Smash, bash, crash and bust: it’s racing
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.
Beatin’ , bangin’ and racin’: Keselowski, in the blue Dodge, and Ambrose, in the yellow Ford