@nascarcasm’s pros and cons: Taking your helmet off during a scuffle
By @nascarcasm | Tuesday, September 21, 2021
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For some reason, fans are heavily invested in whether or not a driver removes his helmet during an altercation. But there are many benefits and drawbacks to doing so, which we will discuss here.
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In a pinch, the helmet can become an ersatz weapon. You can take it off and try to smack the other guy with it. It not only protects your head, but can also inflict pain. It’s the Swiss Army Knife of NASCAR.
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Helmets are expensive. Why take it off and risk it being lost or misplaced in the scuffle. Instead, throw something expendable, like a water bottle. Sure, you may hit nothing but tow truck like Matt Mills here but at the very least that gets you a starting-quarterback job with the New York Jets.
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As evidenced here, keeping the helmet on clearly doesn’t give you any sort of competitive advantage in the fight. In fact, it might make you more top-heavy and more susceptible to being thrown to the ground. Keep your center of gravity low, people.
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If you take your helmet off, fights will happen like this one. The most violent moment here is when Regan Smith takes Ty Dillon’s hat. What are you going to do, yell “GOT YOUR HAT, GOT YOUR HAT” and then threaten to sell it on eBay? This wouldn’t have happened had they just kept their helmets on.
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Depending on the nature of the fight, removing the helmet beforehand is absolutely necessary. Can you imagine if Clint Bowyer hadn’t done so before sprinting through the garage? That would be too much unnecessary weight. Hell, we’d still be waiting for him to show up at the No. 24 hauler.
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Devastating DDTs into the track surface are far less painful if you’re still wearing your helmet. You live, you learn.
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Said Sun Tzu in “The Art Of War,” “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.” Such tactics are near impossible without seeing the opponent’s face.
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Because sometimes you’re taking your helmet off before a fight before you even realize there will be a fight and the results can be somewhat painful on your face. Just leave it on.
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Can you imagine if this tense discussion had been ruined by the drivers involved wearing their helmets? This is our most handsome skirmish in NASCAR history.
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We’ve run this fight through several data-driven simulations and the results are as follows: Had Joey Logano kept his helmet on, his face would have felt less pain and Kyle Busch’s hand would have felt more.
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Without helmets, we are able to see the enraged facial expression of the drivers. It adds to the intensity of the battle. Look at Joey Logano’s face as he throws the bottle of water at Tony – “YEAH THAT’S RIGHT, EAT DASANI.”
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If you take your helmet off, it immediately makes you more vulnerable to an attack from another driver who hasn’t removed his helmet. Had Kenseth kept his helmet on, Jeff Gordon might not have been so ready with the shove. I mean, why remove armor before a fight? That’s like putting on a suit of armor before a medieval battle but thinking, “Nah, I don’t need this codpiece.”