Sunday, July 18, 2010
You throw a rock, I'm gonna throw a concrete block: NASCAR Driver Feuds
And then we have last night. The Nationwide Series Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at Gateway, located just east of St. Louis, MO, turned out to be a wilder night than any of us expected, I think. Restart with two to go. Carl and Brad up front. Fans were practically holding their collective breath as the two raced around the oval at Gateway. Both had great cars and were obviously the two best cars out there last night. The Green lap went without incident...and then the white flag waved.
My first thoughts were that Carl saved it when Brad bumped him, whereas Brad lost it after the last hit. After watching the last lap again, I have to say that Carl did hit Brad harder than a "bump". The front corner of Carl's car was mangled from the hit. There was no visible damage to the front of Brad's car after the turn one hit. Could a more experienced driver have saved it and not wrecked after the hit that Carl gave Brad? Maybe. Could Carl have won the race without taking Brad out? Maybe. Was the retaliation hit justified? Depends on who you listen to.
Bob Keselowski was obviously in the unjustified camp. His post-race interviewed showed a man who was so angry that he was shaking and near tears. His claim that Carl is trying to kill Brad was way overboard, however. Had Carl been trying to kill or even hurt Brad the second thing out of Carl's mouth after the win would not have been "Is he Okay?" but more like "Did I finish him?" or "Tell me he's not walking out of that". Bob Keselowski's statement that Carl "tried to kill the kid" and that he wants to put on his "damn uniform and take care of this" was kind of the pot calling the kettle black after Bob said Carl overreacted. It's racing. Last lap racing, at that.
Kurt Busch and Jimmy Spencer had a two-year long feud that started at Phoenix in 2001 and was finished in 2003 when Spencer wrecked Busch. During one installment of that feud, Kurt revved his engine in front of Jimmy's hauler in a taunting gesture. Spencer was not amused, rammed Kurt's car, and reportedly punched Kurt in the face. 2005 saw sparks between Kevin Harvick and Joe Nemechek. Tony Stewart had gotten into the back of Nemechek who then got into Harvick. Retaliation move? Harvick throws his restraint device at Nemechek's car and shoves him after the race.
Edwards and Matt Kenseth were involved in a teammate's feud in 2007. An on-camera argument that involved pushing and a feigned punch by Edwards occurred after several on-track incidents at Martinsville. Jeff Gordon shoved Matt Kenseth after the spring race at Bristol in 2006 when Kenseth had taken out Gordon after being knocked out of the lead by Kyle Busch. Track officials had to separate Jeff and Matt. After an on-track incident between Keselowski and Denny Hamlin, Denny may have stated it best when he said "You throw a rock, I'm gonna throw a concrete block." Retaliation in NASCAR isn't ever even. It gets bigger with each move.
As it stands now, NASCAR.com still isn't showing final results for Gateway. The results on the race page are showing as "Unofficial." Are they thinking of taking the win away from Carl? Will there be another probation period for him? A suspension? Kevin Harvick's experience in 2003 proved that NASCAR will suspend a driver from Cup racing for actions in the lower-level series'. Harvick had gotten physical with Greg Biffle after a Bristol race then two weeks later slammed into Coy Gibbs' truck during a Trucks Series race resulting in a one race NASCAR suspension, keeping Harvick out of the race at Martinsville. Will Carl's actions at last night's Nationwide Gateway race keep him out of the Brickyard 400 in seven days? If not, Keselowski, Edwards, and the NASCAR fans should be in for a hell of a ride next week, as the two drivers' paths should cross more than one in Indy.
Photo 1: NASCAR.com
Photo 2: NASCAR.com
Photo 3: finallapradio.com
Photo 4: Washington Post (online)