NASCAR’S MOST DREADED…
December 3rd, 2014
Michelle Hoskin Michelle@racegear.com
This week I posed a ‘daring’ question to the masses of various NASCAR related Facebook groups. I was told by a couple of fans that this type of question will “only bring out the weirdo’s, “only cause massive FB fights”, and that “I am stirring the pot”. That is and was not my intention. And, happily, there were NO massive fights…I guess we can control ourselves better than certain NASCAR driver’s/Teams, lol. The question was:
“Hey fellow NASCAR fans! QUESTION of the week: The next article I am working on for Racegear.com is in regards to which driver you intensely dislike and why. PLEASE try to be ‘responsible’ adults and give clear-cut reasons as to why you dislike him/her – not just I HATE so-and-so. Also, please NO rebuttals or arguments with other posters as to who they dislike etc.”…
The responses were overwhelming to say the least; I received over a thousand replies/messages/texts combined. Apparently this is a very strong topic that invokes a lot of emotions from the NASCAR fan-base. And happily, there weren’t any arguments or disruptions within the postings. Why did I choose this question? I chose this question simply because I was curious. We all have likes and dislikes. I know for myself, the motto was, “Anyone but Gordon”. Why? I really wasn’t sure after I really sat and thought about it. Was it his actual driving? No. Was it his actual personality? No. Was it because he was a valid contender and fierce opponent of “my” driver? ABSOLUTELY. But after meeting Jeff, my feelings changed…for the better.
I feel that the best way to show the overwhelming responses is to list each driver that received ‘dishonorable mentions’, and then give the fan’s perspectives. Seeing that a couple of drivers received quite an overwhelming majority of responses, I will go through them first. With an overwhelming response, Brad Keselowski comes in strong with the majority of votes.
Brad Keselowski: “I dislike Brad because of his attitude and the way he drives. He has no respect for his fellow drivers and that is not good in NASCAR. Just because of his attitude. You have to earn respect from drivers not assume you’re entitled. He has no respect for any other driver and feels when he does pull one of his bone moves, it’s his right. With the after race display in Charlotte, it just goes to show he has no respect for anyone. He was one of my favorite nationwide drivers when he drove for JRM, but seems like sense he joined cup he’s just turned into an arrogant p###k. Because he doesn’t get where he fits into the food chain. He doesn’t respect his fellow drivers. It’s okay to be an aggressive driver but to compare yourself in any way to Dale Sr. is a joke. Dale Sr. may have dumped a driver but at least he respected the driver and apologized afterwards. Brad is trying to be a “bad boy” driver but he is lacking in so many ways. I think because he didn’t hit the track that way and now he is trying to bring attention to himself for me it’s not working. When he first came out … wrecked lots. He was one of my new up and comers while driving the #88 in NNS UNTIL…that wreck at ‘Dega in the Cup series and he took no responsibility for…his attitude became like raw sewage…I still respect his driving ability…but I do not like him. Races “dirty”… I rooted for him to win the championship in 2012, but shortly after he won the title, he changed. He’s trying way too hard to make himself into a legend. It’s almost like he feels he now should have the same respect, input etc., that the other active champions have (Jeff, JJ, Tony, MK and to a lesser extent Kurt). The difference is those drivers have proved themselves over time, Brad hasn’t. He’s a great driver BUT his attitude sucks. For a brief second after Keselowski was put in his place by Tony and ‘kinda sorta’ said sorry to Tony Stewart…I almost felt he was on the cusp of showing respect. Then he blew it and acted like a punk again. I also liked BK when he first started. But with his first year with sprint cup drivers, I became less of a fan due to his disrespectful attitude and only caring about himself and not the other drivers out on the track with him. He will take out or hit anything or anyone at any cost. When he put a car into the catch fence and fans where hurt I was done. When he did what he did this year in the garage with his car, now I just can’t stand him at all. Too aggressive on the track and too abrasive off. He acts so immature, and won’t take any of the blame for things that happen on the track. I feel he forgets it is not just his ability to driver that gets and keeps him there. He assumes because he has one championship under his belt that he automatically has the right to be the mouthpiece of NASCAR. I used to like him, but his arrogant attitude has increasingly grated on my nerves over the last several months. Also, he refuses to accept responsibility for his mistakes and continually blames others when he screws up. Brad is so cocky with the way he talks and thinks he can cheat, hit other drivers and run in the garage without thinking and knowing his boss will just pat him on the back and say don’t worry, we’ll get through this.” (Lorraine Mancuso Liberatore, Sheila Jewett, Ruth Andrews, Todd Devaul, @tonystiger14, @QueenofLiquor, K Hardy Waterhouse, Beth Woods, Bobby Ford , Nonna Mcgraw McCarty, Christine Eriksen, Miranda Aldridge, Stacey Jeffrey Massel, Robin Lynn, Clara Gunter, Patty Yetter, Jeff Sunderland, Carl Carter, Tim Kuiper, April Michelle Lewis, Tina Krenz, Julie Ford Shafer, Tyler James Tarrence, Chris Haley, Chris Haley, Sandie Beumer Gray Thornton ).
