Retaliation and hard racing questioned in series of incidents over last weeks of season
By Ashley McCubbin On Wed, Nov. 21, 2012
When it came to hard racing, Brad Keselowski made a point at Phoenix International Raceway after the criticism that he received following the battle for the lead with Jimmie Johnson at Texas Motor Speedway.
“It’s the double-standard that I spent a whole week being bashed by a half a dozen drivers about racing hard at Texas and how I’m out of control and have a death wish, and then I see (expletive) like that. That’s (expletive). That’s all you can call that. These guys just tried to kill each other. You race hard and I get called an (expletive) for racing hard and called with a death wish, and I see (expletive) like that, and it just (expletive) me off.”
Keselowski was referencing the incident between Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer when it appeared that Gordon purposely wrecked Bowyer following some contact earlier in the race and previous incidents between the two.
“Clint has run into me numerous times, wrecked me, and he got into me on the back straightaway and pretty much ruined our day,” Gordon said. “I’ve had it, fed up with it, and I got him back.”
However, Gordon says that he didn’t mean to purposely wreck Bowyer.
“I think everybody thinks I just intentionally went down there and wrecked him,” Gordon said. “That was not the case. I wanted to make his life really miserable. I wanted to make my car really, really wide. But I wasn’t expecting him to go diving down the inside on the apron.
“He did and it caused us to hook and caused what ended up being a terrible accident.”
So where do you draw the line?
Since Gordon felt he was wrongly done by Bowyer, he wanted to send the message that he didn’t agree with it so that way Bowyer knew how he felt. It goes back to the old short track mentality of respect – race other drivers the way that you want to be raced. If you push and shove, then they have every right to push you back. If they race you clean, then you’re meant to race clean.
Though racing hard also brings forth rubbing and fender’s touching. Take the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Homestead with Cale Gale and Kyle Busch. They came across the line, rubbing each other, pushing each other for the win.
“I can tell you right now – coming off of four, that’s not my driving style,” Gale said. “It was my first chance to taste NASCAR victory, I had the chance, Kyle Busch was to my outside – I don’t know what’s ahead and I went for it. I’m just a hard racer from Mobile, Alabama.”
To some of the fans, that’s what it’s all about as it’s about being on the edge, doing what it takes to win. Neither driver wrecked and it brought forth a close finish.
However, there was some backlash from it as Busch wasn’t happy and there were fans going to twitter as that did not agree with it, expressing their opinion clearly.
— Patrick Haley (@patrickchaley) November 17, 2012
@rickycravenespn Nice profile pic. Did you teach Cale Gale how to screw a Busch bro out of a win with that dirty maneuver?
— Kurts Temper (@KurtsTemper) November 20, 2012
@turbojunker CALE GALE RECKLESSLY ENDANGERING KYLE BUSCH’S LIFE, TAKING THE CHECKERS AND THE BISCUIT! TO THINK HE ONCE WAS A HANDY WHEELMAN.
— Delta Chung (@cerrike) November 18, 2012
I didn’t like how Cale Gale won that race last night, i say dirty racing #nascar
— RedneckSide (@bedofmychevy) November 17, 2012
If you go back to the movie Days of Thunder, it fit those lines.
“No, no, he didn’t slam you, he didn’t bump you, he didn’t nudge you… he *rubbed* you. And rubbin, son, is racin’.”
It also marked a repeat of the 2004 finish between Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch at Darlington Raceway. That finish has been raved about since as one of the best finishes ever. How is this finish with Gale and Busch different? Because Gale is younger than Craven and not as well-known/respected yet, he doesn’t get the same credibility? How does that seem fair?
There is also the element of retaliation, which is what Keselowski was trying to get at.
“The retaliation is out of control in this sport,” he added later in that same press conference. “We’ve got a bunch of drivers that feel like they have to retaliate or they’re being challenged as a man, and that’s ridiculous. It’s not what this sport needs. I don’t think it’s good for anybody, and it’s going to get somebody hurt.”
Keselowski has been at the bad end of the stick before as Carl Edwards retaliated against Keselowski at Atlanta Motor Speedway, resulting in Keselowski on his roof. Maybe that has him stirred.
Many people have argued that it’s best to talk to a driver about your problems, rather than take them out on track. Anybody remember some of the famous garage fights and talks?
However, for some, that’s not enough; that doesn’t get through to them. The needed result for them is retaliation. Certainly, there’s a good way to do it and a bad way to do it. Doing it at Atlanta like that was a bad way for Edwards. A simple spin on a short track or a spin without wall contact would do well in sending the message versus what Edwards did.
So now I ask you – do you agree with retaliation? What do you define as hard racing and what crosses that line?