By admin | May 26, 2008
By Richard Allen
During this weekend’s racing there were two pit road incidents that received some attention. One of those in particular got me thinking.
After a run in on the track between drivers Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski during Saturday night’s Nationwide Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway their respective crews had a good old fashioned knock down drag out after the race. If this were 20 years ago that would not really be news. That kind of thing used to happen with some degree of regularity, but not quite so often anymore.
However, the incident that caused me to think occurred at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the running of the Indy 500.
After bumping into each other on pit road drivers Danica Patrick and Ryan Briscoe were knocked from contention. Once it was determined that Patrick’s car was damaged too badly to continue she removed herself from the machine and began walking in the direction of Briscoe’s pit area.
Who knows what her intentions were? In her state of anger and disappointment she may not even know what her intentions were. But, what if her intentions were to get into some sort of physical confrontation with Briscoe?
So, my question is, where is the line between male and female to be drawn when it comes to race day “disagreements”?
Patrick is somewhat known for her temper. There is a very famous piece of video footage which shows her kicking and stomping her way around a track after her car quit on her. She also allegedly struck another driver a few years ago in an ambulance on the way to the infield care center after an accident.
As a child I was always told that boys are not supposed to hit girls, a teaching that I believe my sister took advantage of, much to my chagrin.
If Danica had hit Briscoe what was he to do? If he just sat there and did nothing he would be labeled as weak and might run the risk of being taken advantage of by her or other drivers in the future. However, if he hit back he would almost certainly have been labeled the bad guy, particularly by the mainstream media who only follow one race a year and only know the name of one driver.
I realize this is all hypothetical because none of it actually took place. However, this sort of thing puts the gentlemen in a difficult situation.
Many NASCAR fans would look at the pit road bump between Patrick and Briscoe and call it a “racin’ deal”. However, this was in the biggest race of the year for Indy drivers and emotions were running high.
If Danica should ever come to NASCAR she might want to be careful who she walks up pit road to meet. Drivers like Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards or Robby Gordon may be more than willing to meet her halfway. She might want to be a little forgiving after one of those “racin’ deals”.
But then again, old time NASCAR fans consider a brawl between two entire pit crews a “racin’ deal”.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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