Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hit the road, Humpy

Something is brewing in Concorde, N.C. How else do you explain the stunning firing of longtime Lowe’s Motor Speedway promoter Humpy Wheeler? Reading exerts from his farewell new conference illustrate a substantial and surprising rift between Wheeler and track owner Bruton Smith.

According to’s David Newton, Wheeler will not remain with the speedway in any capacity. The man who since 1975 promoted the races at LMS into some of the most entertaining events in NASCAR can’t even score a part-time job. I guess Smith doesn’t need an extra janitor.

Read some of Wheeler’s responses to reporters’ questions:
Did he have a choice in the decision to leave? “No.”
Why is he leaving LMS immediately following the Coke 600? “The suddenness was not my idea.”
Does he feel unappreciated? “I’ll let you judge that one.”

Those are some eye-popping responses. Wheeler claims he has been pondering retirement for the past year. The way this was handled doesn’t appear to be a retirement. So, one can only wonder what happened between Wheeler and Smith to create such a falling out, and hopefully we’ll learn the reasons for his departure. One of NASCAR’s best promoters shouldn’t be shoved to the street corner with yesterday’s trash.

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