“Boys, have at it.”
Brian France and Co. all agreed this ought to be the credo of NASCAR several years ago. Collectively, the fan base proceeded to cheer. At long last, our heroes would not be fined and suspended for failing to control their tongues in moments of extreme stress, or worry that rubbing a little too hard would sit them down for an inordinate amount of time. Awesome.
However, it has come to my attention that while no official memo was issued to the competitors, they might have needed one when engaging in post race spats. Case in point, Nelson Piquet, Jr. electing to kick Brian Scott below the belt when they confronted each other after Friday night’s Nationwide race. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2ExFzKFnsA The inadequate demonstration of Piquet’s ultimate fighting skills was, to say the least, a little sad. Not that Scott had wound up to land any sort of punch on his adversary’s face, but kicking a guy is completely not cool.
On Saturday night, we observed a more sedate version of driver discontent: Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch pushed one another around the track on the cool down laps. They then exchanged words by their haulers, with fingers raised. Nothing really dramatic, and we’ve seen much more physical displays by both of them in the past. After they went their separate ways, they still had a couple choice words for the cameras, but overall the excitement was over. Done. The confrontation now fell into the “not much to talk about” pile. Had they received the coaching on how to fight that Piquet and Scott haven’t? Hmmm… And what would those unwritten, unspoken rules be if they did exist?
First and foremost, air your grievances face to face with your adversary. Rubbing a fender on a caution lap is all well and good, but going farther and using your car as a weapon should be plain illegal. Ron Hornaday, Jr. let that little rule slip when he decided he just had to take out Darrell Wallace, Jr. at Rockingham a few weeks back. Besides incredibly dangerous to the one being punted, it’s downright cowardly. He earned his penalties.
Even more in the wimp category falls exchanging your viewpoints on Twitter. Yep, Mr. Logano and Mr. Hamlin I’m looking at the both of you. If you’re going to call somebody names, don’t hide behind walls and your phone. Man up, meet the guy who pissed you off at their car or hauler and vent.
Second, if you want to be respected at all in the garage, take off your helmet. It might seem counterintuitive in the midst of the fight, when the other guy is swinging away and you’ve yet to get out of your car, but it looks really lame when you’re trying to get your two cents in and the other guy can’t even dent your armor. Anybody remember Harvick and Montoya at the Glen in 2007? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9svKc-oNSw Both of them were so hopping mad, all they could do was push at each other’s helmets. Pointless! And more than just a bit silly.
Third, recall the lessons you were taught on the playground regarding fair play. They were developed centuries ago by the gentlemen of this world who agreed upon a set of rules for the boxing ring to ensure a fair fight. While kicking is not forbidden, striking below the belt certainly is. I’m hoping Piquet’s foot simply slipped and missed his intended target, but I’ve got my doubts. Also, hitting somebody when they’re already down is bad form.
And at long last, we forgive. Before we enter into the ring (or in this case, the track) we shake hands and repeat the process at the end. There should be respect for handling the whole matter in a mature and reasonable manner.
It all sounds easy, doesn’t it, from the comfort of our offices and couches? However, I’m positive remembering these lessons isn’t so simple when you’ve got a really good mad going and there’s a trophy you’ve been denied. But it’s clear at this point, when we’ve already witnessed more than our fair share of fights this year, the drivers might need a little bit of guidance when deciding that revenge is on today’s list of things to do.
By leaving the drivers to settle their scores without supervision, NASCAR did permit the fans to see more of the humanity that dwells within our heroes. However, doing so did not benefit those superstars when we’ve seen the less savory portions of their character come to light. What should Nelson Piquet Jr. and company do in the future?
Get angry, contemplate the just and righteous end to your nemesis and then when you’re good and ready, get out of your car, walk up to his and invite him to settle your differences as men; face to face and with a sense of fair play. But, please! Leave bringing him to his knees to the WWE.
Kyle Larson Stat
Car: No. 32 Cessna Chevrolet
Points Standings: 10th
Series: Sprint Cars
Track: Port Royal Speedway
Car: No. 1K Abreau Vineyards
Points Standings: n/a