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NASCAR and the Civil War?

For those of you who thought that General Lee rode in an orange car with a Confederate Battle Flag on the hood and the number “01″ proudly displayed, have we got news for you …

General_Lee_scale_modelThere’s a Civil War mini-series in the works (oh, really?) that embraces a relationship with NASCAR.

As the site says:

The American Civil War is unique in human history for being the only civil conflict that ended with reunion, respect and brotherhood.  The most bloody national conflict in world history is defined, ultimately, not by the conflict itself and that conflict’s destruction, but by the preservation of the values of all Americans.  The twin gifts of patriotic understanding and American freedom not only survived, but have thrived to make this nation a beacon of hope and peace the rest of the world admires to this day and will forever.

The connection between the Civil War and drivers who race NASCAR™ is simple: those values of the Civil War—the patriotism, the spirit of American competition, the regional and national pride that poured forth from and for its heroes—is best exemplified in the American Values and American Spirit embraced today by the NASCAR™ affiliated drivers and their fans.

This production is honored to have developed a connection between this ultimate American sport with the ultimate American story and is proud to announce an association between select NASCAR™ affiliated drivers and roles that best exemplify this tradition of patriotism and competition in our production.

When I visited Waterloo back in 1995 I came across a dirt track for go cart racing that was near the center of Wellington’s line.  That can’t quite hold a checkered flag to this.

ThirdCrest_488At least the NHL’s link to the American Civil War has long been recognized.  There’s the old Atlanta (now Calgary) Flames, and there’s the Columbus Blue Jackets, who just introduced a third jersey with Civil War themes.

Of course, the scholars among you will doubtless pick apart the wording offered by the website as to why the Civil War’s just like NASCAR, and of course, for all the exciting prose there, somehow the writers have overlooked that the checkered flag is black as well as white.  Then again, if you take a look at the cast so far, you would have to conclude that the war was simply one between white people.

But I dare say there’s an opportunity to explore just how Americans treasure, celebrate, commemorate, and learn from their past here, one that transcends that episode of the Beverly Hillbillies where Granny attacked General Grant during a reenactment or the Star Trek episode where Abraham Lincoln compares Captain Kirk to Ulysses S. Grant.  The people behind this enterprise tell us just that (note once more the absence of African Americans among the people represented).  But important questions remain to be answered.  What role will be reserved for Danica Patrick?  When will Morgan Freeman be called to play Frederick Douglass?  Will George McClellan be well served by his pit crew, or will he stay on pit row until everything’s perfect with his car?  Will Joe Johnston remain undefeated because he chooses not to qualify?  When Grant wins, will he drink milk or something else?  Will we see the battle of Gettysburg as fought at Daytona or Talladega?  Will the Overland campaign be compared to a race where you can only try to turn (to) the right (as opposed to the NASCAR fixation on left hand turns in all but road races?)

Whatever the answers, this promises to be something that will be unforgettable, despite our best efforts.  Can’t wait to see who comes on as historical advisers … other than Trace Adkins, that is.

Comments (9) to “NASCAR and the Civil War?”

  1. I notice in the PDFs of “Research Photos/Art,” the producers include pictures of the “Davis biological children and. . . adopted son Jim Limber.” So there’s that. ;-)

    Don’t tell Kevin; poor man will have a stroke.

  2. I’ve always wondered about the civil war link to the Columbus Blue Jackets. After all, Wiki tells us:

    Blue Jacket or Weyapiersenwah[1] (c. 1743 – c. 1810) was a war chief of the Shawnee people, known for his militant defense of Shawnee lands in the Ohio Country. Perhaps the preeminent American Indian leader in the Northwest Indian War, in which a pan-tribal confederacy fought several battles with the nascent United States, he was an important predecessor of the famous Shawnee leader Tecumseh.”

    scott s.
    .

  3. Whoa nelly !!! What happened to Willie Nelson as Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain? Whoops, I forgot he just got busted for pot !!! Not available right now ;-)

  4. @ Scott S. — Well, here’s the bizarre thing. I don’t recall anyone calling Union soldiers blue jackets. Indeed, when I first heard of it, I, too, thought of …

    http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=43

    But the kepi on the secondary patch and the cannon point in a different direction. One wonders whether the CBJ are a bit confused, or if they’ve transformed the meaning of the nickname (as did the Calgary Flames).

  5. While the NASCAR – and country music – connection might tempt us to stereotype this production as a Lost Cause white trasherama, it looks like the production is still in its infancy and they’re still working some kinks out. As it things stand now, we might be looking at Birth of a Nation for the 21st Century.

    Then again, you never know. As someone who blogs about USCTs I’m anxiously awaiting the casting of African American actors and seeing the historical charaters that they will portray. That should say a lot about what type of series this will be.

    And if the cast stays lily-white, well…let’s hope the folks from Mystery Science Theater 3000 make a comeback to skewer it properly.

  6. Brooks,

    IIRC, The Blue Jackets took that name as that part of Columbus is where the uniforms for Ohio soldiers were made. The arena was built on the grounds of the old prison where John Hunt Morgan was taken to after he was captured in Ohio. Am sure Eric Wittenberg can explain more fully as to the CW history of that part of Columbus that was embraced in the nickname of the hockey team.

    Regards from the Garden State,

    Steve

  7. I can’t wait to see Carl Edwards, as John B. Gordon, do a celebratory back flip off his horse.

  8. I respectfully disagree. I’ve spoken with one of the producers via email. They are extremely dedicated to the accuracy of this project. The director of this did two or three episodes of Band of Brothers. Pretty good credentials I think.

  9. Perhaps, Jared, but I’m judging from what I see here. If the producers are unhappy, they know where to find me.