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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Avoidable Contact #108: When is it OK to hit a girl? | Hagerty Media

There might be three views of a secret, but there were just two video angles of this incident-the rear-facing camera of the car being struck, and the forward-facing camera of the car doing the striking-and they are both utterly damning. The scene is this: Second race of a three-race mixed-class regional weekend at Michigan's Gingerman Raceway.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/avoidable-contact/avoidable-contact-108-when-is-it-ok-to-hit-a...
13 REPLIES 13
audiocage
Detailer

"I personally encouraged this driver to report to impound afterwards..." I'm chuckling at the euphemistic phrasing that's certainly taking place here.

After spending a dozen years learning to run close and clean in Formula Fords (because the consequences were much more dire) it was a challenge to adjust to the legions of chuckleheads in IT and SM who thought every race was a demolition derby. At the same time, when the brain turns on all of the chemical taps, our inner lizard tends to reveal itself. It's funny how hard we'll race for a two-dollar trophy...
Gary_Bechtold
Instructor

Sounds like you both experienced a jerk driver. I don't think it matters woman or not being considerate is a thing to strive for. No punching regardless and to the Porsche driver learn how to drive.
Driver8
New Driver

I certainly don't condone anyone being a jerk during a race. It puts others, and themselves, at risk. That being said, a couple questions...

1. What difference does the sex of the driver matter? If women can't handle racing, maybe they shouldn't.
2. Why does the fact it was your wife matter? If it doesn't, why mention it?
3. If her car was not running properly, i.e. running on three cylinders, why didn't she leave the race?
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

In reverse order:

3: She was far from being the slowest car on the track, she just wasn't running at her preferred pace. It's common for there to be a wide gap in pace between cars in mixed-class racing. She still finished ahead of two other drivers in her class that race.

2. It matters because I was personally involved, not observing it from a distance or "white-knighting" as the kids say now.

1. Now we are getting towards the questions raised in the column. My wife could certainly deal with this driver's actions on-track. Should she have to deal with him off-track? Post-race punch-ups are not exactly uncommon in club racing. Should she need to brush up on her left hook in order to participate? Should women be treated differently? Should we all treat each other in a kinder and gentler fashion? But if we do, what happens to the significant percentage of men who don't want to deal with each other that way? I'm totally fine with a little bit of confrontation during and after a race, and I know a lot of other people who feel that way. Should our preferred form of racing be taken away from us so more people can participate? Like I said, there are no easy answers.

944racer
Pit Crew

As a 944 guy myself, I'm horrified to hear that one of my fellow Spec 944 guys pulled such a stupid move. Bumping the car ahead of you, repeatedly and in the way you describe, is obviously bad.
whitef
New Driver

These articles are always somehow relevant. Thank you for creating thoughtful and unfiltered essays. Thank you to Hagerty for providing an outlet for Jack's work.

I just spent many quality hours driving from McPherson Kansas to Grand Rapids Michigan to fetch an old Alfa Romeo that I don't need. Driving back, I was genuinely amazed at how agitated the upper midwest drivers were to encounter my two rig being (apparently) "in their way." It seems that a Land Cruiser pulling an old Alfa over horrifically bad pavement should be going 40 over in construction zones just like the rest of the maniacs. And if you're not that particular type of maniac, expect all sorts of animosity.

I spent a lot of time teaching my now 27 year old son how to treat women. Both he and his presumptive fiancée (we are hopeful) both thank me for that regularly. As I've gotten older though, I think that message is incomplete. Everyone; regardless of how plumbed, deserves to be treated well.

That last sentence is probably the perfect statement of the obvious to anyone reading this. The problem is that I don't think it's obvious at all to an increasingly large segment of the population. No one is teaching the most basic of life skills. "Don't be a dick."

So maybe "Don't be a dick" should be on the bumper of all the race cars. Or perhaps a new national motto. I think our society needs this clear and simple reminder.

