V8 Supercars racing needs more excitement. It needs more action. Even if it was the best sporting show in the world, we should still be looking for more, but I have a simple, fair way of spicing up the on and off track action.
In my opinion, the on-track racing rules need to be relaxed to allow closer, personality-driven racing.
At the moment, the on-track action is being overruled by a retired racing driver and his steward mates who are telling them what they can and can’t do.
The drivers need to be able to sort out their actions themselves – and NASCAR is a great example of what we should be looking at. A pretty good comment came from Jeff Gordon who was involved in an incident recently. He jumped out of the car and said “yep, it was my fault, I know I’ve got it coming to me in the next couple of races.”
Gordon knows that he’ll get his back, and he is man enough to accept that.
I think we’ve just bred a pack whingers. You never used to see that. I was lucky enough to race when we had Colin Bond, Peter Brock and Larry Perkins that were still quite good behind the wheel. They’d throw a bumper on you and move you out of the way – and nothing was ever done about it. Even Dick Johnson. If you got into him, you knew it was going to come back to you at some point. You never had all of these steward problems that we see today.
Maybe the current crop of drivers and teams can’t be blamed for this – they’ve been brought up in the regime. When something goes wrong, you’ve got to blame someone for it and try and get them hung on the rules. If they left it more open for the drivers to sort out, we would have better racing.
Sure, there might be a bit of carnage for a while, but probably no more than there is now, and they’d probably have more respect for each other.
At the moment, we’ve got an IPO (Independent Prosecuting Officer) and DSO (Driving Standards Observer) there that want to stick their nose in it.
For example, Russell Ingall made a passing move on Rick Kelly at Hidden Valley. Rick was holding him up, Russell moved him aside and Russell had to go and explain himself to the stewards. It’s ridiculous. What a waste of time!
If you let the drivers do their thing on the track and sort it themselves, their personalities would come out more off the track. Now, they can’t speak their mind because they are so muted. It’s boring and it’s only going to get worse if it keeps happening.
In NASCAR, they let personality of the drivers shine in the car as well as out of it. It’s a lesson we could learn from.
Of the current drivers, there’s a few who I think could play by more relaxed on-track rules – Craig Lowndes, Jamie Whincup, Jason Richards, Mark Winterbottom – they’re all fair and aggressive. Probably at the top of my list would be Will Davison. He doesn’t take any shit, and he doesn’t whinge when it goes wrong.
I guarantee you that if we didn’t have the stupid rules that we have, Marcos Ambrose would still be here racing V8 Supercars.
He just got sick and tired with people who have got nothing to do with the actual racing of the cars telling him what he can and can’t do.
He has gone over to America, drives how he wants to drive, lets his personality come out on the track and you can see it, he has really prospered since then.
He couldn’t wait to get the hell out of here – he couldn’t be himself. Look at an interview with him now. If he’s done something wrong, he accepts the blame and sorts it out with the guys around him. It’s the way it is over there and he’s quickly found his groove.
Anyway, that’s my two cents worth. It’s great to be here on Speedcafe as part of the Café Crew. I’ll be racing at Townsville in the Fujitsu V8 Series – you won’t miss my car! Come say g’day!