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Pobst Position: Mortal Sins
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Pobst Position: Mortal Sins
Did you happen to see the finish of the Busch race at Montreal? Robby Gordon rams Marcos Ambrose out of the lead at the end, after Ambrose, it appears, maybe did pass Gordon under yellow. Back in the field, crash passes are everywhere. Even though black-flagged, Gordon boldly spins celebratory doughnuts. What a circus! Is this what we want racing to be? The good news? Our own Andy Pilgrim, the very model of tough competition and good sportsmanship, comes within an eyelash of winning it, but is clipped by the spinning Ambrose as he goes into the lead. Ah, this sport can be so frustrating. If only, eh, Andy? True to form, he does not complain, but focuses on what was still a great run for the Navy-sponsored team.

Randy as victim, once again: When Adam Pecorari got way over his head and punted me into China Beach, it was irresponsible and even reckless driving, but you know what? I know he had no intention of hitting my Mazda 6. When Altenburg and Kleinubing tangled at The Glen, neither meant to hit the other. This is a very important distinction, and where I am headed with this column.

Randy as self-righteous, sanctimonious, pontificating preacher: There has been a growing trend in our World Challenge Series towards using our cars as weapons on the last lap. Deliberate crashing into a competitor to prevent a pass. Denver Speed Touring 2006. Laguna Speed GT 2006. Toronto Speed Touring 2007. I don't care if it is the last lap, it is wrong. It is a Mortal Sin. Drive down the inside of every corner? Sure. Two wheels in the dirt? Give it a shot. Hang on around the outside? Feelin' lucky? Go for it. Sideswipe the car next to you while you're going down the straight? Never. Swerve back and forth blocking? You're begging that other racer to hit you, and he probably will, and it will be your fault. Don't do it. Be better than that. Why? Because if it was you, you would not want to be raced that way. You would be pissed. It is called civilization, sportsmanship, fighting the good fight, The Golden Rule. It works here, too.

Randy as Devil's advocate: What about when someone hits you? Drives right into you? What do you do, hit him back? Now this is a tough one. In church they used to say, "Turn the other cheek." Don't see too much of that on the track. Fact is, you do have to protect your turf out there. Most racers know the unwritten rule of the racing jungle. Give as good as you get. You crash me, I crash you. It's tribal. Primitive. The problem? How many of you think you deserve it? I've had guys wanting to take me out when I knew their ignorant and foolish driving caused the issue, not me. Sometimes they just don't know any better. Ignorance is a lack of learning, not stupidity.

Randy as Mr. Know-it-all: Any time we deliberately cause a crash, it is like a death penalty, in that it cannot be taken back. We become a one-person vigilante mob. We cannot know all the circumstances that led to an incident, especially from the seat of our race car during a race. It is up to the stewards to protect the majority of reasonable racers from the few loose cannons, and that they must do. Sometimes this means an innocent will suffer - collateral damage. But if so, then this cost is necessary to create a modicum of the fear of god in drivers, to control the circus, to stop the Mortal Sins, to inspire civilization in an aggressive and dangerous sport.

Originally printed in Sportscar November 2007
 
 
 
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