Old-school ways win trucks race
NASCAR’s Boys Have At It wink-wink directive has been largely ignored this season, more so a product of race-day circumstances and respect among Sprint Cup veterans.
We saw that in June when Denny Hamlin didn’t push back on Tony Stewart on the final lap after Stewart bulldozed him into the outside wall at Sonoma.
But the trickle-down effect isn’t in play, obviously. John Hunter Nemechek definitely went old-school on Cole Custer on the final lap of the trucks race in Ontario last weekend.
Nemechek bumped Custer’s vehicle once, then again, and finally delivered the closing blow by ramming Custer into the infield grass to nudge out a victory.
Nemechek — son of veteran driver Joe Nemechek — acknowledged it was a “rubbing’s racing” move, though it definitely skewed toward bad manners. Custer wasn’t pleased at all, to the point of charging Nemechek and delivering a flying takedown before they were separated.
“I was expecting it, kind of, because he’s raced a lot of people like that, but it’s just a shame because it was a great chance to get into the Chase and he took it away from us,” Custer said.
That’s where things get prickly. Nemechek already has qualified for the trucks Chase. Custer has not and is in a big pinch competing for a last shot at qualification in Chicago on Sept. 16.
NASCAR officials did not take any action.
“It was certainly an aggressive move,” NASCAR vice president Steve O’Donnell said on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” Tuesday morning. “We’ve always said that NASCAR is a contact sport and when John Hunter Nemechek earned a narrow win in last weekend’s trucks race. drivers are racing, we expect that there could be contact.”
Nemechek is a good kid with a lot of potential, but he is going to make more enemies than friends with this move. Don’t take my word for it. Just look at a FoxSports.com poll, where 77 percent of the fans said Nemechek didn’t win the race fairly.
A kind reminder that Boys Have At It comes with consequences. Harvick unhappy: Kevin “Happy” Harvick isn’t feeling his nickname. Not at all.
“I’m over being a cheerleader,” he said after finishing second to Martin Truex Jr. in Darlington. “Those guys get paid a lot of money to perform on pit road. Cheerleading hasn’t been working, so you have to get after them on pit road and do your job.
“… It’s just the same old thing. … You’re not going to win races like that.”