Cup Drivers Still Having At It
TALLADEGA, Ala. — The theme of the 2010 NASCAR season has been “Have at it, Boys” as NASCAR basically let the drivers settle some of their differences on the race track rather than have the sanctioning body officiate disputes. For the most part, the self-policing effort seems to have worked.
“I think it’s been fine,” owner/driver Tony Stewart said. “The good thing is that the drivers are always pretty good about policing things. The more corporate America was involved, and it’s not a bad thing, but I think NASCAR tried to protect everybody on that standpoint and I think we lost the balance in the equation. So this year I think what NASCAR has done has kind of put it back to where it should be.
“It’s never fun because you can get caught up in it. But you understand why it happens and it’s nice to know that you don’t have to rely on NASCAR to settle petty disputes. We can do it amongst ourselves and the good thing is NASCAR is there in case it doesn’t get resolved and it gets out of control and that’s the way it always was.”
In some ways, however, NASCAR is still in charge and the drivers fully realize that.
“I think perception is important,” Jeff Gordon said. “I don’t think it has really changed how us drivers have gone about it other than we’re not worried about a fine on Tuesday. I think when you are out there on the track; you are in the heat of the battle. You are going to make choices and decisions that sometimes aren’t going to always work in your favor and they are going to upset some other people. You deal with it as a race car driver on the race track. It is nice that you don’t have to deal with anyone else really stepping in unless the situation calls for that. So, I feel like it is a good policy for NASCAR to have.”
Kyle Busch believes the biggest problem is when it comes to settling a score with another driver, the drivers involved often lose track of the scorecard.
“Us drivers can do what we want to do all day long and wreck each other every weekend, but there is going to be a point in which NASCAR says, ‘All right idiots, figure it out. This is over with.’ It’s good to have that,” Busch said. “There is a balance there. I think you’re always going to feel like you’re always one behind. You’re always going to feel like the scorecard isn’t even. My brother (Kurt Busch) said it last weekend. He’s been wrecked by Jeff Gordon however many times and he’s done it back to him once and he still feels like the scorecard isn’t even. I’ve got that same thing with other drivers. I’ve been wrecked by them a few times and finally I get back at them and do something to them and then they want to come back and pay me back because they didn’t know the scorecard wasn’t even. We all need to sit down at the beginning of the year and figure out how many times everybody needs paid back. ‘Look, all right, I’m going to wreck you five times this year, so just plan on it.’”