“And there’s a fight in the infield between Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough…”
[media-credit name=”David Yeazell” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]It’s been over thirty years since that historic day in Daytona Beach, Florida, and seemingly since then NASCAR has been attempting to recapture that entertaining magic of the 1979 Daytona 500. The larger the sport grew, the more blasé it became to long time fans, eventually culminating with NASCAR’s 2010 proclamation of the “Have At It” philosophy.
Ardent purist racing fans applauded, happy that drivers would finally have the chance to once again settle their problems on the track. Excitement grew with the knowledge that their favorite driver will once again be able to carry their emotions on their sleeve for all to see.
Now, a little over a year after NASCAR’s announcement, we as the followers of the sport have to step back and question if the spirit of this statement is being followed.
In the past year we have had a driver feud escalate to point of sending a car careening into the catch fence at 180 miles per hour. Those same drivers were involved in an altercation in which one was spun, driver’s side, directly into the path of the entire field merely out of spite and the thirst for victory. Tonight, we had one driver purposefully send a driver-less car down a pit road full of people.
Entertaining? Perhaps. But there comes a point when enough is enough. NASCAR’s attitude on enforcing this policy is eerily similar to their stance on driver safety fifteen years ago. The thought that “As long as the product is entertaining, why should we intervene?” seems to be the driving force behind what exactly is too much emotion.
Eventually, if this continues, someone will be injured. It could be another driver, a team member or even a fan. Is that small injection of entertainment truly worth that price?
By all means, let the drivers show their emotions both on and off the track. Let them duke it out at 170 miles per hour or out back behind the haulers. There needs to be limits, however, to make sure events like tonight do not have a more tragic result.
So please, for the sake of the sport, and all of those in it, let the boys “Have At It”… just not at the risk to others safety.