Another NASCAR season is upon us, so surely this introduction will make a hackneyed reference to starting your engines before diving into predictions for the Daytona 500, right? Not exactly. Since this website has more ruthless interests, when we talk about racing, we’re really just waiting for fistycuffs to break out.
Because while hockey is touted as the only non-combat sport with fighting, there’s a longstanding tradition of donnybrooks breaking out at the racetrack. It’s understandable; they’re racing at breakneck speeds and if another racer pulls jackass move usually reserved for a teen driver on his cellphone pulling out of a Sonic, it could be life-threatening. Even if they don’t react on the day, these guys have a long memory, and they know they’ll see the perpetrator again down the line.
From Jeff Gordon to Tony Stewart to Kurt Busch, not even the biggest names in racing were immune to throwing down on the track or in the winners circle. So what do we expect to see this year in terms of scraps? Let’s look at the odds.
NASCAR Fight Odds for 2017
Over/under fights in 2017: 2.5
Last year only saw two true scraps, both coming from the Camping World Truck Series. But with rule changes restricting how much damage a car can sustain and still be allowed to race, more drivers could find their days ending early due, meaning more time to hash out their differences in the pits.
Odds of getting into a fight in 2017
- Kurt Busch: 2/1
- Brad Keselowski: 3/1
- Matt Kenseth: 7/2
- Cole Custer: 4/1
- Jimmie Johnson: 4/1
- Danica Patrick: 10/1
Busch didn’t have any true fights last year, but did have a confrontation with Kevin Harvick at Talladega. He’s also got a history of throwing down. Then again, most on this list do. Granted, Patrick hasn’t thrown down in her NASCAR career, but her fiery personality is well-known. It’s not right to hit a lady, but I could certainly see her wailing on someone else.
Odds of a “rematch” (any sort of physical altercation) in 2017
- Matt Kenseth vs Brad Keselowski: 9/2
This is probably the best feud in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup right now. The two tangled back in 2014 and things got heated again during last year’s Chase. If they’re both in contention again this year – which they should be – they’re sure to be fender-to-fender at some point. What happens in the garage after that is up to them.
- Ryan Reed vs Ryan Sieg (Xfinity Series): 11/1
It’s hard to say who was in the right and who was in the wrong on this one. Generally, unless it’s a grievous on-track error, I fault the guy that starts the fight (in this case Sieg). But Reed kinda seems like a twerp. Looking ahead, the chances of him pissing off Sieg again with his racing are pretty good.
- Joey Logano vs Denny Hamlin: 19/1
This one dates all the way back to 2013, when the pair got physical at Bristol. The former Gibbs Racing teammates clearly don’t care for each other, as evidenced by their ensuing social media war-of-words. But Logano took the high road last year when he had the chance to reignite things. Bummer.
- John Wes Townley vs Spencer Gallagher (Camping World Truck Series): 1,000/1
A lot of times, NASCAR “fights” are just pushing and shoving. But Townley actually got some shots in when he went after Gallagher last year. If I was Gallagher, I’d want some vengeance! Unfortunately, Townley retired, so Gallagher won’t get his chance on the track. He’ll have to take this one to the streets! Townley, come out to play-ay!
Photo Credit: public domain.