George Diaz’s NASCAR notebook

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Here are three things that rarely go well together: Politics, religion and sports. NASCAR managed to stir all three into that combustible pot during the Duck Commander 500 in Texas this past weekend.

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“All right, Texas, we got here via Bibles and guns. I’m fixin’ to pray to the One who made that possible,” Duck Commander patriarch Phil Robertson beseeched in his invocation before the race. “… I pray, Father, that we put a Jesus man in the White House. Help us do that and help us all to repent, to do what is right, to love you more and to love each other.”

Cue implosion on the Internet.

Robertson managed to pull off the volatile trifecta, drawing outrage from those with more diverse viewpoints and, of course, rally cries of “amen” from supporters.

Just what NASCAR needs. Another food fight in the culture wars.

NASCAR’s pre-race invocation usually calls for the safety of the drivers. Nothing wrong with that. But Robertson clearly sends a mixed message about how we should all “love each other.”

Texas Motor Speedway officials recruited Robertson and the rest of the Duck Dynasty as a sponsorship deal. If the track wants to go all-in for the highly conservative fan base, it is very much within its rights as a business entity.

It just might want to check the message it wants to spread. Not everybody got here via “Bibles and guns.”

I suspect many fans got to the race via cars or RDVs. Some might have even called Uber.

I have no idea if “Jesus man” ever made it to Texas, however.

Stewart on hold
Tony Stewart’s last run continues to be on pause, waiting for the first lap.

A broken back in a dune-buggy accident in the Southwest earlier this year cut short his season before it started, and he remains in rehab mode. He awaits a scan later this month to determine when he can get back to racing.

“I don’t [know my return]— not until they do the next set of scans,” Stewart said last Thursday when he was honored for raising $1.5 million for the Texas chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. “The first thing they did were X-rays [in early March]just to make sure the rods and screws were in place. When we do the scans at the end of the month, then they’ll be able to have an idea exactly when it’s going to happen.”

As with any rehabilitation, there are good days, not so good days and bad ones. It’s been a bumpy ride, no pun intended.

“I feel great,” Stewart said. “I’ve been doing everything now over the last week that I’ve wanted to do. If you step off a curb wrong or step too hard, you’re definitely reminded you have these rods in your back. Other than that, I feel really well. I’m anxious to get the scans. It’s driving me crazy wanting to see what it looks like and what is the diagnosis and when they think they’re going to let me go.”

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