Smash, bash, crash and bust: it’s rac­ing

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - TIMBLAIR blairt@dai­lytele­graph.com.au

SOME­THING re­mark­able hap­pened last week­end dur­ing the lat­est round in NASCAR’s ti­tle chase. On the fi­nal lap, two driv­ers re­peat­edly col­lided, forced each other off the road and ba­si­cally turned the event into a four-wheeled brawl.

If sim­i­lar scenes were to oc­cur in mod­ern For­mula One rac­ing or even in our own V8 Su­per­cars se­ries, both driv­ers would be hauled in front of var­i­ous tri­bunals and com­mit­tees and or­dered to ex­plain them­selves. Most likely both would wear penal­ties.

But NASCAR is dif­fer­ent. Not only was win­ner Mar­cos Ambrose happy with the fe­ro­cious duel and fi­nal re­sult, so too was sec­ond-placed Brad Ke­selowski.

Aussie Ambrose was still per­form­ing ex­u­ber­ant pos­trace burnouts on the Watkins Glen track when his Amer­i­can ri­val Ke­selowski faced the cam­eras, af­ter first shak­ing hands with Ambrose’s de­lighted pit crew. To mo­tor rac­ing fans ac­cus­tomed to surly losers blam­ing their op­po­nents, his com­ments were bril­liant.

‘‘ It came down to run­nin’ a whole lap against Mar­cos,’’ said the com­posed 28-year-old, mere min­utes af­ter fin­ish­ing the 355km event.

‘‘ It was just re­ally good hard racin’, some beatin’ and ban­gin’. I think that’s the way racin’ should be. It’s great to race against guys like Mar­cos that you can rub on and lean on and they don’t lose their cool and in­ten­tion­ally wreck you.

‘‘ That’s the way racin’ is sup­posed to be, right there. Mar­cos is a class act.’’

Damn straight. View foxs­ports.com.au for fan­tas­tic video of that fi­nal lap, which was pro­voked by an oil spillage from an­other car on the course, where the rac­ers reach 300kmh.

Per­haps some last-lap oil should be a per­ma­nent fea­ture.

As one of NASCAR’s track com­men­ta­tors said: ‘‘ That was a year’s worth of ex­cite­ment in 2.45 miles. In­cred­i­ble.’’

THE SPIRIT OF P76

FORD’s year in Aus­tralia is any­thing but ex­cit­ing, with Fal­con sales re­main­ing dis­mally low. This year it will sell be less than a quar­ter of 1995’s peak tally of 80,000.

Was the 1995 Fal­con re­ally that good, rel­a­tive to all other sim­i­larly priced ri­vals? No, of course it wasn’t.

The cur­rent Fal­con is far bet­ter value than any­thing you could drive off a Ford lot 17 years ago. Yet buy­ers are hold­ing out.

It might sim­ply be a fash­ion thing. Pre­vi­ously, Ford suc­ceeded with full-size Fal­cons when Holden went pre­ma­turely small with its Com­modores. Now big, at least in non-SUV form, is scorned.

Holden bounced back from its sales slump to record dou­ble the Fal­con’s fig­ures last year. The dan­ger for Ford is that its fate may al­ready be too ad­vanced. Once you’re stuck in wheel ruts left by Ley­land and Chrysler, it’s hard to jump clear.

Pic­ture: AFP

Beatin’ , ban­gin’ and racin’: Ke­selowski, in the blue Dodge, and Ambrose, in the yel­low Ford

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