The hurt feelings and damaged cars from revenge were so numerous this weekend, one could have mistaken the postrace atmosphere at Watkins Glen International for that of the Bristol night race during its peak in the late 90s and early 2000s.
All that was missing was a thrown helmet.
But Bristol is still two weeks away.
The Cup and Xfinity races on the New York track again provided further evidence that road courses are the new short tracks, and it wouldn’t hurt to see more added to the schedule.
Don’t believe us? Here’s proof from the last five years.
Ok, so a lot happened on Sunday. But even more happened after the race.
Bubba Wallace went on an expletive filled rant against Kyle Busch after their run-in.
William Byron provided a “no comment” on his retaliation against Busch.
But Jimmie Johnson?
After he was wrecked from contact with Ryan Blaney, a clearly angry Johnson confronted the Team Penske driver on pit road. Afterward, he shared his feelings with NBCSN. This isn’t the kind of Johnson we’re used to seeing. But we’re also not used to seeing Johnson desperate to make the payoffs.
“I couldn’t hear what he was saying, his lips were quivering so bad that he can’t even speak,” Johnson said. “I guess he was nervous or scared or both, I don’t know what the hell the problem is. He just drove through me and spun us out, and it clearly has big implications on what we’re trying to do for the playoffs right now. Clearly not happy with his actions there.”
A short book could be written about Chastain and his altercations with drivers over the last few years.
The latest chapter was Saturday between him and Allgaier in the first stage of the Xfinity race, when Chastain made contact with Allgaier in the inner loop and sent him into a tire barrier on Lap 14.
Six laps later, Allgaier used his front bumper to get his message across.
“We’ve had a rocky relationship over our racing career,” Allgaier said after he finished the race in third. “Unfortunately, I’ve been on the receiving end a number of times of him running into me. He flat wrecked me in the Bus Stop back there. At some point you just get to a point where you’re tired of getting run into. I ran back into him. I had no intention of putting him in the wall. I wanted to spin him out for sure. I wanted him to kind of have the same feeling that I had a few laps before whenever he spun me out.”
Said Chastain: “It’s better if I keep my opinion to myself.”
Jimmie Johnson vs. Martin Truex Jr., Charlotte Roval 2018
There’s one road course left on the Cup schedule: The Charlotte Roval (Sept. 29).
On any given day, Truex and Johnson are two of the more mild-mannered drivers in the garage.
That says a lot about the power of road courses.
On the final turn of the final lap of the inaugural Cup race on the Roval, Johnson locked his brakes while trying to pass Truex for the win. That sent Johnson’s car spinning and into Truex’s car, which also went around.
After Ryan Blaney slipped by for the win, Truex rammed into the back of Johnson’s car and turned him around.
“I was not mad at all about Jimmie trying to win,” Truex said the next weekend. “That’s his job. That’s what we all try to do every single weekend. He was trying to win the race. I get that.
“I was mad that he screwed up.”
While you have to wait two months for Cup to return to a road course, the Xfinity Series will satisfy your needs for two of the next three races. First up, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this Saturday (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN).
Ross Chastain vs. Joey Gase, Mid-Ohio 2018
A year ago, Chastain and his JD Motorsports crew members got into an expletive-laden scuffle with Joey Gase following the race at Mid-Ohio.
The ruckus was a result of Chastain pushing Gase deep into a corner on the last lap and spinning him.
“I don’t really appreciate that a whole lot,” Gase said afterward. “He’s (JD Motorsports team owner) Johnny Davis’ golden child. He can’t do anything wrong. It’s always the other guy’s fault. I passed him clean through the Keyhole, he left the door open. In the esses, he hit me six times and pushed me off the track. He races everyone hard, but if you race him that way, it’s a problem.”
Something dramatic happens on the last lap of this Truck Series race every year.
But only once did it result in the driver who lost tackling the winner while he celebrated on the frontstretch.
The series returns north of the border on Aug. 25
There were no blows or expletives exchanged after Smith performed a bump-and-run on Tagliani in the final corner of this race to capture the win.
But Tagliani let it be known he wasn’t happy with the maneuver or Smith’s choice of a burnout celebration.
“He knows I’m not going to be there next weekend to retaliate and give him the payback,” Tagliani said. “It’s just really unfortunate to win like that, but also to see him celebrate after a win like that … but he knows he wasn’t going to win unless he pushed us off.”
Regan Smith vs. Ty Dillon, Watkins Glen 2015
Smith had an eventful year on road courses in 2015. Before Mid-Ohio he was on the opposite end of a bumper at Watkins Glen when Ty Dillon tagged his right rear in Turn 1 and spun him on a restart.
After the race, Smith grabbed Dillon by the collar. They began grappling and had to be separated by NASCAR officials.