Monday, 28 November 2022

 

Teammates help each other out. 

It’s part of racing, and always has been.

When Jeff Gordon was trying to wrap up his first title back in the 1990s, Rick Hendrick would enter an extra car in the race just so it could drop out and guarantee Gordon another spot. When stages are about to end, drivers often don’t lap their teammates even if they are able to do so, out of respect for their overall team goals. Every team on the grid, from Hendrick to Gibbs to SHR and beyond, has told its drivers to support their teammates in one way or another, often explicitly on the radio. 

So the decision to punish Cole Custer and the 41 team for alleged improper action to help teammate Chase Briscoe at the end of the Roval race is quite dishonest in my view. This wasn’t a Clint Bowyer itchy arm situation and there was no blatant manipulation. Briscoe was going to dive bomb into that corner regardless of what Custer did, and likely make the pass anyway, so overanalyzing the 41 car’s actions is unnecessary. 

What’s most bothersome is the inconsistency. In recent years, Chase Elliott did a playoff favor for Kyle Larson by holding up Kevin Harvick, and Erik Jones was told explicitly to not pass teammate Denny Hamlin. But nobody was punished in those instances.

Let’s not get into the habit of over-policing, which is the complete opposite of “boys, have at it” and not the direction we need to go in as a sport.

Published in NASCAR

How does NASCAR follow up a historic weekend at Talladega?


With a weekend full of drama at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite tracks in all of NASCAR (The track’s been so much fun since it’s arrival, I honestly feel like sending Marcus Smith a thank-you card for coming up with the idea in the first place).

It was a very newsworthy weekend, both on the track and off. Here are my initial reactions to some of the big news that we got to take in this weekend.

Harvick vs. Elliott

Well, this rivalry certainly came to a head this weekend. After several weeks of openly holding a grudge against Elliott for the way Elliott raced him at Bristol, Harvick acted on those feelings at the Roval, punting Elliott during Sunday’s race. Unfortunately for Happy Harvick, Elliott was able to continue on (despite a flapping bumper cover that should have gotten him black-flagged), eventually securing a place in the next round of the playoffs while Harvick ultimately did not. Harvick’s day, perhaps in a bit of karma, ended when he wrecked himself while Chase was lurking in the background and no doubt ready to give payback. Before he could get there, Harvick froze up and did the job himself. 

After the race, Harvick basically confirmed he had spun Elliott on purpose, but Elliott had the ultimate last wor, saying he wished Harvick a “Merry Offseason and Happy Christmas”. My first thought after hearing the comment was the “Y’all wanna see a dead body?” meme, as Harvick’s got nothing he can say in response.

As a fan, it was great drama, and I’m pretty sure that puts an end to their on-track battles for this year. I don’t expect any more shunts between the two, but you can bet Harvick will do his best to hold up Chase and prevent him from winning the title, if they are ever near each other in the final races.

Either way, whether you like Chase or Harvick or neither one of them, the fans are the ones who are coming out on top here, as we’re seeing genuine rivalries play out in a sport where those are mostly a thing of the past.

Published in NASCAR

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