NASCAR Needs To Put The Boots To Post-Race Antics

CHARLOTTE, NC (April 29, 2013) – There was plenty of action this weekend at Richmond International Raceway – most of it coming after the checkered flag – as the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide divisions invaded the historic three-quarter mile Virginia oval.

In what surely will become a YouTube and racing follies video clip for the ages, Nelson Piquet, Jr. punctuated Friday’s Nationwide post-race dust up by kicking Brian Scott in the groin.

Meanwhile, Saturday’s face off featured Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart – seemingly a regular in these weekly pit road/garage dramas – after the conclusion of the Richmond Cup race.

While the incidents were dissimilar in that one featured physical contact and the other was verbal, they did have one thing in common – they both featured on-track combat after the checkered flag had been unfurled.

In what evidently comes under the heading of NASCAR’s ‘boys have at it’ philosophy, it has become commonplace for driver’s to show their displeasure after the conclusion of the event by running into/wrecking each other. As long as it is still on the track – and not on pit road – NASCAR seems to have turned a blind eye to this kind of behavior.

Two questions come up here. One is how is this any different than wrecking someone under caution – an action that NASCAR does not take lightly regularly handing out suspensions, probations and point penalties?

The other is why doesn’t NASCAR penalize this kind of behavior?

Maybe it’s because it leads to good theater. No doubt there was a ratings spike after Piquet, Jr. put the boots to Scott’s ‘man region.’ Meanwhile, Busch-Stewart verbal tussle in the garage area also makes for good press and lively debate heading into the next race.

In the end, however, it’s just not good for racing.

Not only does wrecking – or ‘dirtying up’ – somebody’s racecar on the cool down lap create an unwanted element of danger, but it punishes the crewmembers who put countless hours into building these vehicles. It also adds an element of cost which for a lot of teams is significant considering their already strapped budgets.

Intentionally driving into someone else’s race vehicle after the race is completed should not be overlooked or go unpunished. And while we’re not looking to add yet another layer of penalties, it’s time for NASCAR to put a stop to this kind of behavior before someone gets seriously injured.

Bottom line – if you run into someone, or wreck them after the race, there needs to be consequences. Considering NASCAR imposes giant fines, suspensions and point penalties over a couple of grams of metal, you’d think this would be an easy no-brainer call for them too.

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