“Boys Have At It” Revisited?

Image: Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards

(photo courtesy Joe Sabo/AP)

NASCAR officials plan to re-evaluate its “boys have at it” policy going into the 2012 season and could strengthen its stance against drivers retaliating on the track. NASCAR loosened the reins on drivers in 2010, allowing them to police themselves on the track and retaliate when they believed another driver had intentionally wrecked them. The incidents intensified in 2011, and NASCAR officials acknowledged that things might have gotten out of hand near the end of the season.

“We reflect on that at the end of the year and the season hasn’t started yet, but there are some things that a group of us will sit down and talk about, and that is one of them,” NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said Thursday. “There were times that it got out of hand, and we’re going to discuss what out of hand really is moving forward.”

Pemberton said he doesn’t believe the trend of retaliation in general got out of hand, although specific incidents may have crossed the line. Pemberton, who coined the phrase “boys have at it” in 2010, believes NASCAR’s original position of allowing drivers to police themselves still works. “It’s working pretty well. It goes in stages,” he said. “It works pretty well, then somebody gets outside the box and everybody gets the message and it goes back to working pretty well. But we can’t take all of that for granted.”

It is the opinion of WOMR that the idea of “boys have at it” has, for the most part worked very well.  But as human beings will do from time to time, some of these drivers have taken the “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” a little too vigorously!  Witness the now infamous incident with ol Kylie Busch and Ron Hornaday at Texas.  That is obviously a time when the driver went over the line!

If we recall the two Carl Edwards and “Blazingly Bad” Brad Keselowski at Atlanta and Gateway, likewise, those two incidents were over the line.  Nevertheless, NASCAR did not summarily park Carl for his intentional crashing of “Bad Brad” at either race track. How about Brian Vickers deliberately sticking Tony Stewart into the tires at Infineon Raceway?  Do you remember Vickers, again, pushing Matt Kenseth down the back straight at Phoenix and parking him into the retaining wall in turn #3?

Then the question begs to be asked, why were those incidents any different from ol Kylie’s sticking ‘s nose first into the wall?  NASCAR never addressed that issue in its dealings of Edwards’ multiple indiscretions, nor did they ever address Vickers’ inability to find his own brake pedal on more than one occasion!

Once again it is the opinion of WOMR that NASCAR, in fact, really does need to revisit the policy of “boys have at it”.  However, NASCAR’s main focus really ought to be on their ability to make accurate, uniform, and fair judgmental decisions across the board!  It is very obvious when a driver crosses the line.  That is when NASCAR should take the matter in their hands and adjudicate the matter appropriately.

If there is any problem with the philosophy of “boys have at it”, it is in the lack of uniformity that NASCAR has in their policing of the “crossing the line” of the aforementioned policy.  Maybe Robin Pemberton and Mike Helton need to have an “internal investigation” to see what part they may have played in the elevation of the driver retaliation.  Obviously, it is WOMR’s opinion that NASCAR’s inability to uniformly and equally apply the rules to all the drivers equally, that may have allowed the gray area to develop, consequently, inviting the drivers to cross the line of civility!

What are your views?



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