* Since this blog was first posted, NASCAR has fined Marcos Ambrose $25,000 and Casey Mears $15,000 and placed both drivers on probation until May 28, 2014.
Anybody who was watching Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, or really any other racing fan, for that matter, has probably heard about the “punch” — a punch thrown by Marcos Ambrose that connected with Casey Mears’ face after the race. I’m assuming NASCAR will make some kind of penalty announcement Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning regarding an expected penalty, at least for Ambrose.
I’m assuming this goes behond “Boys have at it.” “Boys have at it” is the nickname of a stand NASCAR took not so many years ago, proclaiming that the sanctioning body would step back a little and let drivers settle their own issues with each other. But I’m guessing that’s limited to minor on-track retaliation, not a punch being thrown in the garage.
Anyway, the hoopla surrounding this most recent incident has made me think back to the 1979 incident at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway between Cale Yarborough and the Allison brothers — Donnie and Bobby. No, I don’t remember seeing the incident live, as I had recently turned three. But I’ve seen a lot of replays and mentions of it in the last 10 to 20 years.
In case you haven’t done the math, the incident of which Bobby Allison now always seems to tell it that Yarborough “hit his fist with his nose” came 35 years ago. And that incident has been re-enacted recently for a TV commercial.
With this Ambrose-Mears incident be such a big part of NASCAR lore 35 years from now? I’m guessing, no. Here’s why:
With social media, expanded TV coverage, etc., fans are witness to much more these days. In contrast, that whole Allison-Yarborough thing came at the end of the first-ever Daytona 500 to receive live flag-to-flag TV coverage. Many people who saw that incident unfold were watching their first NASCAR race. They didn’t really know what to expect.
I’m hoping, 35 years from now, we’ll be able to see a retired Ambrose and a retired Mears reflecting back to the good ‘ol days while Ambrose makes some assertion that Mears hit his fist with his face. And maybe there will be some kind of re-enactment by the older drivers for a commercial or some other promotion to sell tickets at RIR. One could only hope.
I’m hoping we can look back and laugh at this incident 35 years from now, but sadly, I’m guessing that, unlike Allison-Yarborough, Ambrose-Mears will likely be forgotten.
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