I am constantly derided by cohorts and friends because I am one of the few African Americans that is absolutely head-over-heels for NASCAR. I love the history, I love the passion, the technicality and the camaraderie of the sport, However, in recent history, there has been an opening in the sport that posers and passers-by can enjoy.
That’s right. A tradition that began in 1979 with the first televised race ending in a brawl has evolved to include off-track antics that border on melee status (a word often used when describing these incidents). This is not just hicks and rednecks stirring it up. This is primal energy and athletic passion played out with 3400lb cars and resulting in ride-or-die warriors defending their driver, right or wrong. The new playoff-style setup of The Chase for the Championship has drivers going through several rounds of elimination that begins with 16 teams and ends with only 2. “Ruin my chances and I’ll ruin your face” is the result of telling the drivers “Have at it, boys…” Which NASCAR did in 2012.
Let’s look at this past week’s example which stars Championship-winning Golden Boy of the sport, Jeff Gordon and another Champion, the new perennial Bad Boy, Brad Keselowski with a cameo appearance by everybody’s favorite sneak, the elusive, Kevin Harvick. Enjoy.
Just a few weeks before this, a three-way problem ensued after a race in north Carolina. It began with barking and lunging and ended with one of the most level-headed drivers in the league, Matt Kennseth, performing with all the finesse of a New York street gang in some back alley. If you are short in patience, fast forward to 2:40 and let the games begin.
Proving that the passion in this sport has no respect of person, here we see two mild mannered drivers got into a scuffle this year proving that temper can overshadow temperament.
This is not ultimate fighting…oh, really? Same network, same script.
One of the more prolific fights in recent history was the one between (once good friends) Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer in 2012. This was a fight that was so big that it stopped all racing activities on the track. Yeah, they had to clean the track for the wreck, but believe me, no one was gonna be watching the race with all these good fisticuffs going on!
The tension isn’t relegated to the end of the race or the haulers, either. A most dangerous rivalry began between Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski (this guy is pissin’ off everybody, huh?).Just when you thought cars couldn’t fly, these two use a race car’s tonnage to express your true feelings. Here’s how it all unfolded:
I love NASCAR and not just because of the fighting. However, there’s nothing to show passion than seeing your guy go for the win and for the throat. Before any of you stick-and-ball sport lover look down your nose at us motorsport fans, please keep in mind that it can happen in every sport, hence….
Don’t feel left out, there’s animosity in the NFL, too…
Really makes you wonder; is it the passion for the sport or the spirit of the age? Hmmmmm….. No matter, now NASCAR has something for everyone and something relative to every sport. Good ‘ol fashioned temper-losin’, jaw-bustin pummeling. The stuff that makes sports interesting and makes this country great.