Two weeks ago, I wrote a column piece on History Channel’s MadHouse series where I called the series simply “It’s scripted, it’s a soap opera, its war, but it’s NOT racing.” The concept of this series MadHouse being compared to real racing especially NASCAR or Formula One for that matter puzzles me and yet some readers do.
Yesterday, I received this comment:
Christopher said (posted in all caps, just like he did): “IM REALLY NOT SURE HOW INTO RACING YOU REALLY ARE, BUT THIS STUFF GORS ON AT EVERY WEEKLY RACETRACK IN THE US! I RACES SK MODIFIEDS AT WATERFORD, THOMPSOM, AND STAFFORD IN THE EARLY 80'S, THIS WAS GOING ON EVERY WEEK AT ALL 3 TRACKS! MOSYLY IN THE SK AND LATE MODELS, BUT IT WAS EVERY WEEKEND. YOU MENTIONED TOURING CARS, NOT WEEKLY CARS. BIG HUGE DIFFERENCE. AL YOU NEED TO DO IS ASK BOB G, OWER OF THE MUSTIC MISSLE WHY HE LIVES 5 MINUTES FROM THE WATERFORD SPEEDBOWL, BUT WOULD NEVER BRING THE 4 UNLESS IT WAS A TOUR RACE? REASON, EVENTHOUGH THE TOUR COST A QUARTER MILL TO RUN EVERY YEAR, YOU CAN BRING THE CAR HOME IN ONE PIECE EVERY WEEK FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR! YES, THE MOD TOUR MOTOR GOES FOR $50,000.AND YOUR NOT GOING TO JUST HAVE ONE, AND YOU WILL NEED AT LEAST 2 CARS, AND A HUGE HAULER. BUT IT ALL COMES HOME IN ONE PIECE! NOT AT THE WEEKLY TRACKS. ITS A CRASH FEST EVEY WEEK.Yesterday, in reading this comment in my email box, I have to say that I was surprised that a reader of RaceDriven.com would question just how much into racing I really am despite how much effect, knowledge and passion I have for racing especially NASCAR.
TO ME, ITS THE BEST RACING THERE IS. LOTS OF FUN, AND PEOPLE LOVE IT. AND, I FOR ONE AM GLAD THE LOCAL TRACKS ARE GETTING A SHOW ON TV, JUST TO SHOW EVERYONE HOW THEY D IT AND HOW ITS DONE EVERY WEEK AT TH LOCAL TRACKS, NOT THE TOURING TRACKS!”
Even more, this reader is comparing MadHouse to really racing. This is what I was afraid of happening. A viewer of this series who is a racing fan is now comparing this series to real racing and more so to weekly racing series.
MadHouse is a scripted soap opera that takes place at Bowman-Gray Stadium that hosts weekly racing series and features several driving including 3-track champions – Tim Brown, Junior Miller and Burt Myers. However the series really just concintrates on these teams building racecars out of steel to go to war and shows competitors talking about what they want to do to other drivers and sometimes doing it.
The idea that any track out condone this type of racing, if you can call it that is horrible.
Now let me state the obvious, all forms of racing from weekly, regional and national series have rivals, wrecks, beating and banging, hard, competitive racing, that’s what the fans love including me. But there is a difference between MadHouse and the racing you see at the local short-track. I have never heard or seen people punching out people, talking about taking someone out and especially ramming another competitor’s car and after the race.
There is payback and then there’s payback. One is wrecking them until they can’t move and then there’s beating them fair and square for position on track.
Now when you compare MadHouse to weekly racing series at several short-tracks around the country, it paints a horrible war like picture.
I’ve been to Thompson Intl’ Speedway, its 30 minutes from my house, Seekonk Speedway, the old Riverside and even one or two tracks in New Hampshire years ago. Back in 2008 at Seekonk Speedway, I attended a weekly racing series event that featured several series including the TrueValue Modifieds. What a show they put on and during the entire race, I didn’t see competitors taking each other out.
Sure I saw wrecks, but no retaliation, just good old fashion hard, competitive racing and that’s exactly what I wanted to see especially on that night.
In my previous article, I mention that I also watch the regional and national series of NASCAR including the Whelen Modified Tour at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Those races on Saturday (normally) are unbelievable to watch, you never really know who is going to win when they come to the white flag. It’s just that series and that car that makes for great short-track racing. NASCAR really needs to bring this series to a national level with national TV coverage, but that is for another day.
Unbelievably enough, Thursday on television was a replay of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour that had some of the drivers in MadHouse also compete in including Multi-Time champion Tim Brown, Jason Myers and Burt Myers. And in watching that race from South Boston Speedway, I didn’t see what they show on MadHouse, I just saw real racing and that’s what’s suppose to be all about.
Bottom line, there are mixed feelings on MadHouse especially if you’re a racing fan, however my opinion is this series MadHouse isn’t real racing and that’s my take. But don’t think for one moment that I’m not a true racing fan, that’s just wrong.
- Column: History Channel’s Madhouse: It’s scripted, it’s a soap opera, its war, but it’s NOT racing.