What a weekend in racing! We had NHRA in Indy, F1 at Monza, IndyCar at Watkins Glen, Xfinity and Cup at Darlington; yet all overshadowed by the events of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finish in Canada. A few have asked my thoughts on it, surprisingly… I am 180 degrees from most opinions on it.
Quick refresh, coming to the checkers Nemechek took three swipes at Custer before turning into him and riding him into the wall and under the flagstand to win. Exciting and controversial finish. Exactly what we like, right? Apparently not! Who wants something to talk about anyway?
Let’s just start by saying that anyone who has ever played a racing video game has done the exact same thing. Don’t get high and mighty here, to us at home it is the same thing. It didn’t take any money out of our pocket and it gave us an ending worth talking about. Is it really shocking that a young man who probably has raced a ton online made that move? A few years back Carl Edwards even tried a similar move by driving way too deep into a corner and hoping his momentum and speed would get him the pass for the win even if it meant slamming the wall.
Picture yourself in Nemechek’s shoes, just for a moment. He has a win in the series already which puts him in the Chase. He drives for his family team, he doesn’t have a sponsor, so every race he needs to get every inch he can. Not just to impress sponsors but for the prize money. Any team operating on a small budget and going into the Chase needs every penny. Does it make it right? No. However, it is something to think about.
Cole Custer drives for JR Motorsports. How many are fans of Custer because of Junior? I’d guess a large portion. He doesn’t have all the worries of a small team, he does have sponsors he has to answer to and they got a lot of play this weekend because of the incident, more than if he had won without any of the controversial events.
Think about the biggest finishes, the ones we treasure the most. 1979 Daytona 500 Yarborough/Allison. 2003 Darlington Craven/Busch. Bristol with Labonte/Earnhardt, twice. These are defining moments in NASCAR history. Two that looked similar to the Nemechek and Custer finish and one where Dale Earnhardt Sr. flat out wrecked Labonte after he “just rattled his cage.” So let me ask you this, what is the difference?
Nemechek did no wrong in the eyes of NASCAR, Brian Framce has stated that this is a full contact sport. NASCAR gave them fenders, go use them up. NASCAR said, “Boys have at it.” Go fight nice. We haven’t seen a driver sent to the back of the field in years for rough driving, so what’s the deterrent?
What we have is two young men fighting it out for a WIN! We should be excited that we can possibly look forward to years of a great rivalry. Imagine when these guys get to Cup with the other young talent. It will be a class of drivers not seen since the early 80’s.
Now, I understand that many call it dirty racing, it may be. Yet, don’t play this out in public. Let these guys work it out. Custer already tackled John Hunter after the race, will it end there? Likely not! Let them deal with it, either Custer will turn him and they will call it even or Nemechek will go right back after him and build the rivalry and keep it moving forward. That is up to them. As for us the fans, just watch and wait and enjoy.
I don’t know either of these guys and I’m not here to judge them, I have no dog in the fight. What I did see is a young man who wanted this win, who would do anything for the win. As Dale Earnhardt, Sr. said, “It pays more to win.”
Thats just my opinion. Feel free to debate and enjoy! Find me on Twitter: @couchcrewchief and let’s talk. Til next time, see you in the box.