Boys will have at it while NASCAR kindly turns a blind eye. It’s the way most drivers choose to have it and it’s nothing new. These invisible police cars have been circling oval tracks since it’s beginning.
Fans will scream that it has no business on any racing surface while others claim that it’s part of the sport. However, both sides have absolutely no choice but to agree they are at the very least entertained by it.
If a driver is wrecked, each time his damaged car is passed by the incident initiator your eyes will be watching to see if payback is applied.
‘Boys have at it’ is a term used to describe payback or a form of police on the racing surface. If a driver feels he was recklessly raced or flat taken out by a fellow competitor you can expect ruthless payback and a meeting with the wall at an upcoming event or as we saw last Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway just a few laps after the initial incident.
As a frequent Bristol Motor Speedway spectator the erupting crowd is undoubtedly enthused when a driver is spun on the cool down laps, after the race has already ended or when a helmet is thrown on pit road. The winner of the race is likely to be forgotten but most will remember the payback.
Carl Edwards spinning Kyle Busch just after crossing the finish line. Buckshot Jones patiently waiting at the end of pit road for a driver to slowly come back around, while the field cruised around under caution. These are moments that make the highlight reels for a lifetime.
Sometimes, the excitement will ensue outside of the race car, take Kevin Harvick jumping over a car in victory lane to get to Greg Biffle as an example. In each of these cases the crowd rose to their feet, mouth open and vocals blazing to watch the headlines form in front of their own eyes. The fans are entertained weither they want to admit it or not and NASCAR is a sport in the entertainment business.
I’m not saying I enjoy crashes because I do not. However, I am certainly interested in viewing ‘boys have at it’ from a fans perspective. This form of payback is not limited to the world of NASCAR, a quick browse of YouTube will show highlights of payback in almost any governed sport.
Sometimes it goes too far and people get hurt such as NHL player Steve Moore who in 2004 suffered a life threatening head injury while playing for the Colorado Avalanche. Moore was slammed to the ice head first in a retaliation to an earlier event and then piled on by many, however until that point everyone’s eyes were watching to see what was coming.
Smarts still need to be applied, drivers must think about what could go wrong. If ‘boys have at it’ is necessary for our sport, which most drivers feel it is then it needs to be done in slower corners and tracks on the tour. Tracks where speeds are slower and the chance of a serious incident are greatly decreased.
Disaster comes much faster at 200mph. While it’s racing and we will always have an opportunity for the worst to arise, so does every other sport from baseball to boxing. Things in our sport have become much safer in recent years.
Unlike Formula One where helmets are exposed and wings dont line up with wings. NASCAR bumpers line up perfectly and every new safety device and technology has been applied to the racing machines. You can never have a perfectly safe sport at our speeds, at the same time it’s the drivers lives at stake and if this is the way they want it, who are we to tell them otherwise?
As a fan simply ask yourself, are we not entertained?
Written By: Shane Walters
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