Opinion: Rivalries Welcome

Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski

NASCAR needs more rivalries and the playoffs are the perfect time to start. (Photo: Getty Images)

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There’s a reason why it seems every Red Sox-Yankees, Cubs-Cardinals, Dodgers-Giants, Cowboys-Redskins, Knicks-Celtics or Flyers-Penguins games are usually all nationally televised every time those teams lock horns. Rivalries.
 
Every sport has them and all need them to pump excitement and passion into the fan base.
 
NASCAR is no different.
 
Through the annals of time, NASCAR racing has produced some of sport’s greatest rivalries. Petty-Pearson, Yarborough-Allison, Earnhardt-Gordon. Legendary battles between tremendous drivers that generated some of the sport’s most iconic moments.
 
It’s what today’s NASCAR world is missing.
 
Last week’s Twitter spat between Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch that sparked more sniping from each driver through the media was the latest example of just how much those two truly don’t like each other. It’s been an ongoing battle that has manifested itself on the track at times as well as off.
 
But it’s all NASCAR has right now.
 
Busch has been in the middle of more than a few other tussles in his career including this season when he took a swing, that depending on who you ask landed, at Logano back in Las Vegas.
 
Things have died down between the two since and until Busch got into it with Keselowski, it’s been a relatively quiet year on the rivalry front across NASCAR’s top tiers.
 
Purposely crashing one another or breaking into fisticuffs straddle the line between what’s acceptable behavior in the sport. There were no sanctions against Busch when he walked down pit road and up to Logano to confront him in Vegas nor did anything happen to Austin Cindric after his punting of Kaz Grala at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park Truck Series race earlier this month. So it appears the sanctioning body has a lot of tolerance on the behavior front in most cases.
 
For now, we’ll just have to accept social media sniping and snark with an occasional wisecrack during an interview or a creative GIF on Twitter for what passes as a rivalry these days.
 
Blame sponsors, motorhome lots, multi-car teams and political correctness if you like. Whatever the reason, NASCAR rivalries have for the most part gone the way of the dodo bird, pay phones and a good Tom Cruise movie.
 
I can see Jimmy Spencer’s eyes rolling from here.
 
The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Motor Racing Network.

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