Two for the Road is a hangout for mystery writers Tammy Kaehler and Simon Wood to chat, reminisce, gossip, speculate and argue about all things motorsport.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Keeping It Under Control

By Simon

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.


  1. I did hear that he was considering filing a police report, but perhaps he didn't, in the end. It turns out, the woman is Skeen's girlfriend.

    And I agree with you: totally unacceptable.

  2. Acceptable? NO absolutely not. It is not acceptable in any part of "civilized" society to walk up to a person and slap them unless you are physically defending yourself- which clearly Keen's girlfriend wasn't since Papis was no where near her at the time (he had just done an after the incident interview on camera).

    Entertaining? Definitely.

    She is lucky that Max had enough wits about him to not strike back. He seems to have handled the whole incident with humor which gives him tons of brownie points in my opinion. I am slowly becoming a Max fan I think.

  3. I did see a comment from Max saying something about wives and girlfriends, so I guess that's why no charges were brought.

    Agreed: it could have gotten ugly if he'd struck back.

    I think drivers in the US are very media savvy and will laugh it off onscreen but not so much in the team trailer.

  4. Oh I don't doubt that it's all good for the camera and not so much - in themselves.

    Also an update on this from MRN (MotorRacingNetwork reporter Dustin Long just posted this update to his facebook:

    Kelly Heaphy, the woman who slapped Max Papis after last weekend's truck race, has been fined $2,500 by NASCAR and denied access to ALL NASCAR events indefinitely.

    So it sounds like she didn't go unpunished for her shenanigans.

    1. Good. She deserved that.

      I have to say that was a good race though.

  5. Kelly Heaphy, girlfriend of driver Mike Skeen, was fined $2,500 and denied access to all NASCAR events indefinitely following her role in the altercation with driver Max Papis. Additionally, the No. 6 team’s crew chief, Bryan Berry, has been fined $2,500 for violating Sections 12-1 and 9-4A (Crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of his team members).