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Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Wednesday June 6, 2007
Just shy of three years ago, I wrote a column that clearly instructed the powers that be in NASCAR on how to handle the punishment of the children when they do not play nice on the playground. (See Post Race Behavior Modification for Dummies for more info.) Had Mike Helton heeded my advice back then, I'd place a wager that what Kurt Busch did on pit road this last Monday never would have happened.
For those of you who missed the race because you chose to do stupid, unimportant things like go to work, the wrecked No. 2 Dodge driven by Busch pinned Tony Stewart's car in the No. 20 pit after an on-track altercation in order to have a "chat." The manner in which he did so caused the jackman of the No. 20 to be in fear for his life, so much so that he quickly sought safety on the hood of the Home Depot Chevrolet of Tomorrow in a less than flattering posture.
Before the millions of Tony Stewart fans, and all four of the Kurt Busch fans, start writing in about who was at fault in the accident that led to the pit road confrontation, let me be blunt and save you the effort: I don't care. The events that led up to the pit road incident are a moot point. They were a part of racing. On the other hand, what Kurt Busch did with his car on pit road is an act of (almost criminal) stupidity. It’s also something that needs to be prevented in the future in order to ensure the safety of everyone that risks jumping over that pit wall.
Now, my supposition on how to totally nix these extremely stupid, “in the heat of the moment” actions by competitors, especially if it endangers the safety of anyone at the track, is the same today as it was in 2004. What is that, you may ask? Well, I’ll tell you : hold the "parent" responsible for the "kid's" actions.
What I mean to say, in case you are to lazy to click on the above link, is hold the car owner responsible for the actions of the driver(s) they employ.
As this is being written, no announcement has yet been made by NASCAR on what, if any, penalty should be handed to Busch for his actions. Yes, he was parked for the remainder of the race, but that really was not much of a punishment as the car was no position to be competitive anyway. Some speculate that Kurt will not be in attendance for the race this coming Sunday in Pocono. No big loss if he isn't. Someone else will drive the car. Probably Mark Martin, seeing as how Mark seems intent on driving every brand of manufactured car currently in the series. (For those of you who are sarcastically challenged, do not write in and point out that Mark will be driving the No. 01 Army car. I know that!)
Well, what should have been done long ago is to set the precedent of suspending the car owner for one race when the actions of the driver are deemed over the top. In this case, that would mean no Penske-owned cars at all entered in the race at Pocono!
If that precedent was ever set, it would virtually guarantee the absence of idiotic stunts by hotheaded drivers. Imagine how quickly the owners, not to mention the sponsors, would lay down the law to their drivers not to put them in that position.
Ironically, if you have read the above linked column, you will notice that Kurt Busch was involved in one of the incidents I cited then, when he drove for Jack Roush. Can you imagine how fast Kurt would have been looking for a ride had he done something so stupid as to get all four of Jack Roush's cars, at the time driven by Martin, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Busch, suspended for the next race?!
Any driver that managed to get his owner suspended for one race would only do it one time, you can bet on that. Imagine facing an extremely irate owner, not to mention ALL his sponsors and all your fellow teammates after you did something so stupid that you got them all excluded from the next race.
Of course, the suspension of a team owner would be reserved for only the most boneheaded of moves involving the safety of others or blatant disrespect. Both are situations K. Busch (take your pick) seems to be good at getting into.
It’s a cause and effect solution: if the children fear the wrath of the parents, the children will think twice before acting out inappropriately. Hopefully, NASCAR will figure that out one day.
(And yes, I do have children and they still love me, so don't write me about that either!)
Stay off the wall,
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It’s a great idea and yes it would work. The correct use of “too” lazy instead of “to” lazy would also mske this reader happy.
Great idea!! NASCAR should do it, but I don’t think they ever will.
Oh, and Don, the correct spelling of “make” would make me happy…....just messin’ with ya. :)
Of course they could punish Busch, but remember, Tony Stewart criticized them about a month ago. Therefore, he must be thoroughly punished first. Secondly, Pocono is next weekend. Tickets must be sold, so why not spice things up a bit, by not punishing and hoping the confrontation continues. This is WWF light, remember? Rules rarely apply and certainly are not applied consistently. Besides in NASCAR’s view that crewman was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. He should have known what was about to happen and gotten out of the way.
Just where do you pull those ideas from? Your a**???
What a joke! And who decides when this type of “penalize-the-owner & all his teams” penalty occurs??
In fact it is positively FRIGGIN HILARIOUS!
Hey, how about “actually” penalizing the driver involved! But there again, with NASCAR’S wishy washy ever changing rules and their favoritism among teams, that would not work fairly either! Hasn’t in the past anyway!
Bottom line! Park Kurt for ten (10) races! But do this for ANYONE that pulls bonehead stunts!
AND! Last but not least! T.S. is not entirely blameless in this, he continually antagonizes other drivers, continually bumps other drivers, continually complains about other drivers driving like he does! If NASCAR stood up to him and penalized him along the way, tempers would not be flaring such as they do!
The ‘ROOT CAUSE” of the problem???
NASCAR! and it’s inconsitency at dealing with drivers!
MMMM, now come to think about it! Penske knew what type of driver he was signing when he took K.B. on!!! (But Newman had no part in that)!
If I were to search the archives, would I find you calling for the same thing in response to Carl’s spinning Tony on pit road last year? Or is your irrational Busch-hatred showing again?
If you’re a parent I certainly hope that you don’t follow those rules in your family discipline. When a child has a temper fit and throws a toy that hits a younger sibling you don’t amputate his/her arms and evict him/her from the family forever — you correct him/her in proportion to the nature and severity of the offense.
