Fanish or Foolish, Issue No. 1: Throwing Trash on the Track
Every day at 4 p.m. ET, ESPN2 broadcasts its SportsNation show, in which the biggest issues around the sports world are discussed among the two hosts, Colin Cowherd and Michelle Beadle.
One segment of the show is titled "Fanish or Foolish?"; in it, Cowherd and Beadle debate whether an action was either something that an average fan would do or something that was completely uncalled-for and foolish.
With all the drama in NASCAR, the fans are never ones to sit back and let things happen. NASCAR fans make sure they are heard and they are heard as loud as they can be.
Which means that I'm launching the NASCAR version of "Fanish or Foolish?" to help NASCAR fans understand whether or not they really do have the right passion or whether or not they are making complete fools out of themselves and ruining it for everyone else.
And, of course, to have a Bleacher Creatures debate about how they view these subjects.
This week's topic: throwing trash on the track.
Normally trash will decorate a track when one of two things happens: NASCAR ends a race under caution, before the green-white-checkered finish arrived, or when the winning driver just irks people.
When Michael Waltrip won the 2002 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, he could barely celebrate, and drivers were turning around to head back to pit road because the track was completely covered in trash, seat cushions, and anything else that could be picked up.
Fans were so irritated that the race had ended under the caution flag because of a wreck that had happened with less than 10 laps to go. Instead of red-flagging the event and finishing, NASCAR ran the remaining laps under caution and gave Waltrp the win.
Fans went berserk.
It was just one example of fans gone bad because of the race not finishing under the green flag. NASCAR has since made sure that the fans get a chance to see a finish with the green-white-checkered rule.
But there is a larger problem that still hasn't been fixed and most likely won't unless all NASCAR fans attend anger management classes.
When Jeff Gordon was on his streak of winning races at Talladega, and did so by beating Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a race that ended under caution, fans once again decided to play decorators. But just hurling garage wasn't enough; they hurled it directly at the No. 24 Chevrolet.
I can't tell you how many times someone has said to me that "the driver is in a metal race car so it won't hurt them." Well, if you're Kyle Busch, then you better be wearing a steel suit since we know that Busch likes to get out of his car after a victory and bow to the crowd.
But people still try to justify their actions by saying that it won't affect a driver if a beer can is hurled at them. So, I guess it makes it justifiable if I want to stand on the sidewalk and pelt someone I don't like with rocks as they drive by?
NASCAR fans are no doubt some of the best in showing their loyalty to their favorite drivers, in terms of the massive merchandise they buy or the tattoos that adorn their bodies for life. They don't make any bones about where their allegiances lie or don't lie.
Fans are very passionate when it comes to drivers; passion makes NASCAR great.
To throw things at a driver because they won and you didn't like it is just ignorant. You aren't just hitting the track, you're hitting the people around you when you miss because you've had one too many of the cans you've been holding.
If you don't like someone, then you don't have to buy their merchandise; you can immediately leave when they win or boo them until your heart is content. You even have the option to stand there silently and let them hear crickets if you so choose.
If you don't like a driver, boycott their sponsor, make an "Anti [insert driver here]" T-shirt, but don't pick something that is liftable up and hurl it at another human being. There are plenty of other ways to get your point across.
Passion, passion, passion. It's what runs NASCAR and keeps things going, and it's what stops us all from walking around like robots, doing and saying the same things all the time. It lets everyone have their own opinion and argue with each other until they're blue in the face.
It's what makes the drivers so fun to watch and what makes the victory celebrations so exciting. Who's going to do what when they win? Who's going to fight who when they lose? Or who's going to bash NASCAR for a faulty rule?
Having passion for NASCAR and for your favorite driver, or your least favorite driver, is fanish, but pelting someone with trash isn't passion—it's pathetic.
Final Verdict: Foolish.
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