*Turn 2 Blog is a regular feature on InsideDirtRacing.com. Here, site operators Michael Moats and Richard Allen take turns offering their thoughts on the dirt racing topics of the day from east Tennessee and beyond.
The latest edition of the Turn 2 Blog is presented by the American Crate All-Star Series.
Richard: Most racing fans have either seen or heard of a sign that promoters have placed in several short track pit areas around the country that reads something like, “Fight in my pit area and get arrested, fight on my front straightaway and get a bonus.” And there is no doubt that adding drama never hurts ticket sales for the weeks to come when a racing rivalry turns bitter enough to include some pushing and shoving or even a punch or two. However, such incidents can go too far.
On Saturday night in the USA Nationals at Wisconsin’s Cedar Lake Speedway there was, in my opinion, an example of an incident that went too far when drivers Tyler Erb and Bobby Pierce engaged in what proved to be a dangerous situation following on-track contact that resulted in a spin by Erb. DirtVision.com video shows that Erb then waited on Pierce to come back around under caution then met the No. 32 car with his No. 1 machine head on and began actually climbing up the nose of Pierce’s car.
As I said earlier, drama never hurts. But I also used the word dangerous and where that began to apply was when Pierce’s father, Bob Pierce, ran onto the track in an attempt to confront Erb. At that point, a World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series official chased the angry father onto the speedway with cars still circulating around the track, albeit at slow speed. Erb then began backing down the track with Pierce and the official in tow. Erb then gassed his car pulling the official briefly before he was thrown to the ground.
Ultimately, both drivers were disqualified and their teams were escorted from the speedway property. Undoubtedly, there will be more judgments to come.
As I said, this situation went too far in that cars were used as weapons, a team member ran onto the track, and someone(an official) who was not directly involved in the initial dispute was placed in danger.
What are your thoughts?
Michael: If guys want to wreck each other, that’s one thing. But to ram your car into another driver’s car is totally unacceptable under any circumstance.
Both drivers seem to bring a lot of attention to themselves with their hard racing. They do make contact with a fair amount of other cars. Erb has had an especially bad week with other incidents leading up to Saturday’s main event. To do something like what took place on the track leads to bad reputation.
I’ve never driven a race car, but I have competed in other sports and consider myself a competitive person. I would like to think that I would never do something like that if I did have the opportunity to race a car.
The easiest and classiest thing to do would have been talk about it after the race. I’m sure it would end as “agree to disagree” moment, but each side would know where the other stands and there wouldn’t be anything tarnished for Erb.
Richard: As the readers of this piece may have already seen and heard, the two drivers spent much of their time during their DirtonDirt.com post-race interviews recounting other incidents they had with each other and other racers. And these hot summer months often times lead to flare ups such as we saw. But as you say, this went well beyond a simple flare up.
Last week, we here in east Tennessee saw a flare up between Crate Late Model drivers Zach Sise and Cory Hedgecock at 411 Motor Speedway. In that case, the cars came to a halt in the infield, helmets were thrown, and harsh words were exchanged, but the discord stopped short of head-on collisions and officials being thrown to the ground. This type of situation may not necessarily be ideal, but it is the sort of thing that can sell tickets while not necessarily endangering others. Erb and the Pierces endangered other people and that’s unacceptable.
Neither of these drivers compete regularly on the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series. There, in my opinion, have to be repercussions for this incident. Every drivers meeting I have ever attended warns against having a crew member come onto the track so Pierce and his team have to be dealt with for that and the further escalation it caused. And, of course, Erb has to be somehow admonished for his actions.
It’s up to the WoO Late Model Series to levy punishments but I believe these will, and should be, significant. What do you think?
Michael: I fully expected the World of Outlaws to issue some type of fine and suspension for Erb. Pierce could possibly get a fine since his dad, Bob, came onto the track to show Erb his displeasure. I don’t believe Pierce will get any kind of suspension, but could get a strong warning.
Erb is a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series regular. He may get a warning from them not to be resorting to such tactics. It will be interesting to see what kind of interaction on and off the track Erb gets from his fellow Lucas Oil drivers.
One thing is for sure, both drivers have their share of fans and detractors. Both are expected to be at Florence this week. Josh King doesn’t need help selling tickets since Florence Speedway is under a local rule concerning attendance in the grandstands. Most eyes will be on both drivers to see if they get near each other at any time this week.
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