We know that Nascar has its fair share of problems, but is Jennerstown Speedway, located in New Jersey, really that bad? Thanks to racer Alex Zanardi, who was arrested back in April after a drunken driving incident, the world knows the answer to that question. Before his arrest, Zanardi was among the fastest guys in the IndyCar Series, but after his arrest he fell off the grid. Not so with his former teammate James Hinchcliffe. Hinchcliffe, who raced at Jennerstown with Zanardi, won the IndyCar Series in 2018 and is currently ranked 8th in the all-time point standings. If you ask us, Hinchcliffe is living proof that you can bounce back from a terrible misfortune.
Hinchcliffe credits his family, particularly his dad, for helping him adjust to life after his accident. After being treated at a hospital, he was released and drove back home. Three days later he was back on the track, proving to everyone that he was still the same aggressive driver he always was. Today he is one of the most popular and respected drivers in the IndyCar Series. This kind of resilience makes him an inspiration to all those who have suffered a similar fate. While we are on the topic of inspiration, let’s not forget about Jimmie Johnson, who has been named the 2018 Nascar Sprint Cup Series Champion, becoming the second African-American to do so. While there is no question that Johnson is a great driver, his remarkable achievements on the track are even more impressive when you consider his rise from poverty and homelessness. If there is one thing we’ve learned from the pandemic, it’s that a combination of grit and determination can get you far in life.
The Arrests That Shook Nascar
That’s not all that’s shaken the world of Nascar, though. While it’s been a struggle for the sport to find its way back, the biggest news came in 2018, when seven drivers were arrested after an altercation at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. One of the drivers, Tony Stewart, was suspended for two years by NASCAR and subsequently banned from the sport for life. Stewart, who is an all-time great, has had his ups and downs over the years, especially in the last few years, but he’s always been a class act. It’s impossible to say whether or not Stewart will ever be able to race again, but he has proved time and time again that he is not a good candidate for rehabilitation. This makes him a cautionary tale for anyone who might be tempted to return to a life of crime. The other six arrested drivers were also banned from the sport for various lengths of time.
These arrests were particularly embarrassing for NASCAR, not just because of the criminal activity but also the fact that it stemmed from an argument over pit road traffic. One of the drivers, Paul Chiappetta, reportedly threw a cup at another driver, Max Angelelli, during the altercation. Angelelli’s car was damaged in the attack and he suffered a broken nose and orbital socket. Needless to say, this is not the kind of publicity the sport wants right now. Luckily for them, this was just a one-off incident and they seem to have moved on from it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be the kind of incident that will be easily forgotten.
The Future Of Nascar
The future of Nascar doesn’t look too bright. The sport has had to deal with some major scandals in the past decade, including the recent arrests, and it seems like things are only getting worse. The last few years have seen some of the lowest ratings in the history of the sport, due, in part, to the fact that a lot of fans don’t feel that they can trust the drivers anymore. While we don’t want to make light of the pandemic or the suffering that it has caused, it does provide an opportunity to have a fresh start, to leave behind bad habits and empty promises. The fact that so many people will be enjoying life how they want to again means that there is a chance for the drivers of Nascar to earn back the trust of their fans. On the other side of the coin, though, is the fact that the sport could lose a large chunk of its audience if it doesn’t address its problems. It’s a difficult balancing act and one that seems to be becoming more challenging every year.