Kyle Busch: “I dislike Kyle Busch. His bad boy attitude has got to go. He’s just too much of a whine ass. He has no real racing talent, and he just isn’t my cup of tea. His momma didn’t raise him right. He’s been at this long enough to have developed some professionalism. Kyle Bush for flipping off the official. I dislike Kyle Busch…A spoiled rich kid that puts blame on everyone else, cries like a #%$^@, immature, and never got over what he did to the guitar either. Very unprofessional. Wrecks the other drivers every chance he gets and needs to grow up. I do not like Kyle Busch. I feel he races dirty and cries about not getting his way. I feel he is immature. He is a good driver but his personality (or lack of) makes it hard to like him. Too aggressive on the track and too abrasive off. One I would add is his arrogance when things go right for him. He won a pole late last season and the first thing out of his mouth on the television interview was, “It’s about time the best driver here won a pole.” His disrespect for the talent and hard work everyone on the other teams give, makes me want to vomit. What I don’t understand is why he ever gets his car back to the hauler in one piece. He has been rude to me personally twice when I asked for his autograph, a full head to toe look then a snicker followed by “I don’t think so” the 1st time and a “No way” the 2nd…both times he proceeded to sign autographs for Barbie Doll types immediately after denying my request. He’s just mean. He bites the hand that feeds him. When things are going his way he’s fine, but when he doesn’t get his way he throws a temper tantrum and snaps and growls at anyone around him. … He sort of reminds me of a Chihuahua in that regard. The arrogant bow he takes when he wins. He is a poor loser, and should try to be a better role model. I am not a fan of his attitude on and around the track and how he treats both his team and the fans. If he doesn’t win, he takes it completely out on his team and places full blame on them, like he did nothing wrong. He also drives on the track with full disregard for safety and others at times. The final straw for me was last year at Dover (Spring – 2013) when he was driving by the fans on his way out of the track on his go cart and refused to acknowledge ANY fans of his. He didn’t wave, smile, anything. Just a simple wave to the crowd would have been nice. He doesn’t seem to grasp the whole concept that the fans are his lifeline to the sport, that without them, the drivers are nothing, and have nothing. They are just not very sportsmanlike and whiny. Cocky. He is the most arrogant driver driving now. I know the people who he raced for when he first started racing – he lived in their home for a while and they said he was the most arrogant -spoiled- out spoken kid they have ever been around and he has still never grown up…He is a very talented driver.” (Bobby Ford, Todd Devaul, @tonystiger14, Terry Falls, Alisa Shawn Higgins, Mary Houghton, Clara Gunter, Amy S Anderson-Becerra, Jeff Sunderland, Ed Weisheit, Ali French, April Michelle Lewis, Shari Sides, Jason Barlow, Julie Ford Shafer, Robin Lynn, Jody Heisler).
