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 Columns & Editorials

March 31, 2002

Rumbling On the Asphalt

By Jane Smith

"Mama, he pushed me." Well son, "push him back. Don't
try to work this out or be playmates, the fists will
settle it all." How many times have parents told their
children this thinking it would make them strong. It
is an age old story taught by many a parent to their
child BUT in today's world, this is not always the best
or only way to settle a dispute.

God gave us this round thing that sits on top of our
shoulders and actually does work if used. Inside that
round thing he gave us something called "a brain"
which does function even in the hottest of situations
and anger. But lately, it seems that the brain does
not function and the fists and the mouth have all the
power when it comes to racing.

Take two grown men, responsible, mature or at least
on the outside that is what you see. Take two racecars,
very comparable, both wanting to win. One car may
block the other or one car may actually cut down on
the other or they may touch accidentally causing
them BOTH to spin out. One driver gets out of his car,
fists talking while the other driver is a sitting duck
in his raceseat still strapped in. Eventually the one
driver frees himself from his seat only to end up
still being punched and eventually ends up on the ground
fighting for his own safety. Five years olds or grown
responsible men, that is the question???

Take an older driver being beat by a younger driver.
They may touch while racing and the older drivers decided
that the youngster needs to learn a lesson. So when
the race goes under a caution, the older driver aims
his car directly at the younger driver and pushes him
hard into the cement wall of the track. Where is the
brain now?? Not in the round thing on top of the

There is no excuse for fighting or trying to purposely
hurt someone in the world of stockcar racing. That
legal, killing machine is just a toy in a way, something
that is not necessary to our lives but something we
want to play with. Tempers have no place in a playground
or racetrack, none at all. What use to be acceptable
and great fun for the fans has finally come around to
be seen as five year olds who have temper tantrums
because they did not get their way.

Winston Cup now fines drivers heavily for throwing fits
or temper tantrums. Supposedly, hitting someone where
it hurts the most will make them see the error of their
ways, supposedly. They can't afford to suspend a driver
since they are having a hard time right now getting their
43 car count for the payoffs the drivers expect. But
in local racing, fines, suspensions even banning
should be done to an angry playmate.

Parents today tell a child to work things out, talk
to the other child. Hitting is not the answer, name
calling solves nothing but causes hard feelings.
Grown men are no exception to the rule. Racing is NOT
a necessity of life, it is a playtime that is shared
by many a local racer. Sure it costs an arm and a
leg and most racers are in the same boat when it
comes to that arm and a leg. Torn up machines or
damaged bodies don't help you make a living in the
real world.

In the "real" world that we live in most of the week,
if one man hits another then the police step in, arrest
the two, take them to jail, then court and more than
likely some Judge will tell them "Anger Management"
classes are in order. Too bad that our tracks don't
have anger management classes for our drivers and instead
of using fists, they might just use that thing in the
round thing on their shoulders like God intended it
to be used.

Jane Smith

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