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NASCAR Show Is Reality Based... In The Popular Sense

It was Regan Smith’s slightly unfortunate fate to pull off something of a NASCAR miracle on the same night Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick imitated kids on a playground, which wasn’t a miracle at all.

Smith and the heretofore obscure Furniture Row Racing will have to content themselves with the $272,745 that winning the Showtime Southern 500 conveyed. This, of course, is small consolation since everyone in racing loves to say, at some point, that they’d do it for free.

Busch and Harvick got $25,000 fines from NASCAR, which might put you and me out of business but only presents the two multimillionaires with a variety of payment options. They could, for instance, float a loan from Michael McDowell, whose team earned $72,139 for finishing last in the aforementioned Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway.

And pay it back with interest!

All seriousness aside – hah, like that was an issue – the late and post-race incidents between Candy Man (Harvick’s term for Busch) and Bud Man (Harvick doesn’t mind) were great fun for the billions of people worldwide who weren’t standing nearby when Harvick tried to dive into Busch’s car and Busch understandably gassed his Toyota, which understandably wrecked Harvick’s Chevy because it was sitting unoccupied, out of gear, because it’s driver had just left it to attack Busch.

Wait a minute. Wasn’t that a “Simpsons” episode?

At the moment, the hills of NASCAR are alive with the sound of metal crunching and sparks flying. This sport has more warring factions than Libya. Juan Pablo Montoya, trying to behave with Ryan Newman, appeared to take it out on Jimmie Johnson. Busch and Harvick took up the slack at Darlington Raceway, which is really too old to have to put up with this. And NASCAR acted promptly to place the fresher miscreants on probation, which means almost the same thing in stock car racing that it did in “Animal House.” If a NASCAR driver violates probation, he doesn’t get sent back to the slammer. He gets more probation. It’s copied direct from the Faber College handbook.

The reason the punishment has to be mild is that it is inherently hypocritical.

This week, the “wreck, yell and pout” schtick will be replayed over and over. That’s because “wreck, yell and pout” sells tickets. The meetings must have been like Republicans and Democrats. Enforcement wants punishment. Marketing wants encouragement.

The only thing that could’ve made this spectacle better would have been NASCAR president Mike Helton emerging from the transporter wearing an aviator jacket, with Busch and Harvick on each side and a “Mission Accomplished” banner in the background. 

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