The thing about insults is that they’re usually only good the first time. Call your boss a mumpsimus with the professional skills of a whimpering toddler once and it’s funny; do it every day and it loses its charm. The latter is where NASCAR insults often get stuck, with someone throwing out something good every so often and everyone else recycling it for the next four decades.
That unfortunate, uncreative reality was evident once again on Saturday night, when Cup Series drivers Alex Bowman and Austin Dillon had a little skirmish at Richmond Raceway. After the two got into each other while racing, Dillon drove under Bowman and spun him out on lap 111 of 400. It looked rather intentional.
Since NASCAR drivers have to use a radio transmission available to the public in order to communicate in-race road rage outside of their cars, Bowman hopped on to say, as quoted by reporter Lee Spencer on Twitter, that he was “going to shove that silver spoon [Dillon]’s been fed off all his life up his ass.”
It’s a reference to the fact that Richard Childress, the grandfather of Dillon and his brother, Ty Dillon, owns a team in the top-level Cup Series. Austin Dillon drives for Richard Childress Racing, while Ty Dillon drives for Germain Racing, which has a technical alliance with RCR. But it’s also an obvious recycling of when Kevin Harvick, who was driving for Childress at the time, said in 2013 that the “rich kid” brothers were “exactly the reason why [he was] leaving RCR.”
(Harvick apologized soon after, as expected.)
“You’ve got those kids coming up and they’ve got no respect for what they do in this sport,” Harvick said. “They’ve had everything fed to them with a spoon.”
That is a great quote! Using it over and over is not so great, but it happens a lot in NASCAR. Kyle Busch is a “cry baby,” the Dillons are “silver-spoon kids,” and Harvick’s wife, DeLana Harvick, “wears the fire suit in the family.” (That one was never good, because “har, har, har, woman in leadership role” isn’t cute, and neither are other derogatory insults. Keep them harmless.)
There is also a whole world of insults out there, just waiting to be explored, in regards to drivers whose racing careers were paid and paved in golden asphalt. If this were a brainstorming session in third-grade writing class, we’d all still be working on our lengthy lists when the teacher called time.
But even when it isn’t easy, we need unpredictability and we need new insults, like the time Brad Keselowski walked out during driver introductions at Bristol Motor Speedway and simply said, “Brad Keselowski; driver of the Penske Racing Dodge. Kyle Busch is an ass.”
That was iconic. Using the same insults over and over again is not.