The Frontstretch: Convenient Crashes: Karma or Coincidence? by Amy Henderson -- Friday April 4, 2008

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Convenient Crashes: Karma or Coincidence?

Amy Henderson · Friday April 4, 2008


How many times did your mother tell you to treat people the way you want to be treated? You probably laughed and stuffed your little brother in the laundry chute anyway. Maybe you went outside to play in the yard a few days later, and stepped right where the same brother walked the family dog after a particularly large dinner.

Ever see something like this happen to our favorite driver? He gets a little rough with some guy and runs over debris a few laps later, popping a tire and losing a lap fixing it. Maybe he gets caught with some "creative engineering" and spins out in qualifying two weeks later. You sometimes have to wonder if greater forces are at work.

Karma really bites.

Sometimes you have to wonder if karma—the idea that good deeds will be rewarded with good and bad deeds will be rewarded with stepping in the dog's dinner after it's been in the dog—is alive and well in NASCAR. It doesn't just show up on the track, either, but in the stands as well. Admit it, you've secretly hoped the guy you don't like will blow a tire or an engine.

Could karma be to blame for Kyle Busch’s troubles on Sunday at Martinsville?

I stopped doing that when it seemed like my guy always ended up taking the brunt of it.

It could just be me. I'm a lifelong Red Sox fan, and it seems like the harder I wished for them to win, the worse they did. (Then, that could just be them, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory…) Maybe I'm a jinx. My driver never had much luck at races I attend. Come to think of it, nobody lets me buy their lottery tickets for them either.

I actually got thinking about racing karma while watching the Atlanta race. A week after winning with a large aerodynamic advantage, Carl Edwards' engine detonated, ending his race early. I remarked to a friend that karma is a real…well, you know.

Which got me to thinking about things. There have been so many instances where a driver does something questionable and then has some kind of seemingly unrelated issue. It might not be right away, but it happens often enough. Was Dale Earnhardt or Darrell Waltrip's Daytona 500 dearth the flip side of their rough-driving early years? Was Jimmie Johnson's summer slump in 2007 the answer to the funky fender from Sonoma?

Probably not. Earnhardt and Waltrip, for all of their aggressive ways, were skilled drivers, who could have won the Daytona 500 a half dozen times between them if circumstances had been a little different. Johnson won like crazy following slightly more legitimate cheating allegations in 2006, and always seems to have a summer slump.

But there are those times that give pause. Like that time, when wishing for a caution to help a certain driver, I got one—and my guy was caught up in it. Like the Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville last week when Kyle Busch punted Johnny Benson, who is the epitome of clean; in avoiding Benson, Busch had to check up and was immediately turned by Matt Crafton and relegated to the middle of the field-one spot behind Benson.
Is karma alive and well in NASCAR, or are there simply many coincidences? I've seen enough to wonder if there is something at work sometimes. Either way, I'm not rooting for any more convenient cautions.

Because karma really bites.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

04/04/2008 09:57 AM

I have learned the hard way to respect the karma gods. I rarely cheer another driver’s ill fortune because it all too often comes back to bite my driver…I tried to warn my Gordon friends who cheered Jimmie Johnson’s ill handling car at Vegas, only to see Gordon hit the wall and finish worse than Jimmie did.

Later, I had to suffer my own reminder at Bristol after watching Kyle Busch’s woes with something less than sadness, only to see Jimmie have a tire go down later at that same track.

It’s hard but I try not to cheer any driver’s demise. As you say, karma bites.

Kevin in SoCal
04/04/2008 12:40 PM

I clapped and cheered as Jr blew up his engines and crashed out of races all last year. The only bad thing that happened to my driver was he didnt win the championship that year.

How can someone be a Jeff Gordon fan but not like Jimmie Johnson at all? That is strange.

04/04/2008 09:49 PM

Karma? What is Karma? Carl Edwards was declared illegal in Vegas and blew up in Atlanta because of Jack Roush. Jack is a sniveling whiner at best, and a sneaking cheater for the most part. That doesn’t make him that much different than most of the car owners and crew chiefs, though. They do anything to get the edge to win. The motors are tightly wound anyway, and the engine guy finds a way to squeak out a few more horsepower. That works well for 450 miles, then the motor lets go. That my friends, is racing, not karma!!!


Contact Amy Henderson

Recent articles from Amy Henderson:

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Announces Partnership with Cessna, Textron
Fans To Decide Format of Sprint Unlimited at Daytona
UNOH and Kentucky Speedway Extend Sponsorship Agreement
Earnhardt Out For Charlotte and Kansas After Talldega Concussion
Piquet, Jr. Wins K&N East Opener

Want to know more about Amy or see an archive of all of her articles? Check out her bio page for more information.