NASCAR is in the process of undergoing a youth movement, and there several young drivers trying to make a name for themselves in the Cup Series.
Young drivers have the difficult task of deciding how to race veteran drivers, and it can be tough to determine if they should be aggressive or respectful in certain situations. It’s challenging because they want to earn the respect of their peers, but they also don’t want to cross the line and race disrespectfully.
Chase Elliott, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and William Byron were asked about the subject at NASCAR’s Media Tour, and they each discussed how to go about racing respectfully and racing hard.
“It’s hard to come in and be a rookie and draw a line in the sand,” Elliott said. “It doesn’t mean you have to be completely rude to people. But I do there were times where I was — not just the whole Martinsville deal — but I think there were other times where I was taken advantage of for maybe being too respectful on the track at times.”
Elliott said sometimes drivers need to be a little greedy if that means doing what is best for the team to try and win a race.
Stenhouse said it’s fine to race harder and not worry about being as “respectful” at the end of stages and races when there’s a chance for a win or to earn points.
Byron said that as a rookie it’s important to earn the respect from his peers.
“That’s the most important thing for your success as well as long term success in this sport,” Byron said. “You want to make sure those guys know how you race and how you go about things. So for me, I feel like that’s what I’m going to focus on the first 10 or 15 races. After that, I feel like I’ll be able to get into my own way of doing things and hopefully be able to win a lot of races.”
It’s a challenge for young drivers — especially rookies — because they want to be respected by the veteran drivers. They also don’t want to cause any scuffles. However, no one wants to be a pushover either, so it’s certainly a difficult line to balance.