Sometimes NASCAR drivers are just impossible to understand. One minute they’re burning rubber on track, making three wide passes and proving why they’re in NASCAR in the first place. The next, they’re bitching on pit road about another driver racing them too hard with 10 laps to go. They go from zero to hero, shining to whining, in a matter of moments, and it’s disheartening.
Take the post-race … er … “scuffle” on pit road between Kevin Harvick and Brian Vickers last Sunday at Martinsville (though it’s hardly a scuffle when they use their cars). I’ve watched the replay of the last few laps and, frankly, I just don’t get it. With just a few laps left, Vickers, Harvick, and Danica Patrick (!) were battling for right around the 12th position. Vickers blamed Patrick for blocking (which she was), and Harvick got upset with the way Vickers was blocking him (which he was). Nobody did anything wrong, but they were racing. It was Martinsville. It happens.
Then, post-race, Harvick flat turned him. Just … right around. Right there. Hooked his right rear and sent Vickers around. Just like that. Then, on pit road, Harvick basically rode the side of Vickers’ car all the way down.
It would have been funny to watch if it wasn’t so … strange. After all, they were just racing, weren’t they?
Now, before I go further, let me explain something, because somehow this got lost on everyone the last time I tried to make this point. I’m not complaining. I’m not saying I don’t like drivers showing emotion. I’m not even denying that part of me enjoys watching drivers lose their heads over nothing. Don’t we all?
But, still, I don’t get it. These guys are professional, top of the line, best of the best drivers in the United States and arguably in the world. Most of them have fought tooth and nail to get to where they are, and they’ve raced at many different racetracks and won several types of races on various levels. It’s a wonder they don’t just feel lucky to be there.
One thing is for sure, for all of them: they love to race. It appears, though, that they don’t love to be raced. There have been several incidents already this year with examples of that. Stewart and Logano. Logano and Hamlin. And, apparently, Vickers and Harvick.
Let’s rewind just a tad from Martinsville and go back to this whole “blocking” … what? Controversy? Debate? Whatever you want to call it, it was annoying. What were labeled as “convincing” arguments from drivers who are against blocking (and who, ironically, are some of the worst blockers), were basically just veiled arguments for “why you should let me drive right by you no matter what lap it is.” It was honestly pathetic to listen to, and I was trying not to rip my hair out as they spoke. How can championship winning or championship caliber drivers seriously sit there and talk about how other drivers should race them?
It’s what I call the “diva complex.” Come back to Martinsville, if you will. We all essentially predicted some sort of brawl, dust-up, or some sort of confrontation. We wanted it, and it wasn’t a matter of “if”, it was a matter of “when”. But why did we expect it ? Or, more importantly, how?
Honestly, we probably expected the divers to be racing too hard and someone completely overreacting to it. That seems to be the norm with incidents like that and it has been since racing of any form has been in existence. But doesn’t it seem wrong when it’s not just some undeserved bump from another driver or something similar?
In other words, again at tracks like Martinsville, it seems to me that there are so many double standards flying around NASCAR that it sometimes becomes difficult to take them seriously. How can I, when they get out of the car and start complaining about how hard the others were racing with five laps to go? It’s one thing for things to be heat of the moment, but there are many repeat offenders in the garage area and I still struggle to understand it.
If NASCAR drivers are the best of the best, it seems it’s way too difficult for them to acknowledge that there are others out there too. It’s fun to watch, no doubt, but it’s also under-the-skin aggravating. Heck, if they don’t like it, I’ll drive!
In other words, keep up the amazing driving. But lower the egos a little, will ya?