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 Columns & Editorials

September 11, 2001

Confusion Is Not The Word

by Jane Smith

Ok, I admit first off that I am a woman. But that does not mean that I don't know anything or that I am brain dead or stupid. But right now, the sport that I have given my heart to, has got me so confused that I am not sure whether I am coming or going.

When I look at the message board and see that yet another stupid act has happened on a racetrack and another arrest has been made, I wonder why. Why or how can a "family" sport like racing get so violent. I mean, the purses are not that big and you don't win a house with a points championship so why the violence. Yes, I understand that tempers get hot but so do they in everyday life. Has no one ever heard of channeling your anger in another direction other than at a person??

There has always been rubbing in racing but today, we have gone way pass rubbing. To literally aim your car at another car whether under green or yellow, is not acceptable. Flipping a car is beyond belief. Both of these actions are deadly. Yes, I know that racing in itself is deadly and accidents do happen but when they are not accidents and done on purpose, how are we suppose to handle them??

Okay, both racers involved in one of these incidents has family that loves them. The young man at St. Augustine has a wife and two young sons and he is facing a year away from them. He and the other driver were friends so why would you do this even if you lost?? I just don't get it, maybe I never will, but when you know that you are that angry and you know that your hands are in control of a deadly weapon, why act on your temper? You know that you could hurt or possibly kill that person.

Now we are back to square one. Do we excuse these actions as just a racing thing or what??? Some say because they are inside a racetrack, the owner should have the last word as to what is done to the driver. So does that mean if by some strange reason that a driver could have a gun, hopefully never, and got mad enough that he shot another driver, the law should not be called. What is the line, where is the line??

Even in Busch and Winston Cup, fans are getting upset with some of the driving manners they see each week. Is it okay to take someone out just to win? I thought the rule was "if you can't pass cleanly, you're not really winning." Ricky Rudd knew how to rub Kevin Harvick just right, just enough to get him lose but not wreck him to pass for the win. Even Benny Parsons said that is the way to do it, NOT the way Kevin Harvick had done it to Rudd for the lead. Again, these are what they call "old timers" saying the new ways are the wrong ways so what is it??

So here we are again, wondering who should or should not have the control over dirty drivers or angry drivers?? How do we stop this?? Can we stop this?? Like an old friend wrote me this week, where he raced years ago, the owner of the track got so tired of all the fighting at the races he put a boxing ring in the middle of the track for the drivers so they could knock each other crazy and work their anger out. This way they only hurt their faces and used their hands and not cars as their weapons.

If some kind of solution is not found for these "crazy" actions, we are going to see someone not come out okay. I don't think any fan wants that and I know no racing family wants that. We certainly aren't Winston Cup and we don't make a fortune to do local racing so why are we acting so stupid. God gave us all common sense and a brain, isn't it time yet to use them before someone ends up in prison for life because of a racing accident.

Jane Smith

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