‘Ello, I WISH TO REGISTER A COMPLAINT.
Just like Mr. Praline in Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch, I have a complaint. Unlike Mr. Praline, I don’t wish to complain about a pet shop purchase. My complaint is about motor sport. Over the weekend I tweeted that Motor Sport in the US was becoming like a soap opera, today I’m going to explain that tweet.
Every now and then there are going to be bad races. That’s the nature of motor racing, every race can’t be a good one; you’re going to have great ones, you’re going to have good ones, you’re going to have average ones, and you’re going to have bad ones. It isn’t too hard to argue that despite some good action in the GTC class and at the end of the IndyCar race, the weekend’s races at Baltimore weren’t all the best of the season. You could even argue that both the ALMS and IndyCar races were embarrassing (but after having the chance to see both, I’d disagree – they weren’t as bad as the Twittersphere and radio made them out to be), but once again it happens. I’m not here to blame the drivers. I’m not here to blame the officials. I’m not here to blame the track. That has been done quite vociferously over the last few days. Quite frankly, I’m not even concerned with assigning blame. Why? Because you’re going to have bad races; that’s just the way it is (I think I’ve got my point across by now).
So what is this blog post about if it isn’t to complain about the weekend’s races at Baltimore? My complaint is about something more general – the increasing trend of teams, drivers, and their significant others to whine about everything bad that happens to them as if they’re being persecuted. Over the last several seasons, it is something that has increasingly bothered me and this past weekend it came to a boil. The boiling point came with Chris Dyson’s complaining about being penalized for a jump start in Saturday’s ALMS race. My discontent pretty much exploded as a result of Sunday’s IndyCar race. I can understand the Target team’s frustration and Scott Dixon’s frustration in particular. Things haven’t exactly gone their way at Sonoma and Baltimore, but there is a difference between expressing frustration or disappointment and whining and bitching. If you have a problem with what another driver’s done to you, fine – when interviewed say you have a problem with what that driver has done, refrain from further comment then go seek that driver out and discuss your issues with him. If you think you’ve been wronged by the officials, fine – state that you disapprove of their decision then meet with officials and talk about it. Don’t go overboard in interviews and don’t take to Twitter to belabor the point. Over the last few seasons this kind of thing has become tedious, especially in NASCAR and IndyCar and it’s beginning to approach that point with the ALMS and GrandAm.
In particular I’m disappointed in Scott Dixon. Whether you like him or not, calling Penske’s Tim Cindric a “piece of sh*t” in an interview (see http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/motorsport/9115087/Baltimore-disaster-for-Scott-Dixon) is inexcusable. I understand if IndyCar decides to fine him for his post crash/post race comments about Beaux Barfield, IndyCar’s chief steward. The NFL doesn’t allow criticism of referees, Major League Baseball doesn’t allow criticism of umpires, and NASCAR hasn’t allowed criticism of their officials. I believe that Dixon was wronged by Race Control’s decision not to bring his car back to the pits for repairs, but instead of telling reporters that Barfield isn’t capable of doing his job he should have held those comments, told the media that he disagreed with the decision, then criticized the officials in private discussions with Barfield or IndyCar’s higher-ups.
The amazing thing is that this behavior, for the most part, isn’t coming from struggling or up and coming drivers. It’s coming from established drivers with championships and plenty of wins that are making a good living while “living the dream.” I wish they would stop and think that they are getting paid (and some of them handsomely paid) to do what many of us only dream of and act appropriately. Instead of acting like spoiled kindergartners, they should act like the professionals they’re supposed to be.