By admin | October 15, 2011
By Richard Allen
Years ago when I coached high school basketball I used to work a number of summer camps for younger children. For whatever reason, my memory has held on to an instance when a young girl in one of those camps cleanly stole the ball away from a young boy during a scrimmage situation. The boy’s reaction was to stop competing and declare, “Tina, you are playing much too aggressively!”
My brain has probably held on to that memory because of the charge that someone was playing “too aggressively” in a sport that is meant to be played aggressively and the fact that it just sounded funny coming out of the mouth of an eight year old child.
Well, a disturbing trend has begun to emerge over the last few years in NASCAR racing that sounds strangely similar to the charge of a small child.
During Saturday night’s Dollar General 300 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, two of NASCAR’s more prominent drivers hurled the accusation that they had been raced too aggressively by their competitors during the Nationwide Series event. Pardon me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that what ‘competitors’ are supposed to do in racing?
After a mid-race restart, Joey Logano moved his car to the inside on the backstretch to go three wide and pass his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch. After the move, Busch came on his in-car radio and said, “Mr. Logano needs a loooong talking to.” The implication being that Logano was racing too aggressively and should not have made such a move.
Apparently, drivers have adopted some unwritten rule that such moves are not to be made in today’s NASCAR. I would have liked to see Mr. Busch offer “a loooong talking to” to Cale Yarborough or Bobby Allison for daring to pass him…cleanly.
But that wasn’t all. After the race it was Logano’s turn to accuse another driver of racing too aggressively. “The 16(Trevor Bayne) just went on my door really, really hard,” he said. “It’s just the way he’s been racing me lately. He’s been racing me really hard lately.
“I don’t know if he’s trying to keep up with Ricky(Stenhouse, Bayne’s teammate) or what the deal is,” Logano added. “I don’t really enjoy that too much. We’ll have to have a little talk about it.”
That interview with Logano and Busch’s radio remarks seem to sum up what this sport is coming to be. The drivers have become too soft and expect to be treated as if they are owed something rather than acting as if they have to earn whatever they get. “How dare anyone challenge me,” is the way such comments come off in a sport that is intended to be contested aggressively.
And just to be clear, it is not just these two drivers. Listen to scanner talk just about any week and there will be such statements made by virtually every driver in the field at one time or another.
Come on, drivers! Saying that someone is racing you “too aggressively” or “too hard” makes you sound like an eight year old child who just had his basketball taken away from him. Man up!
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