Race Weekend Central

5 Points to Ponder: Is There an Anger Management Problem in NASCAR?

1. Has on-track anger gotten over the top?

If you watched NASCAR from the 2000s and on, the chances are good that you associate Tony Stewart with the words “anger management.”

Should Bubba Wallace and those involved in other incidents be fast-tracked to do the same? This year, for instance, we have seen William Byron, Ty Gibbs and Noah Gragson blatantly and intentionally wreck or swerve toward another car on pit road, unnecessarily either causing an incident or injuring other crew members. None of those drivers, by the way, was suspended, just in case you want Wallace to sit out. The fact is this: If drivers’ idea of taking out aggression is to wreck another car at a high rate of speed, there’s a major issue.

Nobody other than Wallace himself knows what he was thinking when he hooked into Kyle Larson on Sunday. What we do know is that Sunday was not the first knee-jerk reaction by Wallace. There was the water thrown in the face of Alex Bowman.  There was also the NSFW iRacing rage quit. 

Being the sport’s only black driver and in the age of social media, I am not going to dispute that Wallace is under pressure to perform. He’s probably not the only driver in the garage who has others in lower divisions thinking, “man, I am so much more talented than driver XXX, but I don’t get the support he does.”

He’s under pressure and held to a standard that’ll never be met. I fully get that.

But people go to work every day in jobs that have stress involved, and in most cases, you don’t see them try to physically provoke someone or wreck into another vehicle.

It may be debatable what punishment Wallace should receive. But regardless, the way forward should be anger management in the offseason for he and others when similar on-track incidents happen. It’s best for Wallace, the sport and the drivers on the track around him.

2. Did Bubba Wallace just undo the past four months?

Before Sunday, it was a safe bet to assume that Wallace took a step forward in the second half of 2022. He had a win at Kansas Speedway, nearly won Michigan International Speedway and showed other gains, regularly running in or near the top 10. By all accounts, it was a performance that in most years, would have gotten him to the playoffs had the results not been so abysmal in the first half of the season.

Then came Sunday, when Wallace, who added to the strong second half and got a stage win, tarnished all of it by just not hooking his car into Larson’s, but also repeatedly appearing to try to provoke Larson afterward by shoving him multiple times after climbing from his car. Frankly, any goodwill that Wallace has earned in the past few months is gone.

Fair or not, Wallace is in a fishbowl, and the smallest thing now becomes glaring. With repeated concerns about driver safety, appearing to pay someone back going 170-plus mph is an awful look, and trying to provoke a driver physically might even be worse. It doesn’t help that collateral damage took out another Toyota, likely killing the postseason of Christopher Bell.

This isn’t a place to debate a suspension (odds are good that your mind is made up depending on how much you like or dislike Wallace) — don’t count on it based on the previous incidents of Gibbs, Byron, Carson Hocevar and Gragson. Wallace has been tremendous for the sport, bringing in new fans and interest. But that doesn’t excuse him from being held to the same standard as everyone else in the garage.

3. Is Kurt Busch a first-ballot Hall of Famer?

Without question, Kurt Busch‘s weekend announcement that he’d be stepping away from driving full-time marks the end of an era. When a driver who has raced in NASCAR’s top division since 2001 on a full-time basis steps away, it definitely reminds you that the 2000s are a bygone era. Not to mention the fact that many of us, as much as we want to deny it, are getting old.

But when a driver steps away, the other question also follows: Is said driver a Hall of Famer?

That’s an emphatic yes in the case of Busch. For starters, it’s hard to deny a champion of the sport a Hall of Fame spot. Factor in 34 wins with a who’s who of teams in the NASCAR Cup Series, and the argument is stronger. More so, however, is that no matter what team Busch raced for, he made it better as a whole, so it’s hard to discount his off-track impact at the same time.

As his career went on, Busch was a tremendous ambassador for the sport. Combine all that and Busch is in fact a Hall of Famer when his time comes.

4. Did Chase Briscoe save his title hopes?

Is Chase Briscoe in position to a make the Championship Four? If so, Sunday’s run was a day where you can point to where a driver did not win a title, but didn’t lose it either. At one point, it looked like it might be the latter. That, however, was before Briscoe rallied, having a chance to win before finishing in the top five. Sure, the No. 14 team would like the win, but even more key is that a day that could have torpedoed those chances instead handed Briscoe a lion’s share of momentum at the most important time.

Know what else doesn’t hurt? That this round goes from one intermediate track to another, and if a team can run well at one, it should do the same the next week.

If Briscoe lands in the Championship Four, this past Sunday may be why.

5. Did Joey Logano win the title at Vegas?

Thanks to Sunday’s win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Joey Logano will race for a championship. That means there is no stress at Homestead and Martinsville, giving the No. 22 time to work on and perfect things before Phoenix, where Logano hasn’t finished worse than third over the last two seasons. For a three-car team with two drivers still in the playoffs, that could be a very dangerous thing for the rest of the field. Logano doesn’t even need to run well at the next two races, to be honest. All the No. 22 needs to do is to make sure all the minute details are taken care of, a luxury it has due to Sunday’s win.

Team Penske has way too many resources not to have a chance to win a championship, and now, in a season dominated by Hendrick Motorsports, Trackhouse Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing, Logano is primed to sneak in the back door and steal the show.

