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Why do drivers feel the need to apologize?

By admin | August 9, 2009

By Richard Allen

Where did this calling between drivers to apologize for crashes come from? And, what’s the point?

In preparation for the race in Watkins Glen it was noted that David Reutimann was still upset with Denny Hamlin for an incident between the two at Pocono that ruined Reutimann’s day and hurt his chances of making the Chase for the Championship.

“I was surprised,” Hamlin said Friday at Watkins Glen International. “We actually talked that night and he seemed fine. He didn’t say that he was angry or anything.”

Hamlin was surprised that another driver was miffed at him only because he punted that other driver, costing him a good finish and possibly knocking him out of the Chase. Why the surprise? Was a chat after the incident supposed to fix it?

Often times, we hear of drivers saying they called another driver to apologize, or that they talked later and everything is all right. That’s ridiculous. Everything is not all right. A phone call a day later isn’t going to repay points or wins.

Perhaps it all comes from some change in society toward political correctness that has brought about these apologies. Maybe the drivers are afraid they will not be liked by other drivers and may get booed by the fans of the offended. Maybe it has to do with the ‘new’ NASCAR which has drivers being called to the infamous ‘truck’ when it is suspected there might be trouble. Whatever the reason, it is pointless.

A driver’s job is not to be liked by everybody else. A driver’s job is to race hard. When there is hard racing there are going to be incidents. That’s just part of it.

Hamlin did not owe Reutimann and apology. He was just racing hard and trying to win.

Reutimann had no reason to expect an apology. It is up to him to race Hamlin the same way when the roles are reversed. That’s all.

I’m guessing Dale Earnhardt did not call Darrell Waltrip to apologize the day after they tangled late in the race at Richmond in 1986.

If Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough had waited for each other to call and apologize after the 1979 Daytona 500 they would still be sitting by the phone.

Come on, drivers. You do not have to apologize for hard racing, just expect the same hard racing against you when the time comes. And if you did it on purpose, the apology probably isn’t going to be very sincere anyway.

Let the other guy’s girlfriend or wife tell him how sorry she is.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

Topics: Articles |

2 Responses to “Why do drivers feel the need to apologize?”

  1. mrclause Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Apologizing shows respect and class, it’s that simple. Plus you’ll be racing this guy at 180 or better next week, an apology costs nothing.

    And it’s what separates the rest from Kyle Bush.

  2. Lou Says:
    August 17th, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    Racing is not for wusses. Once in a while when something real stupid happen I would apologize but just because someone got wrecked is no reason to go all soft inside. Usually someone gets wrecked because they are going to slow and won’t get out of the way.

    Nascar has gone soft. The racing is soft. The brass is soft in the head. The COT is soft. Let the men run and send the boys packing. Nascar get out of their way you are spoiling the race.