During the Camping World Truck Series race at Rockingham, seasoned lion Ron Hornaday Jr. went toe-to-toe with young upstart Darrell Wallace Jr. By toe-to-toe, I mean he hooked his bumper and sent him snout-first into the turn three wall. A little bit of deja vu, no?
In Hornaday's post-race interview, he stated that he felt like an idiot, while also pointing out that he does not have a reputation for intentionally wrecking other drivers. He took a humble tone in his stance, as he later called Wallace and his crew chief Rick Ren to discuss the issue.
When looking at the replay of the incident, it just doesn't look like anything deliberate, unlike the Jeff Burton/Jeff Gordon incident at Texas in 2010 or the Kyle Busch/Hornaday incident at the same racetrack a year later. It seemed more like the contact was of the awkward variety. What was supposed to be a nudge turned into a slam. Thanks to all that, Hornaday now faces possible suspension.
What I don't understand is the outcry that Hornaday should be suspended. Why? Granted, the outcome of the tiff left Hornaday with egg on his face, but the circumstances at Rockingham were far from the circumstances of the incident between Busch and Hornaday at Texas in 2011. Slower speeds were a factor, and keep in mind that no crippling contact was made between the two.
Now, am I upset that Wallace was wrecked? Absolutely. I'm high on the kid. He's got that competitive fire in him that is rarely seen in other drivers his age. His talent is on par with fellow Drive for Diversity name Kyle Larson. When angry, he isn't afraid to step up to the plate. Just ask Brett Moffitt.
But I admire and absolutely respect Hornaday, who is as old-school as they come. He's the greatest driver in the history of the truck series, bar none. I've enjoyed watching him race since I became a NASCAR fan. But even the greatest drivers can have a slip-up, which is what this amounts to be.
After the incident, Wallace warned Hornaday about their upcoming bout at Kansas. Now things may have smoothed out a little, but if Wallace follows through with any threats at all, I would be for a suspension in his case, because Kansas is bigger and faster than The Rock.
Ultimately, I doubt anything will happen. It was a heated moment for both drivers. It isn't the first time that has happened, and entertainingly enough, it won't be the last. So NASCAR shouldn't even bother tossing the word "suspension" around in this case. Just let bygones be bygones, and get back to racing.
On a side note, what about Wallace having the cajones to confront Hornaday of all people? The kid has guts!