Of Martinsville, Mice, and Men

It's taken me a while to get back to the blog world because we've been on a pilgrimage. Don't laugh when I admit it was to race tracks. After Martinsville, and dropping the munchkins back at their respective schools, we loaded up the truck and decided against going home. So we wandered through Southwest Virginia, stopping at Morgan-McClure's headquarters (home of my fav driver, Ward Burton) in Abingdon, and then from there, farther into Tennessee to Bristol Motor Speedway. The leaves were lovely, despite the drought, and we stopped along the way whenever we felt like it.

Bristol feels like a Roman coliseum. The high seats, the small, short track (just a hair over half a mile) and the steep banks (up to 34 degrees) echo, even without the sellout crowds of 160,000, of screaming engines. As I tried to walk up the banking on the concrete track, all I could think was that it takes steel cojones to drive on that track. I wouldn't even try to rollerskate it.

The Martinsville race was a bit of a let-down. By now, I should stop complaining about the Car of Tomorrow (now the Car of Today), but it seems to me that the racing just isn't as wild on the short tracks like Martinsville and Richmond. It's kinda like when your favorite driver switches genres, and you're holding his or her newest book, going "what happened?" I remember vividly when David Morrell did that to me - went from westerns to Brotherhood of the Rose. The great part about Martinsville is that Ward made the race, the hot dogs are still bright pink, and the weather was perfect for racin'. The bad part happened after the race.

Carl Edwards didn't like something that happened on the track with his teammate, Matt Kenseth, and he went after him while Matt was being interviewed by Speed. The look on Carl's face, even though he wore sunglasses, was ugly. Shoving Matt around, he started to walk away, then swirled and raised a closed fist and thrust it in Matt's direction, pulling back just before connecting with Matt's chin. For those of you who don't follow Nascar, Edwards is buff. Built like a prizefighter. Matt is smaller and definitely not buff.

I've liked Carl. Admired his gusty driving. But the "incident" turned me off, big time. Battered women and abused children have seen that "look" before, as well as the bullying threat with a closed fist. In Virginia, it's against the law to lay hands on someone like that. It's called assault. Carl could scream at Matt all he wanted, and that's okay with me. Beat and bang away on the track. That's Nascar. But shoving and closed fists aren't okay. Carl deserves a hefty fine and probation. What he did in front of the cameras was not only stupid and illegal, it was also cowardly. Picking on someone smaller than you is for mice, not men.