The Frontstretch: NASCAR Mailbox: Tempers, Anyone? by Summer Bedgood -- Thursday April 4, 2013

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NASCAR Mailbox: Tempers, Anyone?

Summer Bedgood · Thursday April 4, 2013


I really felt bad for Denny Hamlin after his injury at Fontana. I mean, the pain had to be agonizing and it will keep him out of the car for a while. How horrible is that!

And then … Kevin Ware. Goodness, that was horrendous. My breath hitched and my stomach lurched when I finally willed myself to watch the replay, wanting to know myself what had everyone buzzing about some sort of injury. Gone was Hamlin’s still brutal injury from Fontana, and in its place was an image I’ll likely never be able to erase of a college athlete I had never heard of. Godspeed, Kevin Ware.

And you too, Denny.

Now, onto your questions:

“I’m still confused about who is replacing Denny Hamlin while he’s recovering from his injury. Is Mark Martin going to sub for him or not? Why can’t we just stick with one person??” Jessica

Yes .. and no … Mark Martin will sub in for Hamlin this weekend at Martinsville. Afterwards, Brian Vickers will take over, which works out nicely for JGR since Vickers already races for them in Nationwide.

As far as your last question, it comes down to the bottom line of almost every other part of NASCAR these days: Sponsors. Apparently when Gibbs issued the “official” release of Mark Martin being Hamlin’s full-time sub, it hadn’t been cleared with sponsor Aaron’s. That’s a big no-no, since Aaron’s is the one who pays those teams to be able to race in the first place. Thankfully for both sides, it was worked out just fine but not without confusing everyone else in the process.

Mark Martin is subbing for Denny Hamlin in four races?! Well – more like one. For now. Definitely, maybe.

Interestingly enough, however, is the fact that Vickers may not need to sub in for Hamlin for that long in the first place. That’s according to Hamlin, of course, but he’s still put him at around “80%” in terms of his recovery process. He also, surprisingly enough, said he feels like he could drive the car this weekend in Martinsville. While that final decision will be made by real medical professionals rather than Hamlin’s surprisingly high pain tolerance level, it, this whole cluster of a PR mess might have been all for naught if Hamlin’s recovery goes much quicker than expected.

“I heard that Ryan Newman called Joey Logano’s move in Fontana a “chicken” move. I’ve watched the replay and I don’t see how Logano did anything wrong. What the hell is he talking about?” Terry

Terry, Logano didn’t do anything wrong but Newman is talking about Logano’s block on Tony Stewart at the end of the race in Fontana.

First of all, I think it’s ridiculous that we’re even still talking about this. Secondly, I find it even more ridiculous that drivers of the caliber of Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman—who apparently made it up the ranks the “right” way according to them—still have a problem with blocking. I agree that blocking is probably not the smartest move you can make, and that it comes with its own risks. However, I don’t understand how a three-time champion who has raced in several different series on different types of tracks still manages to complain about competitors not letting him pass.

Ryan Newman – who has a reputation of being the hardest driver to pass even if he’s two laps down – took a few pot shots at Joey Logano defending his position for a shot at the win at Auto Club Speedway. How dare he.

Either Stewart is so arrogant and has such a sense of entitlement that he thinks every driver should just pull over and let him go, or he thinks the rules apply to everyone but him. Apparently Newman is smoking from the same pipe. Whatever, though. Basically the short answer is that Newman was bitching because Logano attempted to maintain his potential winning position.

“Summer, as a media member, I was wondering if you thought drivers should have “cool down” periods or be required to watch instant replays before giving comments. It just seems like too many drivers are getting in trouble—either from NASCAR or the court of public opinion—because of comments made in the heat of the moment. It would save everyone a lot of trouble.” Daniel

Well, as a media member, I’d hate that. Regardless of whether or not people like what they hear, the most genuine and honest comments come in the heat of the moment. Give drivers the chance to cool down and they’ll be fed some watered down, sponsor friendly bullet points that will be so predictable that you could probably say the words right along with them.

