The leader is in sight … do you wreck him to win?
Passing was nearly impossible, and he was at Carl Edwards’ bumper. His only way to win was to knock Edwards out of the way … but he didn’t.
After the race, Reutimann said, “I should’ve moved him,“ but went on to say that’s not the way he races.
This brings up an interesting argument. On the one hand, you have to be respectful of other drivers, so they’ll respect you back. But when the win is on the line, for most drivers that goes out the window.
Some drivers, such as Jimmie Johnson, tend to follow Reutimann’s code … though for Johnson he’s usually the person in the lead so it doesn’t apply very often.
But most of the big names in NASCAR’s history -- from Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt to Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards -- have shown they have no problem moving people to get the win, and that’s probably a big part of the reason they have all reached the pinnacle of success in this sport. They want to win, period, and will do whatever is necessary to do that.
I’m not saying Reutimann’s wrong … he’s just being a little too nice in a sport where being nice doesn’t get you far. The purists would say a real racer will find a way to get around without wrecking the leader, but that’s not practical at some tracks (Memphis, for example, where passing was barely seen all day).
Reutimann is clearly a talented driver, and with the right team and crew chief, he could be a star someday. But if he ever wants to truly become an elite driver, he may have to adjust his code and be the bad guy once in awhile.