As a fan of Kurt’s I believe that he deserves a race or two suspension — because pit road MUST be completely off-limits for driver quarrels. But the punishments you and many others are suggesting are ridiculously out of proportion to the actual offense.
Hey, Jeff, take your short sighted glasses off please.
Before you park Kurt for not hitting a crew member, start parking the drivers who actually do occasionally hit one. Of course, that will lead to each crew having a secretly designated member whose job is to “accidently” get hit, to take out faster competition.
Fine Kurt and maybe dock him some more points, sure.
Parking a driver actually penalizes the race fan. I hope I get to see Tony and Kurt start side by side at Pocono.
And, if Stewart had any real business sense, he would have invited Kurt to Eldora for a 30 lap grudge match on dirt. Now, that I might have paid to see!
I would love to be a writer for a website so that I could attain the super powers that let you know when a person is “fearing for his life”. I would suspect the crew member rather thought he didn’t want to get hit by a car. He probably never thought he was going to die. This is an over the wall pit crew member that actually runs out in front of Tony’s car during a pit stop before Tony actually comes to a stop 5-10 times a race. This type of speculation is what leads to lynching. The whole “assault with a deadly weapon” and “criminal action” is just a bit over the top. Next time Tony puts the bump on a Pace car I hope we all call the police and have Tony cited for a traffic violation.
I think you are all a bunch of idiots especially Jeff, I mean really who the hell are you to tell anyone anything your a complete moron and need to just shut up. If anyone needs to be suspended it should be Tony stewart, I guess its easy for you to forget how tony was so vocal about someone going to die at daytona then turn around and do stupid moves like wreck Matt. I dont agree with hitting crew members but all you people come out the wood work when its Kurt Bush, its amazing to me how hypocritical you all are, I also am guessing you all forgot ab out Jeff Gordon and Dale Jarret in recent years RUNNING over guys and not nothing happened, Ill be glad when jeff gets FIRED and we dont have to worry about garbage coming from his mouth for the rest of you hypocrits just shut up!
I’ll start from the top I guess…
Don: Sorry for the misuse of the word “to”. The editor that actually posted this article will be given “a good talking too”.
M.B.: If in fact you did read the article from 3 yrs ago and such a precedent were in place, then yes, I would support a likewise punishment of Edwards for spinning TS on pit road. You made my point yourself. Pit road is ‘off limits’ for quarrels. If a owner suspension rule were in place, these things simply would not happen.
Jerry and Ronnie: Hitting a crew member accidently upon entering or leaving and putting members in danger because you are trying to settle a score with another driver are two different things. Wake up!
Adam: You said; “ I would suspect the crew member rather thought he didnâ€™t want to get hit by a car.”
Well gee, I wonder why he would not want to get hit by a car? Maybe because getting hit by a car might seriously maim or kill you? Ya think? I could be wrong, but that is one hypothisis I’m not gonna test! Let us know if you decide to do further research on the subject. We will gladly publish you findings.
Thank you all for you responses.
I think the idea of penalizing an entire team is a bit extreme. I’ll be the first to admit that I do not know all the rules and regulations relating to NASCAR Cup racing, but couldn’t the owner and ONLY the driver involved be penalized for a race? My thinking being; if Penske and Busch were both penalized wouldn’t that in affect disallow any other driver from racing the No. 2 car on the specified race date? My way of thinking is that the “boneheaded” driver would be punished as well as the owner who would then have to deal with the sponsors, etc. Just an idea folks…..
What NA$CAR has to do to make this sport a serious contender is take some of the control out of their hands. If it was good enough for our founding fathers to take some of their power and turn it over to other branches of government it is good enough for the France’s. Contact the MLB, NFL, and NBA Officials Unions. Work with them, hire a private firm and get together and codify the rules of NA$CAR. Then set up the Race Officials like the other sport’s leagues referees (like them or not they are a reliable, professional bunch) and live and die by the rules you set up and their decisions. It will be scary for NA$CAR at first but in the end it will be better for the sport.
Jeff, my question was not, “would you have supported the same penalty for Edwards?” but rather did you call for it at that time?
If you were willing to let that incident slide without comment and only bring up your 3yo idea now, when you can use it against Kurt Busch, then the evidence that you care more about bashing Kurt than about the policy as a principle is very strong.
Your plan might just work, Jeff. And it’s much less severe than my idea.
What’s my idea? Glad you asked.
The French family has enough money to buy land on some island in New York that will never be a race track, but they could use it for something else. A NA$CAR penal institution.
The Powers That Be NA$CAR could be judge and jury, and sentence offenders of NA$CAR’s rules to do hard time there. Be it only a week, or months. Feed ‘em left over consessions from the other tracks so that food won’t go to waste. Deprive them of television and all luxuries. Make them pound out wadded up sheet metal until they have blisters and cuts on their hands. Use them for crash-test dummies for research. Numb their minds and return them to the track more like robots —- in control.
If, while incarcerated, they get out of line, have Mr. Excitement introduce them to Mr. Fist. Again and again, if necessary. It won’t be pretty, but I bet it WILL be effective.
I don’t think your idea would fly. I doubt NASCAR in 2007 has the power to sit the #2 team, especially with the recent loss of the AT&T suit. For me, the image of NASCAR is absolutely on the line; if Harvick sat down a Winston Cup race for showing up NASCAR by parking behind the hauler at a Truck race (parked for aggressive driving), Busch has to sit a race. Otherwise the message is clear – it is worse to show up NASCAR than endanger crew memebers.
Jeff, great article, I guess all four of the pinheads who are the Kurt Busch fans out there decided to write. NASCAR has had a bad week with Big Bill passing, but I’m sure they will sit Kurt and make a very good example of him so these things hopefully will never happen again on pit road….
Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:
Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
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Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
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Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.