As far as the drivers getting in trouble, that’s hardly the media’s fault. Heat of the moment or not, drivers are responsible for what comes out of their own mouths. If a driver drops the f-bomb during a live interview just minutes after crashing and they end up having to cough up the dough for the fine, it’s not the media’s fault for asking. Part of the problem, though, is with NASCAR’s over-the-top reactions to critical comments. I still don’t understand the Hamlin fine a few weeks ago, and all of the drivers have been walking on eggshells with their comments ever since.

If you think that the drivers’ insincerity is bad now, give them a cool down period and see what happens. You’ll probably march to the racetrack yourself and stick a microphone in their face just for some desperately needed spontaneity.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Did You Notice? … Breaking Down A Sprint Cup Season Eight Races In
Beyond the Cockpit: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. on Growing Up Racing and Owner Loyalties
The Frontstretch Five: Flaws Exposed In the New Chase So Far
NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Darlington
NASCAR Mailbox: Past Winners Aren’t Winning …. Yet
Open Wheel Wednesday: How Can IndyCar Stand Out?


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04/04/2013 11:20 AM

It’s not fair to tell drivers you’re gonna stick a mic in their face right after a crash or something and put it on live tv, knowing they’ve just had their day ruined and then tell them that if they fly off the handle, it’s on them. I’m all for drivers having some self control, but these guys are competitors and sometimes your competitive side gets the best of you. The best way to handle this situation, if you want the honest commentary and give the drivers some lee way is simply to tape the interviews and air them after a 3 minute edit session. Bleep any foul language and cut out anything that’s too incendiary. I know that fans want it now now now, and live live live, but you can’t say you want something and then come down on the driver when he gives it to you. It’s not fair to those guys. How would you feel?

Bill B
04/04/2013 12:41 PM

Let’s not give drivers (or athletes in general) a different standard than the rest of us live up to. If I am at work and get a phone call telling me my daughter was just in an accident and then a co-worker comes over and asks me a question and I say F-off I am going to get fired (or something). Likewise if a police officer pulls someone over after just having a fight with his wife and they say something offensive or threatening, that doesn’t give the cop a right to beat the hell out of them.
All I am saying here is that everyone has stress and emotional moments. If the rest of us have to adhere to some standard than so should the precious athletes. Part of their job is having to deal with the media and being under a microscope (as with all celebrities, politicians, etc.). If they can’t stand the heat they can find somewhere else to race where they don’t have to worry about the media because no one is watching. No one forced them to become a driver. No one forced them to accept a multi-million dollar check from a sponsor.

04/04/2013 01:01 PM

I agree with Cory, of course Summer likes it. It gives Summer really good “journalistic” reporting. Sarcasm. Logano just climbed out of a car from a crash had Tony Stewart running behind his employees to make his bad day Logano’s too as if it Logano’s wasn’t enough he turns around and bam…“So Joey blah blah blah…” I think that expects alot of somebody and unfair at best. Tony Stewart gets his tirade of stupidity and mental health issues aired for the world to hear but I say at the expense of Logano and his family. Oh and love how his stuff gets “beeped” but not others. I say the media is very problematic in all this, because reporting just the race isn’t good enough. Times of integrity is lacking. Just because you could, doesn’t mean you should.

04/04/2013 01:59 PM

OMG our lily-white, pure media causes problems that don’t need to become problems. And frequently their reports aren’t even correct, because they put their own spin on them.

04/04/2013 02:51 PM

Reporters seem to have an
attitude that they can do no wrong regardless of the situation. Do you see reporters stick a mike in the face of a quarterback after he has been blasted by a 300 pound defensive player?
The one thing that is missing from reporters such as yourself is knowing when to back off
in certain situations.

04/04/2013 05:55 PM

The hypocritical stance of both Stewart and Newman on blocking is just amazing. I’ve seen Stewart block and then scream blue bloody murder about it when he gets blocked.

I was also AT Darlington when NASCAR first started the GWC and double file restarts – Newman brought the field to the green and deliberately tried to cause a wreck to screw up the race. He has NO room to talk.

04/04/2013 08:18 PM

Spoken like a true media member,never at fault. The media constantly stirs bull and its the drivers that have to pay. Its time to take a little blame for there actions the call journalism.