In the wake of Brad Keselowski and William Byron: NASCAR rivalries are good for the sport but there’s a line
Years ago, rivalries boiling over into the pit area resulted in hefty fines and suspensions. The drivers were fined then the video clip lived on for years to come on the promotion wheel.
In 2019 alone, we’ve seen two incidents were on track actions resulted in a physical altercation. Each of these took place in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series division.
First, Daniel Suarez and Michael McDowell fought to the ground during qualifying. This was before NASCAR removed group qualifying. Suarez was upset that his hot lap was blocked by the slower car of McDowell.
More recently, Clint Bowyer went to punching on Ryan Newman while Newman remained in his car on the pit lane after the race. This was sparked as Newman retaliated on the cool down lap after the race.
Related: Clint Bowyer vs Ryan Newman (Video)
And even more recently, Brad Keselowski and William Byron. Keselowski thought he needed to send a message to drivers that threw blocks at superspeedway races. As Byron blocked in practice, Brad Keselowski turned him.
But that emotion isn’t limited to the NASCAR Cup Series. It goes all the way down the racing ladder.
The days of punishment for showing emotion outside of the race car are just about gone in the new era of NASCAR. However, that’s still not exactly what NASCAR wants to see…
Steve Phelps on NASCAR rivalries
“Yeah, the good news is that the rivalries are not of the physical nature,” NASCAR president Steve Phelps stated.
“If you look at Hailie Deegan dealing with her own teammate… It’s exciting to see drivers who want to win. And they’re going to do was necessary to win.”
“Some of the others things… With the fighting and the fist to cuffs — Not exactly what we would like to see. We’d like to see those thing play out on the race track.”
“If they happen, as they do sometimes, outside of the race car — We know things like that happen. They all want to win. They’re incredible competitive.”
“You know, tempers flair. And you’re going to have that. And that’s no different today than it was 5 years ago, 10 years ago.”
“Listen, we love the rivalries. I think it’s fantastic for the sport,” the recently named NASCAR president stated.