It was a weird racing weekend over Labor Day. IndyCar did its impression of a demolition derby where over a quarter of the race was conducted under a full course yellow. But the big thing (for me) that happened over the weekend is what happened to Max Papis in the NASCAR Truck Series held at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. It was somewhat of a fraught race with several drivers wiping each other out on the last lap. Included in those crashes was Max Papis, he and Mike Skeen were fighting for third and managed to end up in the wall on the last corner. As he was climbing from the car in the pits, someone went for him and in the paddock, a woman slapped him. No report on who the woman was—whether she was connected to Skeen’s team or just a fan. Regardless, that was totally unacceptable. I know drivers, teams and fans are passionate about their racing, but the second you raise your hand to someone, you’re done as far as I’m concerned.
The lady was quite lucky in more ways than one. She wasn’t charged for the assault and Papis laughed the slap off. Not sure I would have in his position. And he might not have been so forgiving if she’d caught him minutes earlier or another driver. The race ended with several drivers steamed at each other over the race’s outcome. With so many emotions running high, she was lucky Papis didn’t hit her back, which would have created an entirely different set of problems.
I know it’s easy to sit here and say this when I wasn’t involved, but it doesn’t matter. People have a responsibility to keep their cool in these situations. If Papis was guilty of any wrongdoing, there are mechanisms to reprimand him which will him more harm than any spectator’s opinion. Teams have a responsibility to keep their crews under control. They’re supposed to be professionals. Spectators are there to watch, cheer and boo—and their job ends there. They pay good money to see a race, but it doesn’t give them the right to take matters into their hands. So everyone, get a grip!
Here endeth the lesson. Now, let’s get back to the racing.