On a night that should have left all NASCAR fans feeling entertained and happy even, about a sport most of us love, it turned on a dime. That turn could have proven really ugly if not for security personnel at Bristol Motor Speedway.
NASCAR – Unruly Fans Rear Their Ugly Heads at Bristol
Kyle Busch certainly is a polarizing athlete. His fans are the most compassionate of any in NASCAR. Likewise for those who are not Kyle Busch fans. Busch was involved in a couple of on-track incidents, one involving the popular and past NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Champion, Martin Truex Jr., and emotions were running high at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was vintage short track racing.
NASCAR on a Roll
It was or should I say should have been, a high water mark on a NASCAR season which recently has seen a bit of a rebirth. At least on entertainment value. The past three races have pushed the needle in a positive direction. The race at Watkins Glen International followed by a less than stimulating race at Michigan. Then the old Bristol showed up, producing the kind of emotions from drivers and fans alike that made NASCAR as popular as it is.
“Too many vanilla personalities!” That is a common theme among many long-time NASCAR fans who love to wallow for the old days when the likes of Dale Earnhardt, Tony Stewart, and the Alabama Gang would provide enough colour to light up the NBC Peacock. In the most recent past, it does seem that a bit of that old time flair had been missing.
Enter Kyle Busch. No one could ever describe Kyle as vanilla. While many of us would wilt under the pressure of playing a villain, Busch almost seems to thrive on it. There are only a few people dumb enough to question his driving ability. Make no mistake about that, Kyle would be a great driver no matter the generation. He truly is a talent and his persona is greatly needed.
So after a tremendously entertaining race weekend, we get a visit from an unruly fan who thinks his right as a fan allows him to verbally and physically attack Kyle Busch. We’ve all witness these kinds of whack jobs at sporting events. I once saw a fan following Tony Stewart in the garage area screaming profanities at the top of his lungs. Oh yeah, did I mention the dozen of young fans who heard this barrage?
For cripes sake, these are grown adults who act like complete and utter jerks. Heck, they are breaking the gosh darn law. They are nothing short of criminals. For some ungodly reason, some fans think they have some sort of inherent right to behave like animals. Sad, Sad, Sad.
Sadly, this idiot is not alone. A friend tells the story about an elderly fan at Bristol Saturday night that was harassed and called vulgar names. All because she was a Kyle Busch fan. Sick, Sick, Sick.
I’ve seen these idiots and I’m guessing most of you have as well. But let’s be clear these idiots, and the other idiots like them are a huge minority in the fandom of NASCAR. Some of the best, nicest and loyal people I know I’ve met at race tracks.
Passionate? You bet!
Loyal to their drivers and teams? For sure!
Respectful? You better believe it!
NASCAR and most racing offers fans tremendous access to the drivers and teams. Heck, the garage areas and pits are often more crowded than the line for burgers and fries at noon on race day. Incidents like the one we saw at Bristol Saturday night could put that access in danger. Sadly, there is not much the majority can do about it.
To that fan who accosted Kyle Busch Saturday night, I hope he is barred from attending races in the future. Better yet, arrest him for disorderly conduct and assault. Same for that fan who saw fit to pick on an elderly lady all because of an M&M’s hat or a NOS shirt she was wearing. Are you freaking kidding me?
It’s insane that people behave like that. As someone who loves the sport and appreciates the access we have of its athletes and teams, I hope they go away. And stay there!
Thanks for reading. Listen to WTBQ radio on Monday and Friday mornings at 8:45 as I join Frank, Taylor and the Morning Show gang to discuss all the current happenings in NASCAR. 1110AM 93.5FM or online at WTBQ.COM. You can also follow me on twitter @JimLaplante
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