What has happened to NASCAR? It is a valid question as in the last few weeks drivers, crews and fans alike are beginning to act like spoiled brats who have had their favourite toy taken off them. Well I have a message to those who would have NASCAR turn into a bar-room brawl: Grow up! Driver behaviour in NASCAR is so poor at the moment and it may be having an effect on our children.
I have long been on a seemingly one man campaign for professional sports people to behave. They have to realise they are held up as role models to children who will be watching them and may believe that it’s ok to copy what their heroes do. I am not innocent in this… Oh no, as a young soccer mad child here in England I would see players misbehave and think I could do the same. The events in NASCAR during the chase are frankly becoming disgusting in the way so called role models are behaving. Mirroring these events the social media trolls are loving it and furious arguments are beginning to break out and get out of control.
Now I can just see people reading this saying “he’s English, he doesn’t understand NASCAR!” Well I am quite aware that the occasional squabble has happened over the years and it probably always will do. I get that totally but now it’s gone too far and unless NASCAR step in somebody will get seriously hurt or worse in pit lane. The events at Texas to me smacked of Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick trying to wind up an already under probation Brad Keselowski to get him banned… Lest we forget that he is still a major threat to become champion. Gordon especially should know better.
The events were triggered by Keselowski and Gordon coming together in my view accidentally, sadly meaning Gordon cut a tyre. Some will argue there was no room for Brad to get through but I disagree with that. You don’t win championships by not doing everything you can do within the rules and just sitting back. Now I am a huge admirer of Jeff Gordon and always have been. Obviously Jeff had the race won ten minutes earlier before the late caution and he would of been very fired up which makes his decision to start in the outside lane perplexing. That, I argue triggered the later events.
We now know the penalties with the crew chiefs and some crew members been punished which in my opinion is about right. Had it have been left to the 2 drivers to sort it out I really don’t think we would have seen such violent scenes. Harvick is un-punished for his playful little slap and again I have to agree with that as I really think he was just been a little cheeky. None of the 3 drivers are angels and I’m sure NASCAR have had a word in their ears.
The problem is what can NASCAR do to tighten up on discipline. To me it’s relatively simple…any major incident you cause you get parked for the next race. Yes it’s draconium but something has to be done to stop the trouble.
NASCAR also need to do something about The Chase. Yes it’s given us great racing but if the cost is violence then get rid of it! Go back to the fairer points system.
Sadly the winner of the race is nearly forgotten. Jimmie Johnson drove a fantastic race and as ever acted and spoke with class afterwards. Jimmie Johnson is a gentleman and some drivers need to look at the way he behaves and learn!
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