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April Fool, eh? Sorry, nobody's laughing at this one

   By Mike Mulhern

   FORT WORTH, Texas
   As April Fool's jokes go, this one was pretty cruel, given its timing.
   And for a major publication, remarkably insensitive.
   But Wednesday morning, on the Car and Driver website was this headline for the purported story:
   "Obama Orders Chevrolet and Dodge Out of NASCAR"
   The subhead:
   "With their racing budgets deemed 'unnecessary expenditures,' GM and Chrysler are ordered to cease racing operations at the end of the season."
    However, perhaps pointedly, the fake story had a strongly logical basis, making it quite believable, for a few hours at least, until phone calls to the White House proved it to be a fraud.
    And later in the day the Car and Driver website added the April Fool's tagline.
    The story offered this purported "statement" from the President:
    "NASCAR is a racing series that regulates down to the smallest detail of the cars, where a car badged a Chevrolet or Dodge differs only marginally from a Ford or a Toyota. There's no technological development to speak of…..
    "Racing has been said to improve on-road technology, but frankly, NASCAR almost flaunts its standing among the lowest-tech forms of motorsport. NASCAR is not proven to drive advancements that transfer from the racetrack to the road, and this nation's way forward does not hinge on decades-old technology. We need new, and we need innovation.
   "….The President realizes this will be an unpopular call, but stands behind the decision, saying, 'This is an obvious cut to make, but it is not an easy one. This administration is not ignoring the tremendous sentimental value and emotional appeal NASCAR holds for so many Americans. But now is not the time for sentiment and nostalgia; now is a time for decisive financial action. If our automotive industry is to emerge from this recession intact, then these difficult decisions must be made.'"
    The story went on to say NASCAR was looking at Korean car maker Hyundai to come into the sport.
   In an odd, and jarring, note, the accompanying photograph was of the late Dale Earnhardt's legendary black No. 3.


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