|(Credit: NASCAR via Getty Images)|
I’m not promoting violence in any way, but it’s the truth. We’ve all gotten angry enough to scream, throw things, cry until there’s nothing left. Someone disrupted our comfort zone and made us flip out. It happens.
It happened Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway.
The scuffle between Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears was —and still is— a big deal. When was the last time someone landed a punch in the NASCAR garage? A while? That’s what I thought. This was a gift to the sport, the perfect situation to spark more interest.
This was a moment where human nature took over. Those turn out to be the most memorable. Of course, the authorities (AKA the sanctioning body) had to take action, which I’ll discuss later.
Actually, I’m discussing a whole lot of stuff this week in Five Questions. We’re at Talladega Superspeedway, for crying out loud. Qualifying, Michelin, Montoya and more! Let’s see who I can make angry this week. (Just don’t punch anything).
How will qualifying go? Talladega is the first restrictor plate stop since Daytona International Speedway, and this is more than just random information; this also means it will be the first knockout qualifying session on this type of track. What is to be expected of the rounds, then? I think it will be thrilling thing to watch, with some on-track incidents to spice things up. As unpredictable as the action can be, what we do know is that we’ll have a polesitter at the end of the sessions. You know, if there are any cars left.
Where has Darrell Wallace Jr. been? This weekend also marks Wallace’s return to the NASCAR Nationwide Series, his first start in a stockcar this season. Why hasn’t he been in the car for Joe Gibbs before Talladega? Oh, he’s been busy with being off from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. I know it’s up to sponsors and other factors out of my control, but let’s get real here: the youth movement is a real thing. Look at what Chase Elliott has accomplished; shouldn’t the sponsors be sucking up any opportunity to rival that success? Put Wallace in a car, and I guarantee he can drive the wheels off it.
Is the sport considering a switch to Michelin tires? A figurative bomb was dropped when news leaked that higher-ups in NASCAR met with Michelin. This comes after multiple issues with Goodyear and their product. Is there a real chance that teams could be racing on new tires come 2015? Yes; everything else has changed in the sport, why not the tires? If the issues persist, then something needs to change if it isn’t the set-ups.
What is Team Penske trying to accomplish by fielding Juan Pablo Montoya? Speaking of interesting news, how about Montoya running the June race at Michigan International Speedway and the Brickyard 400 in a few months? He will drive the No. 12 for Penske, a third car that has me scratching my head. What? Huh? I’m assuming that the team is attempting to require some data while simultaneously hoping to fulfill Montoya’s dream. Heck, maybe they’re trying to get his foot back into the stockcar door, who knows. It will be exciting to see the Colombian back, though.
Did NASCAR make a mistake by penalizing Ambrose and Mears? The fight occurred in the garage after the Cup race, and it wasn’t that intense; Mears shoved Ambrose, and the Aussie retaliated with a punch. NASCAR’s response was probation until the end of May and monetary punishment. The driver of the No. 13 owes $15,000, while $25,000 is tagged onto the No. 9’s wheelman. Are all the penalties a huge mistake? Yes and no. Look, the sport is going to use the footage to their advantage; it’s going to be embedded into every promo there is from here on out. If they’re going to do that, what’s the point of punishing them? However, I understand why they had to do it; they can’t “encourage” this sort of behavior, and the fines aren’t that hefty. Either way, the deed is done, the “rivalry” is no more, and it’s a new race week. Now, the question remains: when’s the next fight?