LET THEM FIGHT!
Racing is an emotional sport. When you throw a half-mile, tight-cornered racetrack into the mix, the odds of drivers running into one another are very heightened. Once drivers start making contact, the anger and hostility are going to continue to ramp up. Add the intensity of battling for one of four spots in the finals at Homestead-Miami Speedway and you’re going to have very short tempers that will quickly escalate into potential fisticuffs.
The tempers reached that peak on Sunday evening at Martinsville Speedway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, but the fisticuffs were fended off.
The fact that they were avoided and replaced by a giant, flopping love fest on the ground in the pits did nothing but leave hostile feelings that will most likely spill over onto the track in the near future. Some of the most memorable fights in the history of the sport, especially in recent years, took place on the track, not in the pits. That kept the teams and other people on pit road out of the mix.
Unfortunately, on Sunday, and most every time that drivers have a beef with each other, the teams got involved and no anger was released.
The sanctioning body will tell you it doesn’t want the drivers fighting on the track or in the pits — or even in the garage area — after the races. While it says that, it’ll be continually rerunning the footage of the altercation to hype up how intense the competition and passion is in the sport and especially the playoffs. The problem is, since no anger was released or resolved, these two drivers are still pissed off at each other. With two races to go before the championship night and both drivers deeply involved in the race to compete for the title, there is a great chance they’ll end up near each other and one or both of them may get wrecked, costing them a shot at being the series champion for 2019.
It is incredibly simple to fix this issue and not have the lingering hostility that spills over to the race track and ultimately results in torn up racecars. LET THEM FIGHT!
Sure, it is a neanderthal way of thinking and solving an issue between grown men, but it is the simplest and easiest way to let the parties truly involved burn off the frustration and ultimately end the dispute.
The biggest difficulty in making this work is keeping the teams and other hangers-on from jumping into the action. If they can be kept away the entire event can be quickly solved with some very simple procedures.
First off, the drivers are the only ones to participate in the altercation. If any other people enter the fray they are to be heavily fined and suspended for a month.
Secondly, once the fracas begins, the combatants are allowed to grapple and punch as often as they like until someone falls to the ground. Once an individual hits the deck, the NASCAR officials, and only the NASCAR officials, are to separate the individuals and lead them away from the scene.
If this process is put into place, drivers will no longer continue to let the ill will fester and irritate them into further anger and confrontation. It allows entertainment for fans and it ultimately prevents the teams from having to repair and rebuild multiple cars. It sounds overly simplified and archaic, but it is the easiest way to stop this absurdity.
One more thing.
LET THEM FIGHT!
About the author
What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.