Petty v. Pearson, Yarborough v. Allison, Earnhardt v. Wallace, Rudd v. Harvick
What do all those have in common? They were some of the rivalries that brewed from some of NASCAR’s greatest drivers. Rivalries are what caught the attention of many fans to bring the sport to where it is. However, that is not the case now.
There are no rivalries brewing among the top drivers of NASCAR, at this moment.
On Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Joey Logano and Kyle Busch went at it on pit-road after an altercation on the final lap in the Kobalt 400. Busch went down on Logano after trying to avoid the slower car of Brad Keselowski on the backstretch then Busch went down on Logano in the fourth turn, getting Logano loose, and sending Busch for a spin. Both drivers were in the top-5 at the time of the accident.
Busch felt that he was wronged by the accident and went to talk to Logano after the cars stopped on pit road post-race that resulted in an altercation between Logano’s crew and Busch.
NASCAR announced earlier today that neither Logano, Busch, and the crew members would not be penalized. This decision was hinted on Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio with Steve O’Donnell and Brian France.
NASCAR made the right call to not penalize the drivers for their post-race altercation.
In my opinion, the sport needs rivalries in an effort to gain more footing in the national sports market in the United States.
Does there need to be a fight every weekend? Absolutely not!
The first question each of the drivers will be asked come this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway is, “Have you guys talked it out?”
When that question is asked to drivers who have had an incident with another driver, it irks me to my bones. Why? It squanders the possible of a potential rivalry among the best.
NASCAR was built on rivalries. The rivalries mentioned above were ones that stayed on the track, but sometimes did get physical. Fans would always turn their heads to the battle between rivals because neither driver would give an inch to the other person.
“Boys, have at it” was a term coined by Robin Pemberton that was used to describe a new “hands off” approach that allowed drivers to self-police and show their true selves without any repercussions from NASCAR.
“Boys, have at it” is a very grey area among the NASCAR garage. NASCAR has the right to step in when it feels that the policy has been violated. This situation is no different than Ambrose v. Mears or Keselowski v. Gordon. Ambrose and Mears were both fined, while Keselowski and Gordon were not fined for fighting.
All I ask is that NASCAR remain consistent with its rulings. My hope is that NASCAR and other media members let this “rivalry” play out naturally before asking if they are cool with each other.