NASCAR, Leto and Trump OK with going right when the road points left

Other than fans of WWE, there is no sports following more mocked, ridiculed and belittled than those who dutifully track NASCAR.

The jokes often write themselves, so much so that parts of the Will Ferrell comedy, “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” feel like a documentary.

And while the sport has over-saturated itself with too many races and too many vanilla faces, and drifted much too far away from its on-the-edge roots, those who sneer at gear heads need to get over themselves just a bit.

Much like there is nothing wrong with liking WWE, putting down NASCAR or its fan base is weak and cliche.

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This isn‘t a political rant at the left as much as it as a smack in the face to the snobs and self-important Americans who disregard their fellow Americans who love all things America, including NASCAR, and even Roseanne.

This week, NASCAR returns to Fort Worth for the running of the Whatever Corporate Sponsor 500 on Sunday.

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30 Seconds to Mars front man, and Academy Award winner, Jared Leto hit TMS and turned some laps with NASCAR Xfinity driver Tyler Reddick as part os Letor‘s cross-country trip to promote his new album, “America.” Mac Engel

To promote the release of his band, Thirty Seconds to Mars, and their latest album, “America,” musician and Academy Award-winning actor Jared Leto is “hitchhiking” from New York to L.A. He stopped at TMS on Wednesday morning for a few laps around the track with NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Tyler Reddick.

Call it shrewd marketing, but also a lot of fun — Leto is traveling across the entire nation to see it while promoting his brand, album and upcoming tour.

He actually hit a 7-11 near TMS off Highway 114 to have Reddick spin a few doughnuts in the parking lot.

“This is an American pastime, an American sport. For me, it‘s a part of my life,” Leto said. “When I was a kid, for a short while, my grandparents lived in Indianapolis and you could hear the roar of the crowd and the cars on the track [at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway].”

Having grown up in Indianapolis, I‘m calling him out on that.

What I won‘t call out is the following remark he made about his trip:

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“I have learned that regardless of how many differences we may perceive that we have, especially through the focus of the media, much of it important and just, there is a lot of unity. We have much more in common than we do differences. We want the same things — people want to be safe. They want to live their dreams. They want to be happy.

“I find a lot of common ground as I travel the country. It‘s a beautiful place. I think we forget that. Take a drive across this country and this is a big, beautiful United States of America. This is something very special, and it‘s fun to celebrate it.”

Agree and agreed.

America is a mess, and one that most of us just take for granted.

In recent years many of my good friends in the media, most of whom typically lean left, have had a field day crushing Americans who profess to love segments of pop culture that are “beneath them.”

NASCAR is often cast in that lot. The long-running TV sitcom “Roseanne” was dumped into that category, too.

Why?

The long-running . Almost immediately, the network picked it up for a second season.

The thought is Roseanne, much like NASCAR or a certain President of the United States, is successful because they all connect with a core audience that too often feels neglected, or minimized, by the masses. They connect simply by saying what they like, or prefer, is OK.

They don‘t judge them.

If it‘s legal and not hurting anyone, please shut up and coach your own team.

People like Roseanne. People like NASCAR. Or they did.

While neither Trump nor Roseanne will ever be my bag, NASCAR once was.

Those were the days of Bobby Allison, Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, David Pearson, Harry Gant and so many others who made the sport in places like Daytona, Bristol, North Wilkesboro, and Talladega, too. This was before NASCAR drove down Wall Street in search of large sums of corporate money.

Now NASCAR is covered in so much money that most of the drivers are an endless stream of personality-less dudes clicking laps for large checks from a 10th-place finish.

Now there are too many laps. Too many races. Too many oval tracks. A NASCAR race used to feel like a circus-type event, whereas today it is more like just another baseball game in a 12-game home stand.

NASCAR is no different than most sports leagues — it‘s trying to maintain what it had while cultivating a new audience in our flooded entertainment market.

Given how NASCAR has changed over the years, I can‘t blame any fan that no longer watches with the same passion.

But for those who love NASCAR, or Roseanne, they shouldn‘t be knocked or minimized, either.

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The first campers arrive Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway, where they will wait 8 days for the O‘Reilly Auto Parts 500 on April 8. Max Faulkner