I understand why some drivers are upset with Brad, but why are the fans?
It's so uncanny how blatantly history tends to repeat itself in motorsports. Brad Keselowski is either loved or hated by NASCAR fans and by those in the garage itself. He's quite a polarizing figure. Very outspoken, brash, and is never afraid to tell you what's on his mind. Oh, and he's a Sprint Cup champion too.
*This story is pointed at the hypocrisy of some fans, not the drivers who are also upset with Keselowski.*
I won't defend Brad's actions at Charlotte, but as for Texas...
The aggression in his driving and the way he wears his emotions on his sleeve have gotten him in trouble in the past, but it's also made for great TV. I will not defend him for what went down in Charlotte. As I've said before, if you use your car as a weapon like that, especially on pit road after a race, you won't have my support.
Emotions boil over, we're all humans, it happens
Of course, speaking of Charlotte, that's easy for me to say when I'm not sitting in a boiling hot car and just had a potential championship abruptly ripped from my grasps. The same goes for Gordon in that sense. In the heat of the moment, the anger is completely understandable and I don't fault him for picking a fight. Let's leave the brawl out of this for a second though.
So ... What do you really want?
I think many NASCAR fans are confused over what they really want out of this sport. If I had a nickel for every comment from past years that went something like, 'I wish NASCAR drivers would forget points and just go for the win,' I'd have enough money to buy Marussia, Caterham, Sauber, Lotus, Force India, and end all of F1's troubles right then and there.
But when a driver actually goes for the win, he's suddenly a maniac who's trying to kill people? A reckless driver that deserves to be parked? Somebody with a death wish? ... As Brad once said himself. That's what one large contingent is arguing and I just don't get it. There was a hole (a small one), Brad went for it, the hole closed, it happens. Leave your personal opinions of Brad as a person out of the discussion, you're just muddying the waters.
What if Jeff doesn't cut a tire? Remember Kansas?
Was it a risky move? Of course, but isn't that what we want out of our drivers? We want them to take risks in order to win each race, right? In the alternate universe where Jeff doesn't cut a tire down, we're all suddenly praising Brad for an incredible move, just as we did when he successfully completed a similar three-wide and through the middle pass for the 'W,' back at Kansas.
The Senna/Earnhardt approach
In order to be the best, you have to be willing to take risks and go for any room that's given to you. Two drivers who raced like that and who are unsurprisingly inspirations to Brad are Dale Earnhardt and Ayrton Senna. Most idolize them and they are remembered today as two of the greatest that ever lived, but before their tragic deaths, they were also polarizing figures who were either loved or hated. Sound familiar? And no, I'm not saying Brad is at their level, just that he drives the same way two of the greatest there's ever been once did.
But what about Jr. and what he did to win Martinsville?
He didn't try to wreck Jeff. He wouldn't even have made contact with the No. 24 had Jeff not come down, which is Jeff's right by the way. He was trying to win the race too. How come Dale Earnhardt Jr. can completely body slam Tony Stewart out of the way at Martinsville for the win, but no one as so much bats an eye.
Am I the only one seeing the hypocrisy in all this?
It's just racing
Forget the fight, forget your personal allegiances, forget who was involved, and you will see things much more clearly. Brad was attempting to win a race and it ended badly, simply because two drivers went for the same piece of real estate on the track, at the same time.
That's not malicious; that's just racing.