Photo: Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Christie: NASCAR Needs to Work on Post-Crash Protocol

By Toby Christie, NASCAR Editor

Saturday night at Gateway Motorsports Park, John Wes Townley and Spencer Gallagher did not cement the foundation of friendship. On lap 144, Gallagher made contact which sent Townley crashing in turn one. Not to be outdone, Townley returned the favor 10 laps later. This impact ended both drivers’ night.

What ensued after the crash was kind of hilarious. Townley bull rushed Gallagher and knocked him to the ground, Gallagher grabbed Townley’s legs and pulled him to the ground. The two then got back to their feet and had what looked like a weird hugging match. Then they both tried to mimic moves they’ve seen pulled off on UFC, and they eventually were separated by NASCAR officials about a minute after their skirmish began.

It made for a hilarious video clip, but while everybody is rushing to come up with witty memes, or find other fight videos to compare this one to, let me remind you that at the time of the fight, the race was under the yellow flag. This fight could have very easily ended much worse.

If one truck had been flying around the track to catch up to the field before the red flag was displayed, one of — if not both — drivers could have been clipped and seriously injured. It is a wake up call that can — and probably will — be forgotten because of the press the actual fight will receive instead. However, in my opinion NASCAR needs to go back to the drawing board, and look at ways to improve the post-crash protocol when drivers are upset with each other after a crash. In the heat of the moment, Townley and Gallagher couldn’t control themselves. Also, when all hell began to break loose, safety personnel was concerned with helping clean up and remove race trucks, which had become stuck together in the racing groove.

There will more than likely be penalties announced after this, but lets just be thankful that all we have left of this fight is the comedic video clip that will without a doubt go viral. This could have ended much, much worse.

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Toby Christie is a contributing writer for Motorsports Tribune. He has been watching stock cars turn left since 1993, and has covered NASCAR as an accredited media member since 2007. Toby is a proud member of the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA). Additionally, Toby is a lifelong Miami Dolphins fan, sub-par guitarist and he is pretty good around a mini-golf course.

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