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« Johnson set to make NASCAR history in Homestead | Main | Why not five, or even six? »

Please! More Hamlin vs. Keselowski and Stewart vs. Montoya

By admin | November 22, 2009


By Richard Allen

Paybacks are…Well, you know.

This weekend’s racing at the Homestead-Miami Speedway featured plenty of payback and it made for some entertaining stuff.

In the Nationwide Series race on Saturday, the brewing rivalry between Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski came to a head. Hamlin promised payback for previous fouls, and he delivered.

Hamlin caught Keselowski and sent him into the spin cycle early in that race. NASCAR penalized Hamlin one lap for rough driving as a result.

On Sunday, Tony Stewart and Juan Pablo Montoya found themselves tangled together on more than one occasion. After a bump from Montoya to Stewart on one side of the track, Stewart slammed Montoya’s car and caused a flat tire which resulted in a bump with the wall on the other side of the track.

Montoya retaliated on Stewart by sending him for a spin after the #42 car returned to the track following a stint in the garage. He was penalized two laps, which didn’t really mean much to a guy already multiple laps down.

NASCAR could use a lot more rivalries like these two cases. The sanctioning body actually did well not to over-penalize the combatants. Hamlin was able to recover from his penalty and record a top-5 finish. And as was said, Montoya’s penalty was inconsequential.

As long as no other innocent bystander is collected, paybacks could even go completely unpunished. Penalties ought to be doled out only if others not originally involved are collected.

Those that believe folks who dare to criticize NASCAR are stuck in some time warp and see things as better in the ‘good ole days’ like to point out statistics such as the number of cars on the lead lap at the end of a race as a way of claiming racing is better now than it was ‘back in the day’. What people such as myself are trying to point out is that racing used to be a sport filled with passion, emotion and grit. It has nothing to do with the number of cars on the lead lap at the end of a race.

Rivalries and payback were once every bit as much a part of racing as points and trophies are today. The sport misses that element badly. Such activities provide a reason to tune in and stay tuned in.

Today’s antiseptic NASCAR does not offer much of this sort of thing. That’s why such a big deal was made of Hamlin vs. Keselowski and Stewart vs. Montoya. In the days of Petty, Pearson, Allison, Baker and Yarborough this type stuff was commonplace, and it was exciting.

Let’s hope 2010 offers more rivalries and even a few more paybacks.

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

Topics: Articles |

9 Responses to “Please! More Hamlin vs. Keselowski and Stewart vs. Montoya”

  1. Josie Says:
    November 23rd, 2009 at 7:57 am

    It was great! You had to know once Montoya booted Stewart in the rear end it was GAME ON !! I have to believe watching Montoya the laps prior to his booting Stewart there were plenty of drivers wishing Montoya would just go away or get crashed..he was slicing and dicing and pushing drivers up the track right and left. So I bet there was a collective sigh and applause when Stewart took him out (although Tony should have given just alittle harder push..got him out for good). AND you HAD to know what was to come when Montoya got back out! It made a race I was dreading watchable.. Loved it.

  2. MiK Watson Says:
    November 23rd, 2009 at 8:28 am

    That Hamlin/Keselowski thing was sooo sanitized that you couldn’t call BS if you tried! Denny slowed WAY down to apply the right amount of bumper, Brad turned down to help it go around, And EVERY driver on the track was leaving a ton of space for these guys to perform.

    THAT may have been the reason Special K was called to the hauler: to tell him that he had to go around to even the score with Denny.

    It’s just all too pat.

  3. steven Says:
    November 23rd, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Nascar could bring in a consultant from the World Wrestling group and even have wives and girlfriends fighting on the track in front of the cameras. Of course, I’m being facetious.

  4. Lynnsy Says:
    November 23rd, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    I agree with you Josie about Montoya slicing and dicing and pushing. I’m not sure what makes that clown think everyone should just move over for him and let him by? I think he should have been taken off the track for the rest of the race after he so obviously hit Stewart on purpose. That could have caused a big pile up and taken out several drivers. Penalzing him 2 laps when he was already about 28 down didn’t exactly ruin his chances of winning the race but what he did could have cost Jimmie the championship!!!
    And as far as Special K (I love that!!!), it’s time someone pulls his butt off the track for a few laps for the same reason as Montoya. How many people has he wrecked in the last few weeks on purpose or just being stupid? Hamlin was nice to him, someone else might not be so nice and I hope I get to see it!!!

  5. Dump the Chase Says:
    November 23rd, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Screw the rivalries, that’s WWE garbage. Can we please see real racing again with proper race cars and no ¢hase Crap?

  6. MiK Watson Says:
    November 24th, 2009 at 2:48 am

    I totally agree with ya, dumper! Petty and Pearson had a rivalry, no body got dumped there…same with Earnhardt and Wallace, most times. Hard racing to be in front of the other guy is what we want to see. NOT playing bumper cars at 190 mph!

    Like the Rocketman says; If you came to see that, you need to leave…NOW

  7. farve Says:
    November 24th, 2009 at 7:00 am

    hey that was good raceining

  8. Gail Forrester Says:
    November 24th, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    farve - too bad you can’t spell your own name.

    As for the racing, it was fun to watch, especially since I won my fantasy league due to the JPM-Stewart antics. The trouble is - how do you know ahead of time that a payback won’t cause harm to innocent bystanders? You don’t - not all these guys are equally skillful at delivering the bump and reacting to it. Do you really want payback between two non-contenders to decide a championship?

    This weekend’s action turned out OK because it did not affect either Kyle Busch or Jimmie Johnson on their way to their respective championships. But if it had turned out differently…would that be just racing?

    As for punishment, if you the crime you had better be willing to do the time.

  9. Pathbeast Says:
    December 4th, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Agrred. I caught a little of the race and was able to enjoy seeing Stewart bodyslam Montoya. Nice to have a little rivalry action, especially from some of the drivers who are over the age of 16…