Nascar Weekly News and Notes – 5/30/08

Nascar Weekly News and Notes
by Virginia Vroom of

So if you watched the Coca-Cola 600, you probably heard some of the news from the Nationwide race the night prior. The story that I want to talk about is the confrontation between Jr., Hamlin, and Keselowski. Keselowski was driving a Nationwide car for Jr. Motorsports last weekend when he got into an altercation with Denny Hamlin. Keselowski got loose and came up into Hamlin’s fenders. On a caution, Hamlin retaliated by coming up the track and smacking the side of Brad’s car. All the while, Jr. was lurking behind the two and did not like what Denny Hamlin did to his driver, Brad, so Jr. took it upon himself to bump Hamlin’s car and let him know that he needed to calm himself down.

So here’s the thing that I don’t get. Denny Hamlin got out of his car at the end of the race and whined, and I mean WHINED, about how Keselowski needs more experience and shouldn’t be driving the way that he was driving. Okay. So I get it. Nationwide drivers should not be driving that way around Cup drivers, right? Wrong. In fact, Hamlin needs a lesson in etiquette. He entered the Nationwide race. He is the one coming into the series below his regular schedule to race against guys who are learning. I guess Hamlin didn’t get the memo that these Nationwide regulars are in this series instead of the Cup series for a reason.

Regardless, I think that Denny Hamlin has some issues. He acts like he’s untouchable, almost the same attitude that Tony Stewart had a few years ago. The lesson that Hamlin needs to learn is that when racing in Nationwide, the drivers race differently, they are learning, and YOU are driving in THEIR territory. For Hamlin to say anything to Brad about his experience was utterly ridiculous in my opinion. In fact, Brad actually did very little, if anything, wrong. What I don’t get is how Hamlin can retaliate and actually use that word in an interview and get away without so much as a blemish to his record. How does that work? Seriously, these NASCAR officials hold huge double standards when it comes to Nationwide drivers as opposed to Cup drivers.

One of the biggest debates that is never talked about is how these Cup drivers use the Nationwide series as a practice ground for their Cup teams. They come into these races on and off when it is convenient to them and decide that everyone has to play by their rules, even guys like Keselowski who are in the series for a valid reason.

Jr.’s team actually was fined and penalized further for Jr. tapping the back of Hamlin’s car, which, again, is an asinine response to the incident. Someone hit one of Jr.’s cars out of pure retaliation and Jr. simply let Hamlin know that it wasn’t acceptable. Nice work, officials, nice work.

The Nationwide series is the series below Cup for a reason. These guys
bump and bang more than Cup guys because they are learning. They are gaining
the experience that they need to move onto the series above them, the Cup
series, that maybe Denny Hamlin just needs to stick to. I am so sick of
hearing the Cup guys complain every weekend after a Nationwide race that
they lost or they got wrecked or they got damage because of the inexperience
of the Nationwide guys.

Um, just for the record boys, you are racing in a
league below your standards and a league that you have already surpassed.
If you have issues then maybe you just need to keep yourself in those higher
series where the guys race like you want them to. There needs to be some
more consistency among officials as far as penalties and also some more
consistency as far as allowing Cup drivers to interfere with the careers
of those Nationwide regulars. It’s just not fair that these rookies are
getting blamed by the big boys when the big boys can’t take the heat. If
you can’t beat ’em, join ’em guys. Just stop the whining. It’s so unbecoming
of professional drivers.