If someone wrote on your Facebook page or said something to you on Twitter about how they hated the way you handled a situation and that you are terrible at your job, how would you handle that? Regardless of if they have a right to be angry, most of us would probably spout something mean back or, depending on how well we know them, delete them off of our friends list. That would be a smart thing to do, but it more than likely will leave you wondering why they would post something so nasty, wouldn't it? Well, that is something each NASCAR driver has to deal with at some point, but most recently Trevor Bayne, Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch have had those same things dished out at them. It's the one downside to having a fan page and Twitter account.
The drivers have done a really good job of making themselves more available to the fans. For those of us who have been following NASCAR & other forms of auto racing for a decade or more, it is easy to remember a time when we didn't have the option of constantly knowing what they were up to. From a TV show they were going to be on to hanging out with friends or simply playing with their kids, they have really opened up their lives to us in a way we don't really deserve. That is one of the great things about our sport though, we can easily become so knowledgeable about who our favorites are. And even better than that, we can write to them and know they will read it, even if they don't respond. But with that knowledge needs to come a responsibility and some restraint when they do something that frustrates us.
We all know Trevor Bayne is a great kid, and I can't imagine how anyone wasn't cheering when he shot to stardom in the Daytona 500. It is surprising then how the tone changed almost overnight after the confusion in Talladega last month. He was put in a really bad spot with how everything worked out, and Jeff Gordon's fans ignored the fact that Jeff wasn't upset about it. Yeah, it cost Gordon a shot at the win, but it didn't do any favors for Matt Kenseth or Trevor either. It was shocking to get on Trevor's fan page and see all of the comments calling him nasty names and saying they are no longer his fans.
Matt Kenseth's fans have a lot more reason to be mad at Brian Vickers, but not from what happened in Martinsville. And of course what Kyle Busch did in Texas has been well documented as one of the dumbest things ever done with a race vehicle. That doesn't mean that we need to go straight to them and spout out a bunch of nasty stuff about how terrible a driver they are and say that they need to be kicked out of NASCAR, etc. First of all, these guys are in the Cup series for a reason. You don't get a ride in NASCAR, let alone the Cup series, without being extremely talented. As a fan of Brian and Trevor's, it is frustrating and hard to see all of the backlash they have gotten. They are regular people too and deserve some level of respect, even if they made a bad decision.
If you want to express your opinion about what happened, fine. But do it on your own status, NASCAR's page, or one of the tracks or other media outlets. Just think about what you are typing before you hit enter. I'm not saying to never tell them you are frustrated, but there are right and wrong ways to do it, and a lot of what I have seen recently is definitely not right. They are big enough to handle negative opinions, but do you really think they care about your full 'heat of the moment' rant? When Steve Wallace wrecks one of my favorites, I wouldn't just go over to his fan page (if he has one) and tell him I think he is the worst person in the world. Or more accurately, since I 'like' Aric Almirola, I didn't go and share my opinion of him wrecking Blake Koch at Richmond (I think it was). It wouldn't do any good; he has absolutely no clue who I am.
What surprises me even more is that even if one of the drivers haven't done anything wrong, they can still get criticized. Someone said something really nasty to Cole Whitt on his own page and all he did was make his Cup series debut! The drivers have given us a wonderful gift and most don't even rely on PR people to manage their pages. They don't have to do it, but they want to have connections with their fans, so when they meet us at the track or at an appearance, they can already have an idea of who we are. Besides, if you 'hate' someone as much as what so many have said lately, why do you follow them or 'like' their fan page? So, if your favorite gets wrecked this weekend (I hope that doesn't happen), please wait a few minutes, take a deep breath, look at the situation from every side and think before you type!
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