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Woody: Pardon The Excitement

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, June 22 2010

Things got kind of crowded in the corners at Infineon Raceway on Sunday. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)

As the dust and car parts settled over Sunday’s race at Infineon Raceway, it seemed like everybody was apologizing.

Jeff Gordon apologized for roughing up the competition.

Marcus Ambrose apologized for blowing his first career victory with a bone-headed mistake.

Jimmie Johnson apologized – well, sort of – for lucking into yet another victory.

About the only folks who didn’t apologize were the one who probably should have – the NASCAR officials who made the picky call that cost Abrose the race. Then again, the affable Aussie shouldn’t have been fiddling with his on-and-off switch at a critical time like that anyway. He and his team are to blame for putting themselves in a position to let an official’s judgment call cost them the biggest race of his career.

Memo to Marcus: From now on when you’re leading a race in the final laps, don’t turn your dang motor off.

But back to the apologies: Even Jim Pedley, founder of  RacinToday.com and my long-time press box accomplice, fretted about the rough racing.

Memo to Jimbo: When the announcer says “Gentlemen, start your engines!” he doesn’t really mean it. The “gentleman” part, I mean.

We’ve had too many gentlemen in the sport for too long. We need fewer gentlemen and more racers.

Yeah, Jeff Gordon knocked the living daylights out of a lot of people. Good for Jeff.

I’m always intrigued when a slow driver complains because he gets rammed by a fast driver. Hey, if you don’t want to get rammed, then get going or get out of the way.

I went back and checked my high school physics book and sure enough: if two objects are traveling at the same rate of speed it’s impossible for them to collide. So the way for a slower-moving object (Martin Truex) to avoid a collision with a faster-moving object (Jeff Gordon) is to get out the faster object’s path.

Frankly, I found all the road rage entertaining. Usually road-course races are about as interesting as a documentary on lug nuts, but not last Sunday. There was contact in every turn, action in every bend, pileups and spinouts and wipeouts.

NASCAR came to Sonoma for a wine-tasting and a stock car race broke out.

I liked the beating, loved the banging. Yeah, it got a little rough out there at times. So what? NASCAR racing is supposed to be rough and tough. Those weren’t loads of illegal Perrier that those ol’ boys used to haul down moonlit backroads back in The Day.

If the action’s too scary for some fans, let ‘em sleep with the light on. I for one am delighted to see the sport drifting back toward its rowdy roots.

As Dale Earnhardt once said after somebody complained about their dented fenders and bruised feelings, this ain’t tennis.

No apology necessary.

– Larry Woody can be reached lwoody@racintoday.com

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, June 22 2010
4 Comments

4 Comments »

  • James Mack says:

    Hey, Richard,

    You left out teen pregnancy, worldwide hunger and the mange.

    • Richard in N.C. says:

      James, I don’t believe I’d heard of the “mange” since my hairline disappeared.

  • Richard in N.C. says:

    Yes, of course the brain fade by Ambrose and his crew chief is all NASCAR’s fault – and of course NASCAR is also responsible for global warming, this past winter’s heavy snowfall, the Gulf oil spill, receding hair lines, and colesterol.

  • Steve says:

    If Gordon didn’t dive bomb Truex in the corner, your defense of Gordon might hold water. You’re saying that if Truex wasn’t fast enough, to get out of the way, but you also need to slow down for the corners and not purposely punt someone because you can’t pass them clean. If you think knocking someone out of the way because you can’t pass them is racing, then you must be some beat writer who doesn’t have any knowledge of the sport of racing.