Don't Diss My Driver!

The majority of NASCAR fans adopt a main driver and take on that driver as their own. They will often even refer to the driver as being owned by them. My driver, my team, my my MY. They feel ownership and pride in their driver when they win. They feel the defeat when their driver suffers a particularly devastating loss and the anger when their driver is the victim of someone else’s “mistake.”

As a fan, nothing ticks me off faster than to hear someone talk bad about my driver -- especially during a race. Case in point: This last weekend, my driver, Tony Stewart, happened to have the pole for the race at Pocono. This is definitely something to celebrate: Tony himself would probably tell you that he just does not qualify well and thus, often does not get a pole. I think this was his 12th career pole -- which gives him an average of a little more than 1 pole a season for every year he’s been driving a cup car. I know that I always go into a race weekend just a little bit more excited if I know that Tony is on the pole. He took the green flag and jumped out into the lead for a couple of laps. Tony then started to fade back a bit as they fought some handling difficulties. The first words out of my father’s mouth were “Well there goes Stewart falling back…figures.”

Nothing will make me grumpier.

At a race this happens as well. I mean think about it: most sports are team based where only two teams play at a time. Can you imagine going to a football, baseball or soccer game where 43 teams were playing against each other at the same time? Can you imagine what that crowd would look like? That is a NASCAR race. Fans of 43 different drivers squeezed shoulder to shoulder in the stands. When I am at a race I am guaranteed that I will be sitting next to a Jeff Gordon fan on one side of me because that is who my friend chose as her driver. However I have neither control nor no idea what driver’s fans will be on the other side, in front or behind me. Because of this I try to be fairly respectful of what I say and do because I am a non confrontational, "can’t we all get along" kinda girl.

I still remember the look on my friend’s face as we were sitting in the stands on race morning of our very first race. She is decked out in Jeff Gordon stuff and I in my Tony Stewart swag. The guy sitting next to us gets to his seats with his friends and, before he sits down or even takes into account his surroundings, the first words out of his mouth are “I really hope there are no Jeff Gordon fans sitting around me today!” Of course he was sitting shoulder to shoulder with my friend. He actually turned out to be a pretty decent guy, but that annoyed my friend and definitely got them off on the wrong foot.

That’s not to say that I might not say something about my driver or in all reality about my friend’s driver. As a fan I get frustrated when my driver isn’t having the best run -- so, ,sure I will offhandedly say things. She can take it from me and knows I am just smack talking. But it does not set well with me when someone ELSE criticizes my driver.

No. That won’t do, not at all.



Read more from Amy Marbach at Amy's Bad Groove

Photo Credit: Coolfonzies