What is needed is patience
by Stan Creekmore, NASCAR Editor

March 1, 2003

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Sadly, complaining has become a way of life in the Winston Cup arena which means its like Chicken Little crying the sky is falling. Few listen when it really counts.

Convinced it was impossible to be beaten by a legal car, Rusty Wallace loudly proclaimed several of the top Chevrolet teams had been cheating at Daytona. Wallace went one step further saying NASCAR officials were aware they had been hoodwinked and would cast a keener eye towards those teams by the time the schedule brought the show to Talladega Superspeedway.

Rusty Wallace
Photo: by Ford

What could have been a "huge" story turned into a footnote because most that know Wallace know that his mentality was the footing for his comments. "If he gets beat," said one former member of Penske South, "The first thing he thinks is the other person must have been cheating. Its good to believe your that good, but its going to get in your way if you can see that others can be just as good."

One week later Wallace is backpedaling from his "cheating" comments. Maybe that's because he dominated two-thirds of the Subway 400, falling from the lead after his team failed to keep up with the changing track surface. Wallace is not alone in putting his mouth in gear before his brain. Nearly every driver exiting his racecar after an on-track incident makes some kind of statement that lacks the backing of the truth. Anger will do that to a person and is far easier to forgive than the ramblings of a driver dissatisfied because he got beat to the checkered flag.

However, drivers are not alone. The media is equally quick to jump to conclusions.

Its all part of our every shrinking, running at light speed world that at times seems more like a runaway roller coaster, instead of a high-speed train into the future.

The season is only two weeks old and already the patterns are set. It would be nice if we could all just take a breather, but alas the schedule doesn't allow for such a moment until after Martinsville, April 14th to be exact. Until then, it would be nice if before the mouth is shifted into gear we give the brain a few minutes to get up to full speed.

It is time to think about patience being a virtue. Nothing could be truer as the circuit rolls through the downforce dependent tracks of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Darlington Speedway. Which is in itself ironic. Three weeks of thrashing and frustration followed by 500 laps at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The author can be contacted stanc@autoracing1.com

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