At a point in everyone’s life, they develop thick skin. One that is stronger than armor, but it can still flex to embrace the impact of anything. It’s basically a SAFER barrier for your self-esteem.
Ironically, who needs a metaphorical SAFER barrier the most is the sport that helped create that technology. That’s right, I said it: NASCAR needs to toughen up. The recent fine given to Denny Hamlin is a prime example of why.
If you haven’t heard the story, Hamlin made comments after the race at Phoenix that compared the Gen6 car to the last model NASCAR put out. Wednesday, NASCAR handed down a $25,000 fine because of said comments.
The twist? Hamlin is refusing to pay the fine and is planning to appeal.
First off: I stand with Denny 100%; someone has to stand up to The Man. There’s no reason his comments should’ve been seen as offensive. He was simply reiterating what everyone already knows, that this car has a long way to becoming flawless.
Him refusing to pay the fine just makes me happy. I, for one, love the personalities in the sport. I love it even more when NASCAR lets the drivers shine all by themselves. Social media and little segments on ESPN and SPEED make my heart radiate with warmth. I feel closer when I know those drivers are actually just like me.
And if I had been Denny, I would’ve challenged it, too. So go get ’em, tiger.
Secondly: NASCAR, what is your deal? I get that you’re doing “damage control” of some sorts, but this is just ridiculous.
The sport needs to man up and admit what we know: this car isn’t even close to being perfect. Just say it! No reason to be critical and start whining when a driver says it for you.
Who else remembers the Boys Have At It era a few years ago, when NASCAR encouraged the drivers to show their emotions in whatever way? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this season is a complete 180 from then. It’s natural for things to mature and change, but NASCAR’s growing in the wrong direction. Now it’s pulling drivers into their offices to discuss comments in interviews, slapping drivers on the wrists for tweets . . . Really?
I’m blatantly disgusted by the fine, and I’m genuinely proud of Hamlin.
I also love this sport more than anything in the world.
But I can’t commend it when all they’re doing is setting themselves up for disaster. Soon, drivers will be gun-shy and refuse interviews. That’s when the fans are really at a loss.
This sport can’t survive without the fans, and they’re already turning against the big shots.
So, NASCAR, you have two options.
Either toughen up and get over it, or lose the most dedicated league of fans you’re lucky to even have.