NASCAR, Fights and Rivaries….OH MY!

Photo Credit: Noel Lanier/

I wanted to wait a few days before writing this to make sure I thought it through correctly. Often times, opinion writers will jump online right as an event happens so as not to lose the feel of what they are trying to convey. I’m all for that, but sometimes I find it better for me if I don’t post right away to make sure what I feel is based on thought and not spur-of-the-moment emotion.

In regards to the Bowyer vs. Newman fight that occurred this past Sunday after the All-Star race at Charlotte, I was a bit irritated. Most of that irritation was towards the media. They focused on that one-sided fight rather than on the winner, Kyle Larson. I get it though; controversy makes headlines and the media’s job is to grab as much attention as they can for their outlet.  But then the more I thought about it, the more I realized that what happened was good for the sport and is something that NASCAR is desperately in need of.

Clint is one of the most respected drivers in the garage and also well liked. I’ve met him several times and he’s a stand up guy. I understand the in-the-moment, reactionary aspect of what happened and it’s unfortunate that it happened….or is it? My only complaint is that if you’re going to challenge someone physically, take off your protective gear and let him get out of his car so he can defend himself. To go over to another driver with your helmet on and sucker-punch him while he’s being confined by his racing seat and belts is kind of low in my book. However, it did get a lot of people talking and even ESPN gave NASCAR more than the usual two-minute segment that it typically gets.

NASCAR is need of a good, long-standing rivalry. There hasn’t been one that’s attracted a lot of attention since Earnhardt and Gordon. I like to see that level of passion in competitive sports but I do wish Bowyer would have removed his helmet and let Newman get out of his car to defend himself. That could have been right up there with Allison and Yarborough.

It’ll be interesting to see if this was a one-time thing or if it grows into a long-standing feud. I don’t necessarily want to see fist fights at the track every week as that will kill the sport, but I would love to see two drivers rival each other in the long haul and bring that attention back to NASCAR.

About Pete Noel 7 Articles
I am a NASCAR fan of 20+ years and credentialed photographer for Dover International Speedway. Ultimate goal is to become a NASCAR team photographer. You can see my photos either at my website ( or on Instagram (@Pete92270).