Jimmie Johnson: “He’s too cocky. He’s 6 time champ but I think that if it wasn’t for the fact that he has the best equipment in NASCAR he would only be 2-3 time champ. He’s a cry baby. Years ago he didn’t win a race so he cried about it & 3 days later NASCAR gave him the win. JG isn’t any better. They stick together when it comes to this. Plus when it comes to ANYone else winning, they just sit there no help. Jr could win more if his teammates would help. JJ always thinks if he wrecks it’s someone else fault, he never causing anything. Because he cheats. Hendrick has always had his one dominant team that runs the best of the best (and illegal). His other teams struggle. In years past, it was all Jeff and now Jimmie! There has been lots of great drivers to pass thru the Hendrick organization but were and still am overshadowed by the super team. Jimmie and Jeff are good drivers but they are not any better than a lot of the other drivers out there. Because he needs a crew chief change – why because can prove how well he drives without Chad K. Every other driver has to change why can’t he do it. JJ has the most arrogant attitude. Maybe he is really good, or maybe he cheats. Either way, I don’t care. I am TIRED of watching the Jimmie Johnson show. He is too focused upon by the press and the announcers; I like to hear more about ALL of the other drivers…. The new chase format did an AWESOME job of cancelling the Jimmie Johnson show. The races (and aftermath) were MUCH more fun to watch when I didn’t know ahead of time that JJ was going to win the chase due to points. Although MY favorite didn’t even make the chase, I looked forward to each and every race during the chase!” (Todd Devaul, Jodi May, Chris Haley, Scott Marek Sr., Vicky Smithson Hartley, Sarah Meinhardt, Tina Benjamin Rinker).
Joey Logano: “He seems cocky and not as smart as he thinks. I think Joey is cheap and has a fake smile. Dirty racer. Joey, is just plain following in Brad’s footsteps. He has that same sense of entitlement that Brad K does. He acts like the sport owes him something because he’s been so successful so young.” (William Kerber, Christine Eriksen, Tina Krenz, April Michelle Lewis).
Jeff Gordon: “Jeff Gordon…because he’s Jeff Gordon. I’m ole school Nascar when you had to earn your stripes, bad team, bad crew chiefs bad cars….Jeff stepped into a great team, crew chief and cars by Hendrick Motor Sports…but what made me dislike him because the Taledega race can’t recall the year but Jeff tried to pass underneath Dale in the apex of the turn 3 flipped Dale, when he was about to get in ambulance he asked if car would start, it did and he jumped back in and drove to pit lane…Jeff showed no respect to the “MAN” and he was like in only his second or third year as a driver. Hendrick has always had his one dominant team that runs the best of the best (and illegal). His other teams struggle. In years past, it was all Jeff and now Jimmie! There has been lots of great drivers to pass thru the Hendrick organization but were and still am overshadowed by the super team. Jimmie and Jeff are good drivers but they are not any better than a lot of the other drivers out there. Jeff Gordon for what he did to Clint Boyer at Phoenix 2012 and got away with it, no punishment. Then blamed BK for his own mistake at Texas this year, a mistake made worse by NASCAR for allowing teams to pull out the body panels. Jeff has “bumped” plenty fellow drivers to gain positions and/or a win. But after the incident @ Phoenix 2012 I don’t care if he ever wins anything again.” (Chris Barr, Al Cooper, Vicky Smithson Hartley, Charles Childers).
Kevin Harvick: “Because he is the biggest Cry Baby in the Garage. Constantly cusses out his crew and throws tantrums on the radio. And thinks everyone else is in his way. He hits other cars and says it was just racing, but if someone cuts him off or touches his car it’s an all-out war. Any punk that has to shove another driver in the back to start a fight between other drivers is a PUNK.” (Donald Utsman, Al Noort).
Denny Hamlin: “I Dislike Denny Hamlin because of his attitude. He has a bad attitude. Hamlin because he wrecked his own teammate and then said, “I don’t have teammates when it comes to racing”, and to me that is unprofessional and dirty.” (Clayton Andrew Harris, Sheila Harris).
