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NASCAR right with crew member suspension after Martinsville scuffle

MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA – OCTOBER 27: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, races during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 27, 2019 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

NASCAR was in the right when it suspended Dave Nichols Jr. from the No. 22 Team Penske team of Joey Logano after Sunday scuffle at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The confrontation between Logano and Denny Hamlin should have remained just that — a confrontation between the two drivers.

In case you missed the post-trace altercation at Martinsville and haven’t seen the video, Nichols pulled Hamlin to the ground after Logano and Hamlin engaged in a heated discussion, Logano shoved Hamlin and turned to walk away, and Logano’s crew chief Todd Gordon held Hamlin back.

No, I’m not against competitors hashing out their grievances post-race. I’m not against team members getting involved, as long as their involvement is in the form of pulling their drivers away from a situation that may turn physical. What I’m against is crew members joining in the physicality, especially if that includes a crew member getting physical with the opposing driver.

I understand Logano’s frustration with Hamlin. After all, Hamlin made contact with Logano that sent Logano into the wall and into a spin inside the final 50 laps of the 500 laps. I also understand Hamlin defending himself. I also recognize there’s an escalation of frustration between these two drivers because of previous incidents between them. Heck there even seems to be ongoing underlying disdain involving multiple drivers, both current and former, between the Joe Gibbs Racing driver stable and that at Team Penske — issues between drivers of the two camps that have gone on for years. Remember Brad Keselowski proclaiming that “Kyle Busch is an a**” during driver introductions at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway years ago? Then there was that whole Logano vs. Matt Kenseth thing that, ultimately, led to a Kenseth suspension more recently. There are numerous other examples I could list, but I won’t.

I see no issue whatsoever with what happened between Logano and Hamlin after the Martinsville race. My issue is pit crew involvement in the situation and previous similar incidents.

Pulling drivers away from each other in attempt to diffuse a situation is fine; actually, I think its a right and noble move. But crews shouldn’t escalate the situation into a pit-road crowd free-for-all. Sure, have your driver’s back, but have his back by protecting him by pulling him out of the situation, not by escalating said situation.

I don’t think having your driver’s back means grabbing another driver from behind and pulling him to the ground. That’s just my two cents.

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Posted by on October 29, 2019. Filed under Blog by Amanda Vincent,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.