This will mostly be an opinion piece, but will be backed up by facts, statistics and whatever i feel can illustrate my point. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any other opinions out there and I welcome them in the comments below. With that in mind, these are five drivers that i personally believe have a negative effect on the sport.
Of course that doesn’t mean that these drivers don’t do good things for the sport or aren’t overall good for the sport in general, these are just examples of drivers that have done a lot of bad stuff that they should probably be ashamed. Again, that doesn’t mean they aren’t good for the sport in some way or another, they just give the sport a bad name with their other actions or circumstances.
5 Danica Patrick
While Danica Patrick’s time in auto racing is commendable and indicative of what women can do in Motorsports, she is also someone who has always seemed to have a bad attitude. I remember watching her during a few Indycar races and she seemed absolutely enraged almost every time she appeared on camera.
Her in car auto was beyond deplorable, her re pore with fans wasn’t much better and she always seemed to be more interested in herself than anything else. In fact, some even accuse her of announcing that she would run The Daytona 500 without even having a ride at the time. She then continued to make everything about her during her retirement tour and not the final two events she was racing in.
In the end, she just never seemed to have the same respect for the sport that other drivers did. She always seemed angry or even like she deserved better. She also just seemed to constantly make it all about her, which made things even worse. Again, that doesn’t mean her contributions to Motorsports isn’t important, and deserving of praise, but she definitely has a few black marks on her record as well.
4 Kyle Busch
While Kyle Busch’s behavior has changed a lot in the last couple of years, there are still some NASCAR fans that see his actions as unforgivable. With that being said, between his actions in The Camping World Truck Series that cost Ron Hornaday a champion in 2011 and his absolute dominance at the lower tiered levels of the sport, he is holding a lot of guys back.
Maybe not intentionally, but by racing in the lower tiers of the sport he is actively taking away opportunities for younger guys to take that seat. Furthermore, he has let his temper get the best of him countless times and exhibited behavior that is unbecoming of Monster Energy Cup Series veteran.
In the end, Busch is much better than he once ways personality wise and he has even learned how to use it to his advantage with the crowd, but that doesn’t exactly absolve him of his past actions. Maybe one day once he becomes a first ballot hall of famer that will change and we can view him more honorably, but he doesn’t exactly deserve that distinction right now
3 Dale Earnhardt Jr
Why is the golden boy on this list? To be blunt, he never lived up to expectations and became an overhyped sideshow that hurt the sport. Not only was that evident by the amount of television time that was devoted to Dale Jr during his Cup Series career, but also by how little the sport recognized other growing stars in that time.
Of course that’s not exactly Jr’s fault an he did eventually carve out a nice little career for himself at in The Cup Series, but the time that was devoted to him was absolutely not necessary. Furthermore, it stunted the growth of other stars that could have taken the sport by storm if given the right opportunity and publicity.
2 Chase Elliott
Speaking of over hyped sideshows, there is Chase Elliott, who continues to struggle to establish himself despite a win at Watkins Glen earlier in 2018. While Elliott is doing quite well for a driver that doesn’t exactly have the best equipment right now, the time that is being devoted to him in the process is absolutely ridiculous.
In fact, its almost Earnhardt Jr levels of absurdity, which is a very hard milestone to reach. Of course Elliott might one day live up to his famous name, he is nothing but an over hyped second generational driver right now and its taking away from other drivers. Unfortunately for anyone that’s not Chase Elliott, the media is going to continue to do this for the foreseeable future.
1 Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart might be one of the greatest men to ever strap into a stock car, but that doesn’t excuse what he has done in his personal life. With that being said, his involvement in the death of Kevin Ward Jr is something that will always leave a black mark on his career and life. Unfortunately for Stewart, this is likely going to continue to follow him, which will only hurt his name and that of NASCAR’s
In the end, Tony Stewart has done a lot for the sport of NASCAR, but he’s also done a lot of bad things. Beyond the Kevin Ward Jr incident, he has been known for his temper, attacking other drivers and settling things on the track. Of course that’s what a lot of fans liked about Stewart during his career, but it also is what got him in trouble in his personal life.
That’s why he leaves a black mark on the sport and thus shouldn’t be given the legendary status that many have heralded upon him. He is a phenomenal driver and very successful team owner, but that will never excuse the actions of taking someone else life and putting others in danger countless times through his career.