Rule No. 1 of customer service is to make sincere amends as quickly as possible to avoid alienating the paying public.
Then there's rule No. 2, established exclusively by Bruton Smith.
Act like an arrogant, insensitive boor.
Instead of doing the right thing and getting in front of the traffic debacle at Kentucky Speedway, Smith, president of the track and CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc., announced his track won't be offering refunds to tens of thousands of fans turned away, blamed traffic snarls on the city, country and state governments, and then, for good measure, took a highly insensitive — if not racist — swipe at South Florida, home to Homestead Miami Speedway.
Here's a testy exchange between Dustin Long of Landmark Media and Smith:
Long: "You've repeatedly referred to Homestead as North Cuba. You've said things like that. If you said things like that on Homestead, aren't you being hypocritical?''
Smith: "Tell us where it is located. Is it not really in North Cuba?''
Long: "It's in the United States.''
Smith: "Yes, but isn't it really in North Cuba? … Do you sing the Cuban national anthem in North Cuba (his reference to Homestead)?
Long: "No, they don't.''
Smith: "Well, they should.''
NASCAR officials would be wise to park Smith in their equivalent of the principal's office. He's an embarrassment to the brand.
Earnhardt's gripes: There's a part of me that likes Dale Earnhardt Jr. for his candor (rip jobs on tandem racing). There's another part of me that senses he just loves to complain about a bunch of stuff.
Example: His displeasure with the tires at New Hampshire last weekend: "(How Goodyear) changes the tire every (bleeping) week, how the hell are you supposed to get any kind of consistency?'' he grumbled on the car radio.
Earnhardt should focus his energy on hanging on to one of the last slots for the Chase before that one slips sway too and the blame game begins anew. After all, everybody was riding around on Goodyear tires last week, as they have all season.
Drivers' athleticism? Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate joined the gang of clueless dolts over the years who have questioned whether drivers are athletes.
Tate was miffed, apparently, that Jimmie Johnson was up for an ESPY for "Male Athlete of the Year."
He should stop to consider the crazy reflexes it takes to drive a car at speeds approaching 200 mph at times, sandwiched in between cars driving the same speed as you are, only inches away.
If Tate still thinks that doesn't take an incredible amount of athletic skill, then perhaps he should strap on a HANS device and give it a whirl.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times