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“Wallace has been tremendous for the sport, bringing in new fans and interest”. Hmmmm….who were these very words spoken about a few years ago? Why, Danica that’s who! The similarities are staggering. Both pain in the asses of major proportions. High Maintenace drama queens! ” Both he and she checked the boxes, that’s it. Well… with bratty man-child at least 50%! Yes, MDW did win one legit race and a gimme race called by NASCAR for “weather”. Oh, I could go on………..

Also, his lame ass apology had zero remorse. Seems somebody in the PR department wrote that garbage.


There is no realistic comparison between Wallace, & Patrick. Go to racing reference & look up her record. I’ve heard that people are judged by who their enemies are. What I remember most about her was her ongoing on track feud with Landon Cassle while they were both disputing 30 something place.

Kurt Smith

I would also argue that a statement like “Wallace has been tremendous for the sport” should have some basis in fact. If there are some statistics and poll numbers that show that, fine. But I’m not sold on that at all.

However, I will say that unlike Danica, Bubba has shown himself able to perform given the equipment. And honestly, that’s all I give a s*** about…does he deserve to be in the racecar? I can’t say he doesn’t.


The question is whether or not a different driver would have more success than Blubber. And whether the team has found a new place for vinyl.


oh my gosh, here we go again. held to a different standard. they’re all supposed to be professional race car drivers.

when bubba first started racing i never noticed he was an africian american driver. it didn’t matter. in my opinion he’s pulled the race issue. just as danica played the gender card. there were, and are, women racing in all divisions, but their gender isn’t constantly harped on.

what bubba is to nascar is a marketing tool. he’ll get potential sponsors to take notice and make an investment. danica brought go daddy into the sport, $$$$.

considering that nascar wants fans to be behind a particular driver, actions on and off the field is what keeps that driver in the spotlight. fans will tolerate only so much attitude. there were only a few drivers in the history of the sport that could walk on water. sure they got called to the hauler and their behavior was discussed. the sport is no longer operating under the same business model or world as it was 50+ years ago.

and last i checked, michael jordan isn’t the only minority team owner. JTG Daughtery is the first one that comes to mind. bill lester owned his team when he raced. jesse iwuji motorsports co-owner is emmitt smith.

but alas, we’ll have to keep walking on egg shells.

i’ve said before sports psychologist needs to be around to help those that just can’t deal with reality that they can’t win all the time, and not everyone they encounter will fall at their feet and like them.


What NASCAR has in its younger crop of drivers is an ENTITLEMENT problem. From Baby Gibbs to Bubba, to Byron, to Logano. Mostly a bunch of rich brats who have had everything given to them their whole lives. No wonder they lash out with temper tantrums when they don’t get their way! Tearing up equipment is of no consequence to them as they’ve never had to turn a wrench or work a day job to pay for anything they’ve tore up, so it’s inconsequential to them.


Logano is a champion driver who has more than proved himself. For him to be mentioned in your reply with the other losers you listed goes to show how much you know about the sport


No, I’m right about Logano, he’s just one of the earlier (and more successful) rich brats to make it into the sport. Perhaps you forget his daddy fighting his fights for him on pit road? He’s been a tad better since Kenseth gave him an attitude adjustment, but let’s not pretend he’s ever worked a day in his life outside of a racecar to pay for his equipment, let alone ever turned a wrench on one. Admittedly, he wasn’t quite as bad as the newer crop of drivers, but he was toward the beginning of the trend.


Agree to some of your reply he did have a ruff start and he was raised a rich kid. But logano does not tear up cars he finishes most races. And he has learned from the mistakes he has made when he first started. I noticed you forgot to mention chase Elliott im sure he grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth. And the same can be said for dale jr.


Absolutely agree, and Logano has matured and generally doesn’t crash himself or other people (moving is a different story, and completely fine by me). One thing about Dale Jr, I always thought he handled his last name about as good as anyone could coming up. That had to be tough with Sr as your dad and all the fan/media expectations that come with it – especially after Daytona Feb 2001. Same for Kyle Petty. Chase Elliott seems to have that to a lesser degree – it’s like everyone thought Jr should have won 8 Championships, but that expectation doesn’t seem to be there for Chase.

Good grief, just wait until Kyle Busch’s kid gets to NASCAR! Yikes!


Jimmie Johnson’s daughter would have been the first woman title holder in Cup if Brian wasn’t forced out (maybe).


Wallace has always been and will always be a semi talented mid pack racer, with a personality akin to a five day old bowl of pasta.


Chase B may not of saved his title hopes, IF he or the team ever seriously entertained said hopes. But he showed he belongs where he is & can hold his head high. And build on this for next season.


Wait, What? Bubba is black? Oh My God! Are you sure?

My god, next we’ll have a woman of color in English royalty. Oh, wait. Uh…

Who gives a crud. Fishbowl my hind end. We’ve had enough diversity that this shouldn’t be an issue. Did BW get a quality ride for reasons beyond pure skill? Probably. Is that anything new? Of course not. Nepotism remains alive, as does daddy buying somebody a ride. “Marketability” is a BIG factor in racing today, and Bubba was marketable. End.

Yea, the rain win wasn’t a great win, but he’s run pretty well recently, he deserves to be there.

His behavior? Unacceptable.

Meanwhile, just some quick thoughts:

Kyle is Asian/American
Juan Pablo was Columbian
Daniel is Mexican
Marcos is Australian
Danica is a woman

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