The commentary during regular season stock car racing sometimes rivals that of preseason NFL football. Other times it is somewhat inane but much more entertaining. Pictured above are two former NASCAR champions, Tony Stewart in the 14 and Matt Kenseth in the 17, battling for the race lead at Bristol last night. As you can see, it was not a rousing success, and the announcer’s laconic comment was “Well that didn’t work out for either one of them.” Indeed it did not.
The 17 car was able to continue and Tony resisted efforts by the officials to get him into the ambulance for a checkup, loitering with his helmet in hand. The officials did not press their case because; well, when Tony is in a mood you best just sort of leave him alone. We all knew he was waiting for the 17 to circle around and that he did not have any sort of friendly greeting in mind. Turns out Tony is a championship helmet thrower, he scored a direct hit on Matt’s hood ornament.
Danica Patrick actually did pretty well, not really racing anyone but just staying out of trouble and trying to finish the race, which was a reasonable objective for her. She did not, as the announcers kept saying, “stay on the lead lap for 430 laps.” She was a lap down after lap 50, and was the third car a lap down on lap 59. It took three caution periods for the “lucky dog” feature to put her back on the lead lap, and nine more cautions bunching up the field to keep her there. She went a lap down again about lap 390, but another caution and “lucky dog” pass put her back on the lead lap again.
She then ruined a reasonably favorable impression when she was interviewed after a crash that was actually not her fault. After saying that she had not seen the replay and did not know what had happened, she made snide remarks about being on a track where “some people play fair and other people don’t.” The guy who hit her was passing her for position, lost traction and slid up into her. It’s racing and happened to plenty of others. None of them whined about “playing fair.”
Contrast that with Tony Stewart’s remarks after he was wrecked earlier.
“In the future I’m going to run over him every chance I get,” he said of Matt Kenseth. Race car drivers don’t whine.