NASCAR Monopoly boards. She comes to races and asks drivers to sign them, preferably on the property sponsored by their sponsor. (Is there a greater game for NASCAR than Monopoly? I didn't get a great look at the board, but I'm dying to know if jail is sponsored. I have no doubt that the Community Chest was long ago privatized.) Anyhow, I chatted briefly with the woman, Karen Deal of Frederick, who actually owns four NASCAR Monopoly boards and says "gracious" a lot.

So she buys the Monopoly games, throws away all the figurines and the cards and the money and takes the boards around to be autographed and framed. In fact, our interview was interrupted as she scurried over to Casey Mears to nab his autograph, twice. The board she showed me had the autographs of Richard Petty, Richard Childress, A.J. Foyt, Jeff Gordon, Mike Wallace, Kenny Wallace, Kevin Harvick, Derrike Cope, Jimmy Spencer, Jeff Green, Dick Berggren and a bunch more people.

Also, she and her husband used to have a 20-foot long miniature race track mounted on their wall, complete with little race cars. So I guess the framed NASCAR Monopoly boards fit right in.

(Another thing not to do at a NASCAR race: wear a skirt. No, I didn't try to win a skirt, but our legitimate Washington Post reporter Melanie Ho did, and she was turned away by security. "Two rules," she was told; "no alcohol and long pants." So she had to borrow some extra-long track pants from a media relations staffer.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 8, 2006; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  NASCAR  
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