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: “Just plain and simple…He is way overrated, nothing but a t-shirt salesman. Dale Jr because if it wasn’t for his last name & his father’s success & fans he would’ve been out of NA$CAR a long time ago. Also, I’m tired of announcers trying to tell me I should worship him because they think he’ll save NA$CAR. They wouldn’t be losing fans if they’d quit screwing up & changing the rules.” (Bill Downing, Ashley Roachclip).
Kasey Kahne: “I have not liked him for quite a few years now because of mainly 2 big incidents. First 2010 when He trash talked Petty and the entire RPM organization publically all year and thought he was superior to everyone else on the team. Then at Charlotte that year he publically stated “I am sick of this car and I am sick of this team!” He was then fired and never once apologized about that. Also back in 2007 at Homestead, he shoved a 60 year old security guard to the ground because Kahne himself forgot his credentials and the guard wouldn’t let him into the track. Kasey seems like a very disrespectful person who the media likes to hide and put on the image that he is a good guy. Because of his public comments about being offended that a woman was breast feeding at the grocery store, (what man would act like he did?), Also his lawsuits involving Ford and Yates Racing. He’s a PUKE.” (Danny Vaughan, Carrie Pitcher).
Danica Patrick: “Ok I will throw it out there! Miss Danica Patrick. I have been following NASCAR since 1979 “the fight” never in the 35 years has a driver been this over hyped! 27th in points 2013, 28th in 2014. She is covered more on a weekly basis than your normal back of the pack drivers.” (Mark Hart).
JJ Yeley: “He just can’t drive!” (Debbie Mercurio).
Austin Dillon: “He’s been given everything on a silver platter. He doesn’t know what it’s like to have to work for anything. Just cause gramps lets you drive doesn’t mean you know how to.” (Chris McClain).
Matt Kenseth: “He always whines when drivers do to him what he has done to other drivers. Has he ever made it through a race without someone hitting him? Never his fault! At least in his opinion. Did he really think BK was going to ignore the fact Kenseth went down the side of his car while under? Then threw a tantrum when BK got even. “ (Robin S Lippy).
Tony Stewart: “He is a hot tempered arrogant fool, but a consistent fool, lol!!” (Anonymous NASCAR Driver).
Various Other Comments: “Any NASCAR Driver who has to run with the Nationwide series – they are talking away from younger drivers who need to be seen and possibly given a chance to progress. So what if you own the team you hire a driver and let them do the job. It just takes away from what I feel NASCAR should be about. Sprint car drivers, drive your sprint car – Nationwide drivers drive nationwide cars and then there is little less to say about truck drivers. Yes they run for points but for some that ‘winners’ check could help them carry on their dreams. My feelings are mine, agree or disagree, makes no difference to me. There will always be driver we love and those we hate but I think it changes in time. I’ll go as far to say Tony, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman are probably the only drivers that DON’T turn me off with their attitude. I’ve always intensely liked Tony because he is not a “NASCAR-yes” man. Kinda dislike’em all a bit sometimes, cause they’re too sissy to call NASCAR out on their bulls$$t. Anyone that is willing to risk their lives every week for our entertainment deserves our respect & gratitude. Although I like some drivers more than others, I don’t hate any of them.” (Darlene Lamson, Tim Kuiper, Shana Miller, Sal Undy, @tonystiger14).
Soooo, what did all of this bashing prove? To me it proved that we are all human. We all have likes and dislikes. We will not always get along with each other or share the same beliefs as the next person. We stick to “our” drivers through thick and thin and will defend their actions regardless. It proves that the next guy isn’t always wrong. It proves that NASCAR fans are a loyal bunch of people who share a common link – PASSION for THEIR sport.
In my opinion it proves that the most consistent complaint revolves around the fact that attitude plays a large role in likes and dislikes. Is someone ‘arrogant and self-centered’ or are they self -confident and one hell of a driver that is a force to be reckoned with? I guess only time (AND POINTS) will tell…