By admin | May 8, 2011
By Richard Allen
It would seem logical to think that a driver who just won the first(or some might say second) Sprint Cup race of his career for an underdog team would receive the bulk of all racing media coverage the next day. There is even an example of that very thing from earlier this year when Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500.
So, the day after Regan Smith won the Southern 500 at the storied Darlington Raceway he dominated the headlines, right? Well, not exactly.
Unfortunately for Smith, his win was book ended by matters of high drama and controversy. And as is well known, drama and controversy make for better headlines, and thus, get the majority of the attention.
On Friday, drivers Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya continued a feud that had boiled over the previous week in Richmond. After a call to the NASCAR hauler to discuss the situation with series officials the two apparently got into a physical altercation.
Needless to say, talk of that rivalry provided fodder aplenty for media members on social networking sites such as twitter and Facebook, especially on a day when one of the Sprint Cup practice sessions was washed out by rain showers.
Then, at the end of the race itself Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick had an on-track incident which spilled over to a pit road incident which spilled over to a garage area incident. With two of NASCARâ€™s biggest personalities pushing, shoving, yelling and cursing at each other, a victory lane interview and media center conference with a young, mild-mannered first time winner is not going to get the amount of attention that might be deserved.
Another reason for Smith getting such a relatively small amount of attention is the way in which the race played out. During the Daytona 500, Bayne ran near the front much of the day so he was seen and heard from as the race went on. Smith, on the other hand, quietly made his way through the Southern 500 with relatively little fanfare until the very end of the night when he had to hold off Carl Edwards over the final laps.
The bottom line is that a first time winner took home one of the most prized trophies in all of motorsports. However, circumstances beyond his control prevented him from receiving the amount of attention a fresh face might normally be given. Whenever such big personalities as Montoya, Newman, Harvick and Busch are a part of the story in a controversial way, they are going to steal the headlines whether thatâ€™s fair or not.
By the way, the reference to Smithâ€™s second win was made in regard to a 2008 event in Talladega in which he crossed the finish line first but was penalized for passing below the yellow line as he and Tony Stewart raced to the checkered flag.
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