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Head2Head: Did Patrick have good reason to wreck Hornish?

May 07, 2012, ,

Danica Patrick and Sam Hornish Jr. renewed their 20-year rivalry Saturday at Talladega as the duo were racing for 12th position coming to the checkered. Hornish was on the inside and able to beat Patrick to the line, but as they crossed, Hornish's No. 12 drifted up into Patrick's No. 7, squeezing her into the wall.

Video: Tempers flare between Patrick and Hornish coming to the finish

Did Danica Patrick have good reason to wreck Sam Hornish Jr.?


The double standard applied to Danica Patrick is mind-boggling at times. Many a male driver has done what Patrick did Saturday at Talladega to cheers and praises, yet when Danica does it, this microscope comes out and undeserved criticism is heaped upon her shoulders.

Here's what we know. Sam Hornish Jr. passed Patrick on the last lap and then as they crossed the line, side-by-side, Hornish drifted up the track, pushing Patrick into the wall. As they went into Turn 1, Patrick put a bumper on Hornish's No. 12 and it sent him into the wall.

The he said/she said after the fact is humorous, but also meaningless as no one really knows the thoughts of those involved but Patrick and Hornish. But what's unfortunate is unnecessary criticism hurled toward Patrick. When excessive, this behavior is punished (see Kyle Busch), but let's be real, this was nothing. Tempers flare at Talladega, and as far as outbursts are concerned, this one is rather tame.

We all enjoyed last season as Brian Vickers sent Tony Stewart into the tires at Infineon after Stewart dumped Vickers earlier in the race. The pit road antics of Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch at Darlington still earn a chuckle or two when discussed. Yet, Patrick does the same thing and she is a villain?

Haters find reasons to hate, but stop with the double-standards. Were her actions necessary? Probably not. Were they excessive or out of the norm? Not at all.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

Sam Hornish Jr. sounded like a teacher disappointed in a student. "Isn't very cool at all," he told a television interviewer after getting hooked into the wall by Danica Patrick on the cool-down lap in the Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. His simple words summed up the perfect reaction to something that didn't need to happen.

Listen, we all love Patrick's fire and spunkiness. We love that she doesn't take garbage from anyone, and how stock cars fit her aggressive style. But in NASCAR, you pick your battles. And it doesn't go over well when you pick them with a guy like Hornish, one of the classiest acts in motorsports, and someone who doesn't exactly have a reputation for roughing people up on the race track.

Hornish said he had a tire going down, which was why he squeezed Patrick up into the wall, which started all this. From TV replays, it was tough to tell. Regardless, it's indeed not cool to spin someone post-race at a place like Talladega, where goodness knows what could happen. Besides, in a contact sport, you can't react to contact by taking the other guy out -- something Kyle Busch learned the hard way. Time and place, as Jimmie Johnson has said. Time and place.

Patrick and Hornish have a complicated relationship that goes all the way back to go-karting. They've always raced each other hard, and always will. Nothing wrong with that. But hard racing comes with scrapes sometimes. And you can't always react to those scrapes by turning someone into the wall.

David Caraviello, NASCAR.COM

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

Patrick wasn't happy with how things transpired and bumped Hornish going into Turn 1, sending him into the wall. Both drivers had vastly different explanations -- not only about the wreck but their post-race discussion -- in their televisions interviews afterward. NASCAR has said neither driver will be punished, although both will have a discussion before practice at Darlington this weekend. We've seen drivers lose their tempers before, but was Danica out-of-line on this one? David Caraviello and Bill Kimm have their opinions. Read theirs and weigh in with your own in the comments below.