Some NASCAR fans in garage/pits in desperate need of etiquette lesson
There was all kinds of news coming out of the Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway race weekend that culminated in Sunday’s running of the Food City 500 race weekend — Carl Edwards claimed his first win of the season, snapping a Kyle Busch winning streak, and speaking of Busch, he failed to win a race all weekend. Busch was part of what has seemed to become the biggest story coming out of the Bristol weekend, but it’s not for anything that happened on-track. Instead, the big story is one of a woman who got clipped by Busch’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota as it headed to the garage. In case you haven’t heard about it or seen the footage, recounts and video are floating around all over the Internet.
In the days since, the incident has incited conversation on the topic of folks in the infield at NASCAR races. Has NASCAR become to accessible? Maybe so.
NASCAR has been applauded for years for its fan accessibility. Fans have more access to drivers and other competitors than fans of other sports. Knowing the right people or being willing to pay the financial price gives fans opportunities to gain a closeness to the action unheard of in other professional sports, or even in lower levels of other sports, for that matter.
But has NASCAR become too accessible? Are there too many fans in competitors’ working areas? Maybe so, but I’m not so sure. I’m more inclined to chalk this up to someone in the garage not being as alert or paying as much attention to her surroundings as she should’ve been.
Maybe the answer to what happened Saturday isn’t a decrease of people with garage access; maybe the answer is education. Perhaps those in the garage need to learn better how to be more alert and aware of their surroundings. And while we’re at it, an education on giving team members, including drivers, space to do their jobs also is sorely needed.
I think many fans in the garage have the tendency to be too intrusive around competitors, i.e. mechanics, etc., trying to do their jobs to get their cars prepped. Remember, you may or may not be on vacation; either way, you’re there for a good time. Team members, though, aren’t on vacation. They’re there to do their jobs. Show them the courtesy of allowing them to do their jobs to the best of their abilities with little, and better yet no, distraction. After all, wouldn’t that make for a better show, i.e. race, and isn’t that what we all want?
Here’s an idea: See your favorite driver in a meeting with team members, seeming to discuss race set-ups, etc., give them space. Wait a few minutes until said driver seems to be “available.” Is that too much to ask?
Long story short, I think fan etiquette lessons are in order. How these lessons should be doled out, I don’t know, but they’re definitely needed by some fans — not all, by any means, but definitely some.