CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG? Melees at New Hampshire kick off Chase; More to come? NASCAR's Chase for the Championship opened Sunday at New Hampshire in rare form -- stock car racing's equivalent of the world series beginning with bench ...
CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?
Melees at New Hampshire kick off Chase; More to come?
NASCAR's Chase for the Championship opened Sunday at New Hampshire in rare form -- stock car racing's equivalent of the world series beginning with bench clearing brawls. NASCAR officials met with several drivers following the race, and has already gone on record threatening to suspend drivers for further actions.
Is this surprising? can it be stopped?
Here is what some nascar drivers had to say.
KEN SCHRADER, Driver, #49 Red Baron Dodge:
"This is a pretty emotional sport -- you are out there running 200 miles per hour and guys are bumping you from behind, how could it not be? Then again, you have to control your emotions. This isn't like football where a linebacker can take it all out on some poor wide receiver or something. Rubbing is racing, yeah, but you have to stay focused on one thing. If you let all of that other stuff get in the way, then you are not doing your job.
"Your spotter can really help in a lot of situations, and some of these spotters are really going to have their work cut out for them the next nine weeks. They can talk, sometimes help calm a driver down. A lot of times you just want them to lie to you -- 'Hey, so-and-so slipped a little and hit you but he was trying not to.' Even if you know for a fact they were trying to push you into the wall, you take that lie and go with it . . . and sometimes it can calm you right back down."
KYLE PETTY, Driver, #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge:
"Emotions are running high this time of year anyway, generally. Besides the 10 guys running for the championship, a lot of other people are talking to potential sponsors or trying to get another ride or whatever. There is a lot of pressure on everybody, so it's not the time of year when you are naturally forgiving.
"This time of year is like the reverse of Christmas. You automatically assume the worst of everyone and everyone's intentions. You just can't allow your anger to dictate your actions. Do what you need to do but do it with a purpose, not just because it seems the fun thing to do at the time.
"We all get angry out there from time to time, especially at the tracks where there is a lot of beating and banging. There is no 'presumption of innocence' inside the race car most of the time either. Somebody hits you, it was on purpose -- at least, that's your immediate reaction. Sometimes you have to fight to get your emotions back in check."
JEFF GREEN, Driver, #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge:
"The whole deal is about winning races and, frankly, I've never seen anger help a guy in the driver's seat. On the other hand, it has probably made some guys feel better when they are out of it. I've seen some pretty mad guys after a race. Guys throwing stuff or yelling at someone after a race, it can get pretty nasty. During the race, no, it really doesn't do any good to be mad during the race. I think it really hurts you. These cars, and really these races, take a lot of concentration. You just can't afford to be in the wrong frame of mind, and I think that's what getting mad does to you.
"It really doesn't help you if you are parked in the garage or sitting outside the NASCAR trailer instead of running the race. Keeping the 'big picture' in mind isn't always easy to do but it is always the smart thing to do.
"If someone has a problem with you, well, that's something you can hopefully settle off the track and after the race. Sure, emotions run high on the track, but that really isn't the best place to be mad. You have to control your emotions. It's hard to do. I've had problems with guys, even this season, but I always try to mend things off the track. I'm not going to be pushed around, but that boils down to respect more than anything else. You really shouldn't use anger or any other emotion as a tool to win or be better. I like to think we are more talented than that, and we are better drivers than that. I race guys with respect and hopefully they race me the same way. If we can do that there is no reason we should ever get mad. I just don't think anger helps you win races, and that's what we're all trying to do out here."
T.J. BELL, Driver, #36 DCT Motorsports Chevrolet (Busch Series):
"From what I saw at New Hampshire, NASCAR did the right thing. They jumped in pretty quickly and started calming guys down, and letting them know things were going to be pretty bad if they didn't calm down. Hopefully, that will make a statement and things will at least stay at a low simmer the rest of the way.
"If not, it's going to be like falling out of an airplane at 30,000 feet and, halfway down, thinking, 'Well, so far, so good.'"