NASCAR is the only professional motorsport where physical confrontations between drivers after a race is expected. The fans love it, the series exploits it, and the unofficial mantra has always been “Have at it, boys!”

But fighting without rules is chaos. Boxing and MMA have regulations specifying what is and is not legal in combat. Since fighting is so engrained in NASCAR tradition, it makes sense that rules should be established to govern the practice.

Several months ago Demaras Racing posted an article on the altercation between lil’ Kyle Larson and big Bubba Wallace. Contact on the race track turned into physical violence on the infield grass as a furious Wallace accosted an Larson, who was unwilling to fight. Simply put, it was not a fair fight; Bubba has 40 lbs on 5′ 6″ Larson, and a suggestion was made to implement MMA weight classes to NASCAR fights.

More recently, an altercation between rookie racer Noah Gragson and series bad-guy Ross Chastain stole headlines when cameras filmed Chastain sucker punching his enraged rival. Gregson verbally confronted Chastain for his on-track behaviour, grabbed him by the firesuit, but was not ready for the right hook that spun his head around. Security officials immediately stepped in, literally catching three of Gregson’s punches before they landed on Chastain.

During the broadcast of this week’s NASCAR race, the Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch was asked about the recent bout between Chastain and Gregson, and didn’t hesitate to stir up controversy.

“I feel like security stepped in about 10 seconds too quick. You let one guy get a heck of a hit, and then you block the other guy from getting a hit back? You’ve got to at least let the guy try and then maybe get in. I would seriously urge NASCAR to go with some hockey rules. Once you get to the ground, we’re going to break it up. Or when one of you guys looks gassed, we’re going to break it up. Let them get a good 30 seconds. It’s going to be way better for TV and ratings are going to go off the charts.”

Kyle ‘Rowdy‘ Busch, No. 8 Camaro, Richard Childress Racing

Busch’s comments about handling fighting in racing like the NHL does drew much attention from Canadians. Yes, hockey is one of the only professional sports where fighting routinely happens on the field of play. Fighting is a much a part of the hockey as a breakaway. But these aren’t madmen with sticks in their hands and blades on their boots. Hockey fighting is governed by The Code, and while officials are supposed to punish players for breaking rules, enforcers take matters into their own hands to hand out ‘justice’ if incidents aren’t fairly officiated.

The Code is an unwritten set of rules based on mutual respect for opponents, and protecting teammates.

  • Break the Rules, Expect to Pay the Price. The fact that the referee didn’t see the incident doesn’t mean that your opponents missed it too. They will make sure to dole out swift justice.

  • No Sucker Punches. There is a proper decorum to challenge someone to a fight. But blindsiding someone when they are not looking is considered cowardly, no matter how much the other guy had it coming.

  • Pick On Someone Your Own Size (or BIGGER); This is essentially the weight class system in the NHL. Heavyweights fight heavyweights, and only fight smaller players when instigated by said small fry.

  • Combatants Must Agree to Fight: To challenge soeone to a fight, stand square to your opponent, drop the stick and get ready to drop the gloves.

  • Premeditated Fighting is Acceptable. It is deemed courteous to politely ask a player if he wants to fight. It is the gentemanly way of instigating a fight and a fine example of good Code etiquette. Respected enforcers will routinely remove their helmets completely to protect their opponents hands; the ultimate mark of respect.

  • When a Fight Reaches the Ground … IT IS OVER. When one player is on the ice, regardless of whether he is on his back or cannot defend himself, the fight must stop immediately, It is dishonorable to his a player when he’s down.

When rules aren’t enforced properly, The Code dictates how justice is served by the enforcers, the noble warriors of hockey. Not quite sure if NASCAR is really ready for this level of chivalry.

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