It’s a Question of Perception

by June 24, 2012 0 comments

I was watching the NASCAR Nationwide race on Saturday and sending out a few tweets as has become my custom.  The race ended and I tweeted my congrats to Nelson Piquet Jr.  Then I tweeted that it was tough luck for Danica Patrick getting punted coming to the checkered flag like she had been but that it wasn’t intentional just a racing thing.  Now I had watched the replay from inside Jacques Villeneuve car as he bumped Danica and it was obvious that his rear wheels were chattering.  He hadn’t turned her on purpose it was just hard racing that brought on wheel hop.

Someone replied to my tweet.  They implied I was wrong, it had be on purpose and on top of that Jacques Villeneuve raced everyone dirty.  I’ve been watch NASCAR and Formula 1 for decades and I don’t ever remember anyone saying that Villeneuve raced dirty.  It made me question what I had seen, so I went to the DVR and watched it again in slow motion.  On the second look it became obvious that Danica had gotten by Max Papis, who she was racing for position and Max had tried to slam the door on Jacques as he followed Danica.  Max moved over and pushed Jacques into the grass so that when it came time to brake he was out of position, the car wasn’t quite stable yet and that helped to induced wheel hop.

So Max may have started the chain reaction, not surprising from someone with a nick name of “Mad Max”.  I have the utmost respect for all three drivers and I don’t think there was anything intentional on anyone’s part.  However this persons reaction to my tweet illustrates something we see all over the racing world.  When your favorite driver is involved it’s never their fault and always intentional on the other drivers part or if it’s a driver you don’t like it’s always their fault.

This doesn’t just apply to fans either, drivers are as guilty of it as anyone.  That’s how some big time rivalries and feuds get started.  Drivers in the major series have learned to hold their tongue until they see the replay but on a local level it’s not an option.  The other guy always turns you around on purpose or he knew you were inside and turned down to block.  It’s awfully hard to be convinced otherwise.  In most cases it wasn’t quite what your perceived it to be though.  The other driver made an error or had a mechanical failure or got pushed into you by someone else.  You don’t want to hear it, you are ready for some payback or a fight whichever comes first.

I think it would be in all our best interest to step back from things and take a second look if possible before we rush to judgement.  Your perception of what happened and what really happened may be quite different.   You will feel awfully foolish if someone pulls out a camera and schools you on the spot.  I think Danica did a great job at Road America, I saw her pull off some gutsy moves, it’s a shame hard racing between a couple of other cars ruined what was going to be a great finish for her.  That’s racing though, sometimes you get the short end of the stick and it’s really no ones fault.

Christopher Neal
Christopher is a happily married father of 3 very active boys. He is a full time law enforcement officer and part time web designer. Chris is currently the chief editor of as well as has personal blog

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