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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Since: Feb 16, 2009
Posted on: June 7, 2011 8:53 pm

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

I have not been interested in Nasscar for years and I used to love it.
Ever since it became the Earnhardt, Chevrolet, France Cup division.
They should just announce Earnhardt next years champion and hand him a trophy
since that's the only way a mediocre "at best" driver could win it all.

Forever gone is the days or racing.
Now it's Money, money, money, MONEY corporate slime cup!

Since: Jun 7, 2011
Posted on: June 7, 2011 8:24 pm

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

Everyone is sick of the generic Nascar where all drivers are robots with no emotion. I started watching Nascar about 20 yrs ago and I like to see drivers/teams get mad and show some emotion. I've grown tired of today's robots in nascar. They have no emotion, no fire. Too many people today, like Pete, want to "sissify" everything we see and do. Don't get mad, don't show emotion...everyone should be happy all the time, everyone gets a 1st place ribbon mentality.
It's what's wrong with American society as a whole. If you don't like emotion and an occasional scuffle in Nascar, then go watch golf you sissy! 

Since: Jun 26, 2009
Posted on: June 7, 2011 4:48 pm

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

What dont people understand about "Boys have at it". It has been written and spoken in perfectly good English since Nascar said it.

Since: Dec 23, 2007
Posted on: June 7, 2011 4:13 pm

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

Lets go racing Boys.....

Since: Mar 21, 2009
Posted on: June 7, 2011 4:11 pm

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

Fight then fight some more... gee... what do we want from a guy who dyes his hair and has face lifts... what a whimp they both are......Busch is all talk.. and RCR needs to stick to what they do and that is racing....

Since: Jan 25, 2010
Posted on: June 7, 2011 1:17 pm

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

If your talking about the Harvick incident.  I was always taught that when driving a standard transmission and about to leave the vehicle...MAKE SURE ITS IN GEAR !

Since: Jan 8, 2010
Posted on: June 7, 2011 12:15 pm

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

Will someone please tell me what "antics" Busch pulled this time?  He got second and did nothing else.  Weird.

He continues to damage RCR race cars after the race is over.  That pisses the people off who pay for them to be made.  

Sport or not, even you apparently follow NASCAR to some degree if you know about Busch's history of "antics."  I'd imagine there's some degree of redneck to you, too :)

Since: Aug 15, 2006
Posted on: June 7, 2011 12:04 pm

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

Pete, while I understand where you're coming from, there is no way I would have wanted Richard suspended from the Cup series.  The Truck series, yea, I could understand that.  But too many times NASCAR takes what happens in one series and applies it to all series, and that is what you suggested NASCAR should do here. 

I'm a Kyle fan, and what Richard did was totally wrong, But the fines and the suspensions have to stay in the series.  Otherwise, you can have owners pay a veteran in a lower series to start something with a cup star and get that star suspended from the cup series and that isn't right.  And don't say it can't happen because it can. 

If Kevin Harvick told Sadler I'll pay you X number of dollars to wreck Kyle Busch then start a fight with him in the garage afterwords and OBTW, here is your contract extension for the next 3 years, would Elliott consider it?  Sure he would, he's human.  Elliott get suspended for 2 races in the Nationwide while Kyle gets suspended for 2 in the Cup series.  Not a very fair trade there is it? 

So keep the fines and suspensions, if handed out, in the series they belong and don't let the emotions of the moment allow them to cross over into the other series.  I hated what NASCAR did to Kevin Harvick in 2003 and I would have hated this if it had happened too.

Since: Jun 7, 2011
Posted on: June 7, 2011 9:39 am

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

And by the way, Pete... in , you actually seemed bored with Restrictor Plate racing.. Some say Kansas was incredibly boring in itself, so at least this gave you something to write about, right?

Since: Jun 7, 2011
Posted on: June 7, 2011 9:33 am

Idle Thoughts: NASCAR sends wrong message again

Pete said, "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."... So, the question is, with this morphing, is NASCAR getting closer to it's roots or farther away from them?  For many years, core fans have left the sport because they felt like it lost it's spice... it became too generic... too 'blah'... Now, writers are saying this return to a true competitive environment where emotion shows all around is a bad thing!?  Why don't we let the fans speak for what they like and judge it from there.  Personally, it feels like this feels more like the things that play out at 1,500 different tracks and drag strips all across the United States every week.

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