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Blog Entry

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

Posted on: June 6, 2011 3:29 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 11:06 am
 
By Pete Pistone



If you’re looking for a line to cross that will provoke the wrath of NASCAR, stop wasting your time. 

There clearly isn’t one. 

Drivers purposely running into each other in retaliation on the race track? 

“Have at it Boys.” 

Competitors taking sports cars out for 128 mph joyrides on public highways with 45 mph speed zones? 

Enjoy the ride. 

Team owners slugging drivers in the garage area?

Make sure you don’t lose your jewelry. 

There’s a Wild West mentality going on in NASCAR these days and the sanctioning body doesn’t seem to mind one bit. 

For nearly two years the payback and on-track retribution of the “Boys Have at It” era has continued to escalate. 

What began as a slogan to describe NASCAR’s intent to loosen its reins on competitors and not over regulate the sport has morphed into a free for all that has spawned paybacks on the race track as well as fisticuffs in the garage area. 

The latest example came on Saturday when team owner Richard Childress decided he’d seen enough of Kyle Busch’s antics and decided to deliver a knuckle sandwich in the Kansas Speedway Camping World Truck Series garage. 

According to witnesses not since Nolan Ryan delivered a whipping to White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura for making an ill-advised trip to the pitcher’s mound back in the day had a more senior member of the sports world dispensed such a beating to someone several years his junior. 

NASCAR’s reaction to the altercation? 

You guessed it, not much. 

The die was probably cast on Sunday when the sanctioning body allowed Childress to remain on the grounds at Kansas, although “in a restricted manner.” The logic given was that since RCR did not have another senior management type at the track, sending Childress away would be unfair to the organization. 

So with that response perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the final punishment handed out on Monday was not a suspension of any kind but simply a $150,000 fine and the laughable “probation” period that NASCAR hands out like Halloween candy. 

Childress will pay his fine, which for the record is the second highest in the sport’s history trailing only the 200k  NASCAR hit driver Carl Long with when he showed up at the track with an engine that was off specifications by 0.17 cubic inches. By the way Long was also originally suspended 12 races for that infraction before the sentence was cut to eight events. 

However Childress will be back at work this weekend much lighter in the wallet but really none the worse for wear. 

The same cannot be said for NASCAR. 

Yet again the sport of stock car racing has put itself in a bad light and the spotlight has been taken off the product to another sideshow production. It no longer matters who wins a race. The real story is what controversy, fight or other distraction NASCAR is involved in each week.

There isn’t another sport in the world that would tolerate the behavior on and off the track that has gone on in NASCAR this season. But rather than step in, make a statement and do its best to police itself and its image, the best NASCAR can do is hand out hollow justice and reinforce empty policies. 

When Kyle Busch made headlines from coast to coast with his 128 mph speeding ticket two weeks ago, NASCAR didn’t even make an attempt to address the situation even though, whether right or wrong, the sport received a ton of bad publicity and in many cases was ridiculed. 

What was obviously a dangerous situation was ignored and in the process sent a message that perhaps NASCAR condones such behavior.  Silence is not always golden. 

Instructing Busch to take part in public service announcements as an advocate of safe driving or talking to school groups about highway safety would have been the responsible thing for the sanctioning body to do. 

When competitors decide to use their fists to get their point across in any other sport with the exception of hockey, there are repercussions. 

However in NASCAR such behavior seems to be actually encouraged. Oh and that encouragement isn’t limited to simply the people behind the wheel. As the Childress altercation clearly indicates, team owners are welcome to participate as well. 

Imagine any other team owner in any other professional sport being involved in a fight like the one Childress was in on over the weekend. How long would the NFL or NBA or Major League Baseball wait before banning that owner from attending games or conducting business at an event? 

If you answered instantly you’re today’s big winner. 

Richard Childress is one of the most respected people to ever spend one minute in the NASCAR world and rightfully so. He’s a pillar of the community, one of the sport’s biggest contributors and a future Hall of Famer. 

He did not conduct himself in a manner that reflects any of those accomplishments on Saturday. It is NASCAR’s job to ensure its participants, especially at the level of team ownership, maintain a decorum of civil behavior as representatives of the sport.

NASCAR did nothing to indicate it cares one iota about such matters and by doing so has added to a track record that long ago crossed the line of embarrassment.

 
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Comments

Since: Jun 24, 2010
Posted on: June 8, 2011 10:43 am
 

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

While I don't condone violence to resolve issues, if it hadn't been Childress giving Kyle Busch a butt-whipping, somebody else would have.  KB is the biggest punk on in NASCAR...and has been for way too long.  It's ok if he knocks another driver out of a race...but let him get the slightest bump and he's the biggest whiner around.  He's sets a poor example for all NASCAR fans, especially the younger ones. 



Since: Dec 14, 2006
Posted on: June 8, 2011 10:17 am
 

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

Pete, I can respect your viewpoint about this specific incident.  That might be a little far.  But do have to disagree to a certain degree with where your perception of the sport is leading.  The way I understand it, the roots of NASCAR began with the bootleggers, who where a whipstich away from lawlessness to begin with.  Thumbing their noses at authorities and only the strongest surviving.

Yes, I watch NASCAR to see the conflict, so see cars bang into each other, to see people who dont like each other much take out their frustrations.  The same way I like seeing a rival QB get leveled on a blitz...or the pitcher on my team hit the opposing batter after our batter was hit the previous inning...or the hockey fights that start when some goon roughs up my best player.

If people want racing without that, there is always the "pure" racing of Fornula 1 or Indy.  If that is your thing, go there.  But let's not let NASCAR get too far away from what made it popular.



Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: June 8, 2011 10:16 am
 

NASCAR doesn't care what you think

NASCAR's core audience doesn't care about politically correct.  They like to see the "boys" mix it up on occasion.  As for the NASCAR management, they know that unless you are The Ohio State University, there is no such thing as bad publicity.  You are talking about their sport and that sells tickets.  For every civilized person reading this, there are ten others who think the media has its collective panties in a wad over nothing. 
 
Let "the boys" determine who is right and who is wrong with fisticuffs if neccessary.  As for Kyle Busch, the criminal justice system will take care of him; NASCAR  has no moral or legal responsibility to involve themselves here.  What he did was stupid, but he was lucky enough not to harm anyone this time around.  To be honest, I would rather see a professional racer going 128 in a 45 mph zone than a bimbo with a cell phone in her ear or a teenager trying to text while driving 45 mph.  Besides, almost everyone in NASCAR hates Busch.  If they could figure out an excuse to punish him, they would.  
 
The bottom line, though, is that NASCAR is doing just fine without your approval, and will continue to do so. 



Since: Feb 5, 2007
Posted on: June 8, 2011 7:07 am
 

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

Fighting is the Barbaric thing to do. Kevin Harvick has gone after everybody that has ever touched him. Have you seen the 10 on Speed yet. Harvick is a hothead and Childress has not class. Childress had no problems when Dale Sr. was wrecking evrybody for him. Hendrick has the real class and the RCR group looks like a bucnh of GOONS. If you every want NASCAR to get rid of the REDNECK, BEER DRINKIN, TOOTHLESS, TRAILER TRASH stigma (which I though it was slowly doing) You can't high profile owners in fist fights with drivers. That is CLASSLESS!



Since: Nov 30, 2008
Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:47 pm
 

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

Spoken like a typical sports writer, more than likely never played a competitive sport in his life or been in a real fight.


Pete knows more about racing than you will ever learn in a lifetime while in your mothers basement child.
Pete nor myself don't have the time for commenting on your emoral communist views of violence and hatred. Spikes.



Since: Nov 30, 2008
Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:37 pm
 

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

 
If Kyle Busch would have manned up when Kevin Harvick approached him, this Childress situation would have never happen.  Seriously, what is the most that would happen when two men of equal size that aren't professional fighters get together?  The most would be one of them gets a black eye, if either could land a punch before their crews break them up. 



You mean when Harvick waited on a Big burly crew cut Crew Member to get there before he approached KB? while JGR's crew was in the garage area, all the while Harvick left his helmet on? Is that what you are talking about.
And if Rowdy hit the old man and fought back you would blast him anyways for fighting an old man.

Go back in your mothers basement child and quit defending criminals, RC should be charged with Assault and Battery, But KB and JGR love Nascar and would never press charges against a sport they love.

Go back to your hating rap music and stay off the racing boards, You need to comment on Hockey, hater and your love of violence has no place here. Spikes.



Since: Jun 20, 2010
Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:21 pm
 

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

Spoken like a typical sports writer, more than likely never played a competitive sport in his life or been in a real fight, besides the time his younger sister beat his ass for playing with her barbie doll.  Using your fist to make a point isn't something that should be done all the time, but there is time's for it and if you had any balls you would know that.  Don't just dismiss it as stupid or barbaric just because you've never experienced anything like it or have been on the Kyle Busch end of an ass whipping.  If Kyle Busch would have manned up when Kevin Harvick approached him, this Childress situation would have never happen.  Seriously, what is the most that would happen when two men of equal size that aren't professional fighters get together?  The most would be one of them gets a black eye, if either could land a punch before their crews break them up. 

Are country is so pussified now a days, when are we going to get back to the days when we were feared and respected, and kids didn't disrespect adults because they know they can get away with it or people settled their disputes by talking or fighting, instead of going to court and wasting money or taking money they don't deserve.  Why would anyone want to have a kid in this country we live in, it's going to fast in the wrong direction and no one is trying to stop it, just make it go faster.



Since: Nov 30, 2008
Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:16 pm
 

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

There is a HUGE difference between two competitors fighting after an incident on the race track and after the heat of battle than with a team owner hunting down a driver in the garage area for a premeditated beat down. NASCAR is the only sport that allows, condones and actually encourages that kind of behavior and it has become a national embarrassment this week in the process whether the sanctioning body will admit it or not.



Great writing Pete, you should win an award for this, Awesome and so very true, every word.
Spikes.



Since: Jan 20, 2010
Posted on: June 7, 2011 9:53 pm
 

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

There is a HUGE difference between two competitors fighting after an incident on the race track and after the heat of battle than with a team owner hunting down a driver in the garage area for a premeditated beat down. NASCAR is the only sport that allows, condones and actually encourages that kind of behavior and it has become a national embarrassment this week in the process whether the sanctioning body will admit it or not. Do we really think more people are going to buy tickets to this week's race at Pocono or tune in on television because there's a possibility another owner will fight a driver? If this sport wants to be considered big league - and it deserves to be - it needs to starting acting like one. Fighting, secret fines, guys wrecking each other on purpose and no consistency in calling races in terms of cautions are dangerously close to making this a sideshow rather than the professional sport NASCAR fought hard to become.

Pete Pistone

 



Since: Apr 17, 2008
Posted on: June 7, 2011 9:06 pm
 

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

Here's an article Pistone wrote about how great the '79 Daytona 500 was.  Yeah, the one that featured a fight at the end of the race.
http://www.cbssports.com/nascar/sto

ry/11378938


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