Geoff’s Journal: Feuds in NASCAR
By Geoff Bodine
March 22, 2017
It’s about time we got a little action going again.
The feuds and on-track retaliations we have seen this early in the NASCAR season bring excitement to the sport.
From Joey Logano and Kyle Busch, to Austin Dillon and Cole Custer, and even Reed Sorenson and Corey LaJoie, people are paying attention and watching more. In that sense, it’s good for the sport.
Yet, drivers aren’t good role models for kids if they’re throwing punches and getting physical with their fists or cars.
We will all have tough days in our lives, but there are better ways to deal with emotions.
I’m not a proponent of getting out and fighting, even though it’s exciting.
I’m not in position to say where NASCAR should mark a fine line in the sand of when an altercation between drivers, crew members, etc. needs additional consequences.
While people may or may not agree with the action the sanctioning body takes on these kind of situations, they make their decisions on how to react based on what is best for the sport.
I am not a fan of fines. I don’t think anybody is. However, money is not an issue, in relation to a fine by NASCAR. Drivers may get put on probation, but it pretty much means they will talk to you again if you do it again.
There’s a lot of emotions involved in racing, and drivers may act on those emotions and not really worry about the monetary fines that could come with the territory.
DEALING WITH EMOTIONS
I might be the right person to talk about this, because back in the day when they had the penalty box, they started it because of me.
An unnamed late-great driver would run into me on the track and I would bump him back.
NASCAR would penalize me by making me “cool down” in the penalty box.
It is really easy to overreact. When something would happen to me, and the media was ready to come after me, I would tell my public relations person to give me five minutes.
I am a five minute man. Give me five minutes to calm down. If you get me at four minutes, I might say something wrong, which I have a few times in my career.
I would need those five minutes to take a deep breath, count to 10 and get my emotions intact.
I’m a little guy, so if I had trouble, I’d always talk to the guys over the radio for backup.
If I was wrong, I’d admit the mistake, but if I didn’t do anything wrong, and they were mad at me I’d stand up to them (but first, I’d get the big guys around me).
I never had any physical altercation happen with another driver when I was racing in NASCAR. Maybe a heated exchange of words or a push and shove.
I also never threw a punch at a driver, or a driver throw one at me, but I had a car owner hit me at Seekonk Speedway when I was racing modifieds.
He said my name, I looked up, and he hit me on the head. It took me a few hours to realize who I was and where I was at. That’s the worst I’ve ever been knocked out.
And, I never threw helmets, those things are expensive, but some would to help ease their frustrations with another driver.
ADVICE FOR DRIVERS
As long as there is racing, there will be hard-fought battles and on-track incidents.
Never admit you did it. It's a little harder today with all the television cameras around, but never admit you did anything wrong.
Once you admit it, you’re in deep trouble.
Another piece of advice for the hotheads who are ready to jump out of their car and confront a fellow driver: NEVER take your helmet off.
I know it’s tempting to want to take it off and throw it, but that will make you vulnerable to getting clocked in the face. We saw that with Kyle Busch last week. He had some blood dripping down his face. If he had his helmet on, I don’t think that would have happened.
Throw something else, like a glove, face padding or water bottle.
If you’re gonna play hardball, you better be ready for the results. IMAGE CREDITS: Matt Courson/The Racing Experts Dante Ricci/The Racing Experts
DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.