NASCAR drivers need to quit acting like babies
Published 8:37 am Friday, June 27, 2003
It's time that NASCAR drivers take their "gentleman's agreement" and toss it out the proverbial window.
Enough already of the whining and crying about Robby Gordon, who I am not a big fan of, passing teammate Kevin Harvick as the two raced back to the yellow flag.
For years NASCAR's drivers have had an unwritten rule that you do not pass anyone who is on the lead lap once a yellow flag is shown.
Official NASCAR rules say that drivers are "allowed" to race back to the yellow flag.
Those drivers who are a lap or more down, under the same unwritten rule, may pass and get their lap back if the leading driver allows them to.
The reason Robby Gordon, Jeff Gordon and Harvick are there is to win races. Who cares about "gentleman's agreements?" If NASCAR says you can race back to the flagstand under a yellow, then you race back to the flagstand.
Enough of the crying.
Harvick was sitting next to Robby Gordon when Gordon asked NASCAR officials three times to clarify the rule. Apparently Harvick, like many of the other drivers in the meeting apparently wasn't paying any attention.
He counted on the "gentleman's agreement" to take care of keeping out front.
Jeff Gordon also was shooting his mouth off Sunday following the race. Of course he and Robby Gordon have a history of getting into scuffles so I expected that.
What Jeff Gordon really needs to understand is that he really doesn't have any part of this. This is among teammates. Stay out of it. Just because you are Jeff Gordon, a four-time Winston Cup Champion, doesn't mean we have to know your opinion about everything.
The reality of the situation is that Robby Gordon had one of the best race cars all weekend long. He is an experienced road racer who has performed well in this race before.
He may have passed Harvick on the track after the green flag waved again and he more than likely would have gone on to win the race.
Had Harvick finished a close second to Robby Gordon instead of third, his criticism and his words may have carried more weight.
In a story on NASCAR.com Harvick is quoted as saying "There's an unspoken code we all follow as race car drivers. You race hard under green, but you also have a mutual respect for each other. Robby didn't show that respect."
That's rich coming from a man who was suspended by NASCAR officials for one race because of his blatant disrespect of his fellow competitors two years ago.
Harvick also said that Robby should have not said anything about Jeff Gordon's comments.
Again, this coming from a man who has plenty to say about his fellow drivers when he feels he has been wronged.
It's time for Harvick, and for that matter, most of the drivers in NASCAR, to grow up a little. Every time they get bumped or someone beats them they stomp around and scream like little children.
Harvick's real colors came shining through in his final comments to NASCAR.com.
So I guess the reality of it is that Harvick and Gordon don't get along.
Richard Childress needs to step in here and tell them both to shut up. He needs to tell them that it's about racing and winning. He needs to tell them that if they so much as rub on the track anytime soon they will be out of a job.
It has become extremely hard to win week in and week out because NASCAR has become so competitive.
To expect drivers to sit back and ride around in single file when NASCAR officials tell them they can race back to the flag is ridiculous.
Perhaps a little maturity is needed here.
Scott Novak is sports editor of the Dowagiac Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org