Saturday night’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway was the first short track race since NASCAR’s implementation of its rule guarding against drivers getting out of their cars and putting themselves in dangerous situations during yellow flag periods. And I have to say, it didn’t dure didn’t make the racing vanilla. The temper tantrums Bristol, and short track racing in general, is known for were still a part of the Bristol entertainment on Saturday night.
Case in point — Denny Hamlin throwing his HANS device at the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick. I’m guessing it’s probably harder to get as much speed and distance with a HANS as say, a helmet, so I give Denny props on his toss and its accuracy. Besides, it wasn’t that new rule that prevented Hamlin from tossing his helment. I guess the HANS device was just his weapon of choice, or maybe convenience.
NASCAR didn’t have to come down on any drivers Saturday night for violation of its new rule, and fans were still treated to an equipment toss, as Hamlin was away from the on-track moving traffic and under the supervision of track safety personnel.
Then there was also the in-team spat between Kyle Busch and crew chief Dave Rogers that resulted in Rogers telling NASCAR’s least favorite driver to take his “whiny little a** to the bus.” Like Busch or not, you have to admit, that episode caught on radio was downright entertaining.
You know, I just realized that both the aforementioned incidents involved Joe Gibbs Racing drivers. Okay, I guess my blondeness can slow me down a little sometimes. No wonder team owner Joe Gibbs said afterward that he was used to the flared tempers often exhibited at Bristol.
Of course, even if the new rule did cut down on entertaining outbursts and temper-flared altercations, safety is the bottom line. Nobody in his/her right mind would want to see a repeat of the Canandaigua incident involving Tony Stewart and the late Kevin Ward Jr. that everyone who isn’t living under some kind of rock is aware of.
Still, it is nice to see that the competitive spirit, more specificially the tantrums it sometimes harbors, is alive and well.
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