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 Columns & Editorials

May 9, 2000


The cars are roaring out of turn two, four drivers are battling hard for the lead, the points are so close that however they finish tonight is the way the will stand come Monday morning. As the second place car makes a move to take the lead the car in front drops low to protect his spot. In an attempt to miss him the second place car goes high, as he does he taps the third place car and both cars go spinning into the infield taking them both out of the hunt for the coveted win.

As the leader goes across the line for the checkers the two other drivers climb out of their steaming cars and proceed to turn the highly contested race into a "Hockey Brawl." Sound familiar? This an occurrence that happens at race tracks all over the country. Men taking what should have been a competitive race and turning it into a fight.

Why? I mean it was only a race right? They are only cars with numbers painted on them right? WRONG! These men and women are competitors as were the Roman Gladiators out to have fun yes, but it's deeper then that, it's a burning desire that most of us have from an early age. Its the old ABC adage "The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat."

When you're that close to being at the top of your game and its right there within your grasp and suddenly in the blink of an eye it's gone as you're spinning into the turn two wall. You see months of preparation, sleepless nights, too many dollars to think about and just blood, sweat and tears going up in a cloud of smoke. Emotions are what cause most of these fights, the pure adrenaline flowing through each and every one of us. It makes even the most calm person lose their temper.

When its over most of people wish it had never happened, wish they had used their head instead of their hands to settle the dispute. But it happened anyway and several thousand people witnessed it. Did it cause a detriment to the sport? Will it make people stop coming to the races because two people lost their heads in the heat of the moment?

No....I have witnessed many of these events on and off the race track. When it happens you can hear the roar of the fans standing up on their feet cheering the battling duo on until officials can break them up. Then it is the talk of the track for weeks to come and its the anticipated return of both drivers to the track to see if they will do battle again. And they will, but most of the time it's on the track as they don't want to miss those weeks of racing because it's in their blood.

Most of us have seen the replays of the Allison-Yarborough fight at Daytona and it was broadcast live too. Now I ask you, did this hurt NASCAR? HELL NO!!! Look where they are today, a billion dollar businesses. It's competitive nature when something like that happens with the big boys, it just proves we all put our fire suits on the same way. Is suspensions and fines the way to handle these fights? Well, it really depends on the situation, if it's an out and out fisticuffs that is totally uncalled for, then yes they should be given some time off to cool their jets. But when its just a racing deal then handle it that way, on the TRACK!

Give them the option to go out there and run a 5 lap grudge race winner wins the argument, 9 times out of ten they will jump for it! What it all boils down to is its human nature, competition makes things happen that make people loose control, its an emotion that is very hard to control and all of yelling and screaming, fines and suspensions will never ever make it go away. It's what will happen when different people from different places are brought together to compete, but also you can count on the same two combatants to be in the pits on a Saturday night lending one an axle so he can make the feature that night and forgetting about what had occurred earlier because it happened "in the Heat of the Moment"

........Rick Anges

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