Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth have smoothed things over after their helmet-throwing dustup.
Not to worry. In NASCAR, the next tantrum is usually just around the turn.
Emotions certainly will be running high tonight at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., for the next-to-last race before the Chase for the championship begins. Several top drivers – including Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon – are battling just to get into the playoff, so they’ll be on edge during the AdvoCare 500, knowing any major incident could ruin their hopes.
“If you’ve been in racing long enough, you’re going to have some type of disagreement with pretty much everybody you’re competitive with on the track,” Kenseth said. “Some of that stuff is natural.”
Stewart wasn’t fined for tossing his helmet at Kenseth after a crash at Bristol last weekend. The governing body has come around to the idea of letting drivers show their emotions and try to work out problems among themselves.
While NASCAR frowns on fisticuffs, it’s impossible to keep tempers from flaring in a sport where the competitors put their lives on the line every time they get behind the wheel.
And, seriously, why would they want to rein in those emotions?
To plenty of fans, that’s what they love about the sport.
“Why does everybody like reality TV?” five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson asked rhetorically. “It’s kind of in the same vein. People like watching train wrecks. People like watching controversy. Whatever that is, we’re all intrigued. We love to be a voyeur and check it out. Most of us don’t like being in that situation, but it sure is fun to watch.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. used a late push from runner-up Brad Keselowski to pass Kevin Harvick and win the Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Seattle’s Tayler Malsam finished 18th, and Enumclaw’s Kasey Kahne finished 28th after crashing.
POWER STEPS UP
Australian Will Power captured the pole in the Grand Prix of Baltimore, a feat that earned him another point in his bid to clinch his first IndyCar Series championship this weekend. Power leads Ryan Hunter-Reay by 37 points entering today’s race.
BUTTON HOOKS POLE
British driver Jenson Button will start today’s Belgian Grand Prix in the pole position after finishing fastest in Saturday’s qualifying in Spa, Belgium. It is his first pole this season, eighth of his career and first for McLaren.