Aggression’s Unfair Reputation in NASCAR

Aggression’s Unfair Reputation in NASCAR - Blog

If you have stayed somewhat in touch with NASCAR recently, you’ll know that many names have been filed under the aggression list, including current drivers Joey Logano and the Busch brothers.

The problem is these “aggressive” drivers receive a frankly unfair reputation. In most cases, these drivers see an opportunity and take it; if it’s in a last-lap situation, any caution will be thrown out the window. As you can probably guess, this recklessness can result in an unfortunate accident. And this has created the controversial topic.

Aggression’s Unfair Reputation in NASCAR - Blog

Most of these said drivers don’t mean to wreck someone — unless it’s a revenge plot, of course — but just want to get into Victory Lane. Understandably, most of these aggressive moves late in the race can lead fans to feel frustrated, and cheated. This typically leads to a fan-lead rampage on hating specific drivers.

The irony here is quite easy to see. For example, take when I mentioned Joey Logano. Logano started out his career winning at only 19 years old, and was soon one of the sport’s most celebrated youngster. Over the years however, that love churned into a mixed relationship; you either hated him, or adored him.

Aggression’s Unfair Reputation in NASCAR - Blog

Somehow, in some way, the beloved rookie turned into a driver that was easy to hate. With a second 19 victories under his belt (as of now), Logano has been showing quiet but consistent finishes through the beginning of the 2018 season. He’s currently second in the championship standings, and is locked into the playoffs. But this hasn’t seemed to slow down the backlash.

In the current generation of NASCAR, Logano is often labeled as one of the most aggressive driving styles in the field. And although his aggressiveness has lead to some conflict with others — such as the events at Kansas and Martinsville with Matt Kenseth in 2015 — it usually leads to one hell of a spectacle. And that, my friend, cannot be argued with.

Another driver that falls under this reputation is Kyle Busch, the younger brother of the Busch pair. Kyle has been in a lot of controversy over his career. He’s won a championship, and is currently chasing his 50th victory, something that only a dozen drivers have accomplished.

Aggression’s Unfair Reputation in NASCAR - Blog

His success is mostly thanks to his aggressive style. He started his career in the Winston Cup series in 2005, replacing Terry Labonte in the #5 car for Hendrick Motorsports. After racing for Hendrick for 3 years, Busch took over the #18 for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008. Since joining JGR, he’s gathered dozens of victories and a championship campaign in 2015.

Aggression’s Unfair Reputation in NASCAR - Blog

Busch is another racer who’s aggressive technique has led him to trouble, and has formed a love-or-hate relationship for fans. Nonetheless, Busch has became a force in NASCAR. His older brother, Kurt, falls under a similar situation. He joined NASCAR with a parade of other hotshot rookies, and has earned 24 victories, along with a 2004 championship trophy.

Although the older brother’s career results are overshadowed by Kyle’s success, the aggressive nature is impossible to ignore. Similarly to many drivers in NASCAR, the Busch brothers have acquired “bad boy” reputations while sporting their respective driving styles.

Aggression’s Unfair Reputation in NASCAR - Blog

But that begs the question — if a driver becomes successful with an aggressive driving style, do they deserve that reputation? The answer is simply no. It’s passion that fuels them. So why should fans boo them if they’re driving for the love of racing?

It’s quite ironic, noting that drivers from Tony Stewart to Lee Petty wore their aggressive nature. What of the most notable is Dale Earnhardt Sr. He was dominant for years, winning 76 races (eighth all-time) and seven championships (tied for most). Not only that, he was given the nickname “The Intimidator” because of his intimidating style.

Aggression’s Unfair Reputation in NASCAR - Blog

In NASCAR, it’s easy to see the blurred lines that surrounds reputation. Whether a driver is simply waiting for an opportunity, some that seemingly push harder can get deemed too aggressive. Sometimes the truth is drivers are just passionate about their sport, and are constantly fighting for the prize.

This is KPS Lucky, signing out. Peace.