~Frank White

Note to Mr. Baruth - If you're ever in central Kansas stop by. We do cars and bicycles here too, and have steak. Local Cyclocross race is in September.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

I am in central Kansas more than one might think! I appreciate it.
mechimike
Pit Crew

I've been in a couple of scuffles in my life, one of which involved defense of my then-girlfriend (now wife). It didn't matter that the guy in question was bigger than me...or that his friend was even more so...they crossed a line and that wasn't going to fly. As for the situation with you and your Mrs, I'm reminded of a time when my boss and I were going at it and he told me, "hey, you want to hit me, go right ahead". Now we were about evenly matched, size-wise, but he was about 20 years my senior. So I told him, no, I'm not going to hit you, because if I beat you up, then I just beat up on some old guy, and if you beat me up, then I got my backside handed to me by some old guy. There's no way that I come out ahead here. The same pertains to Mr. 944 here- he either beats up a girl, or gets beat up by a girl. Lose-lose.
compaqdeskpro
Intermediate Driver

Women asked for this. If they're not going to give men special treatment, then there is no reason to them to get special treatment. Evolution will take its course, and the women who survive will be butch rather than pretty.
This is all theoretical since I haven't gotten in a fight since fifth grade and I generally have disdain for people who get into fights.
Swamibob
Instructor

Interesting Story Jack;

For my part; I also lean toward Chivalry. Given the on track situation, I agree 'Common Decency' would lead a gentleman to give an apology for their poor behavior. Sadly, that sort of thing, and real Gentlemen's agreements seem to have left the building. Even in much smaller venues. I race Slot Cars on both a Regional and National basis. We are pretty serious about our racing and there is a good deal of money involved in building and racing our cars, so things can get a bit heated when another driver does somethgin stupid or myopic and it costs you a $ 300-500 car. The vast majority of participants are regular good people, who have an episode once in awhile, but who generally calm down and forgive those who trespass and hope to get forgiveness when they do the trespassing, but there are always one or two who missed the memo and simply believe the world revolves around them. Bit of an Alcoholic's state of being, you might say.
Generally, when that happens, the people running the show, and other participants will have a word, with the offender, and most of the time that's it. Still some don't get the message. That's sad. I wonder if some of it is tied to our not teaching Civics in school anymore? Too often it seems younger people didn't get the lessons about the Golden Rule, when they were young.
It's a thought.
DrMindbender
New Driver

I think that no matter what, there should be a review board for incidents like this. The move by Mr 944 was obviously not a mistake, and there was no remorse shown (like the incident was settled driver-driver without the review board). If it were my club or event or track or sanctioning body, my guess is that Mr 944 would lose their license or access to my races. Behavior like that MUST be punished, or else no one but bullies like him will win races once they figure out they won't be dis-invited.

This is not to say that all races should be "snowflakey" and discourage severe competition. The grudges, disagreements and even if driver-to-driver they want to fistfight (agreed to by both parties), let them have at it....or even if the wife is not interested in complaining, then just beat Mr 944 on the track...or bump him off if that's how he likes to play. But there should be a backstop for unwanted bullying, and should definitely include formal and social shunning when considered dangerous. If I were getting hammered like that at an event, I would expect that Mr 944 should lose his license. Period. People like that are NOT welcome around me, and I'm NOT passive about fair play and real consequences. Rubbing IS racing, hammering is for carpenters.
ConfuciusRacing
Intermediate Driver

Interesting position.

1. Idiotic behavior has no place on the track...irrespective if the gender of the driver.

2. Sadly, women have created a new paradigm. Chilvary is dead because too many 'feminists' have decided that they want to be the "whatever a man can do", and go out of the house and be CEO's. "(I know) You are capable to open your own door..." So do it. (And any chosen role? ....fine with me, but one can't have it both ways. Nor can you Jack.)

The "traditional rolls" of man and woman as bread winner and mom with the kids is all askew. The sky is blue and the sea is green. Women who put themselves in racing situations get what they get.

Again, I advocate that what anyone should "get" is respect, it is a community of speed...but your gender based premise Jack: is dead, it's 2021.
BagofChips
New Driver

So, how about when the aggressive 944 driver is a woman? Happened to me (I'm a guy). Then her husband steps in (he wasn't in the race) after she chops her way through every turn. Both of them totally out of line, but i prevented a major incident because i kept my head. Male or Female, bad apples need to be punished and sent to do TT (Haha). We're here to race (closely) with people who can be trusted. Race directors need to keep the 99% who are behaving... happy. You want fist fights? Take up boxing.