Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I really don't care about auto racing, but I do have to say something about the Montoya-Pruett incident in Mexico City this past weekend. I had a few more pressing concerns to address first, which I why I am so late in addressing this topic. I just don't see what the big deal was.

I really don't think of Montoya as a bad teammate. First off, I don't think of auto racing as a team sport. At the end of each race, only one guy takes the victory lap. And any guy who can say with a straight face that he's glad another driver from his coven of drivers won the race is either lying or has no business in a competitive professional endeavor (I'm not convinced that racing is a sport).

On an unrelated note, in case you're wondering, blackjack isn't a team game. And any one who tells you it is a team game is a tool or a moron, or both. Unless you share equally in a common objective and the results of said objective, you are not a team. Yes, every body at a blackjack table wants to win money from the house. But show me one person at that table that's going to share his/her winnings with another gambler or partake in another's losses. Unless you have an equal stake in the result, you aren't a real team.

So I have no problem with Montoya's tactics. In the replays, and God knows ESPN showed a million of them, it looked like the rubbing didn't have to happen. It seemed from the view from Montoya's car that Pruett tried to cut him off as Montoya tried to pass. If Pruett had allowed him to pass, maybe he could have passed Montoya down the track. By cutting in front, Pruett was just as responsible for spinning out as Montoya was.

As I've said, I know very little about racing. I don't know if there is some sort of unwritten code (a tradition, I'm sure, dating back to the early days of racing when the majority of drivers were illiterate, way back in 1999) that says you can't pass in a turn. Or maybe it says you can't pass a teammate in a turn. I really don't care about the oral traditions of stock car racing.

It's not every day (or ever, if memory serves) that I get to quote Shakespeare in this space, but Pruett's undignified post-race reaction reminded me a of a line from Hamlet. So here it is, with apologies to women everywhere: "The lady doth protest to much, methinks."

If any reader knows Pruett personally, I have a handy gift idea for his birthday or Christmas if you have trouble thinking of something to get him. This shirtt, available at the gawker gift shop, should remind him of the incident in Mexico City and his reaction to it. Outdouched is the perfect word for it. Or at least it would be if it were a word.

As much as it was a douche move for Montoya to pass in a turn, it was a douche move for Pruett to try to cut in front of him. The outdouching came when Montoya spun him out and cut across the dirt and went on to win the race. Unfortunately, it seems that the two have put their animosity behind them. A nice intra-team rivalry might have gotten me to watch a race or two.

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