16 JANUARY 2019 scca.com
defense of a corner, and they were
so far over it, it turned my stomach.
The volatile mixture includes a high
level of crash safety, blended well with
the fan interest drawn by dramatic
conflict, spiced hot with extreme
crash visuals, all boiled together
in a green stew of money soup.
The inspiration for this latest rant?
The finish of the 2018 NASCAR
racing season. Not the last race, but
the one at Martinsville, a qualifier
of sorts under the current NASCAR
“playoffs” structure. Please find the
You Tube video if you have not already.
You’ve seen in this column my hard-won definition that a clean pass starts
with getting into the peripheral vision
of the driver ahead, before they turn
for the corner. It’s about vision. Don’t
hit what you can see. You can see the
car you’re trying to pass, but once
turning, he cannot see you. Simple.
In this finish at Martinsville, Martin
Truex Jr. has worked on Joey Logano
for a good 10 laps, eventually utilizing
better mid-corner grip to get up next
to him and beat him to the lead. A
nice maneuver with barely a rub.
One short-track lap to go. As they
head into the last corner before the
It’s Thanksgiving Day and I’m almost a week past my deadline. Sorry,
Editor Royle. I was planning to write
about gratitude again, because
racing involves such a large tribe
of sports car enthusiasts, families,
friends, and companies to make it
possible. But I just can’t. I’m pissed.
No, really, I’m sick. Heartsick. It’s this
long trend toward on-track vehicular
aggression that’s just taken the wind
out of my sails lately, while way down
below, my internal boiler is steaming,
and angry pressure has built up.
There is a potent and toxic
combination of ingredients manifesting
on the world racing stage. At the highest
levels, pro racing officials have backed
down, and as a result, aggressive drivers
have risen. The blocking in Formula 1
comes to mind, taking out one’s own
teammate, crazy. Win at any cost. As
regular readers know, I have no respect
for that. There’s a line of reasonable
checker, they’re single file. No hole to
the inside, no dive bomb possible. It’s
as if the leader Truex Jr. is pulling a
yellow trailer. No way by. Well, except…
Logano needs a win to get into
the finals. So, he just straight shoves
Truex out of the way. Flat chrome-
horned him. No nose under, no
I-thought-I-was-in-there. Oh, no. Not
even close. Front bumper banged
to rear – a rude, low-brow boot to
the behind, with all the class of a
barroom brawl, but none of the blind
passion. This was a cold stab in the
back, in front of God and everybody.
“Sorry, Mr. Leader, gotta go, see ya.”
Truex earned that lead with a better
handling and driven car, and Logano
just stole it back in a full-on mugging.
Very similar but less coldly blatant was
the spin-to-win at the Daytona 500
this year, as was the sad justification
from the announcers at the time, and
from some commentators afterward.
“Well, the mugger wanted to win
really bad, and the only way to snatch
it back was to drive right around
the rules of sport and steal it.” Okay
not exactly those words, maybe, but
that’s just what it sounds like to me.
And the crews leap for joy and hug
PASS WITH HONOR
“ There’s a line of reasonable defense
of a corner, and they were so far
over it, it turned my stomach”
2-TIME RUNOFFS NATIONAL CHAMPION
3-TIME SOLO NATIONAL CHAMPION
4-TIME PROSOLO CHAMPION
4-TIME WORLD CHALLENGE CHAMPION
2-TIME ROLEX 24 GT WINNER
SCCA MEMBER SINCE 1980