Yesterday, I suggested it was time that Michael Schumacher retire for good from Formula One racing because I don’t think his mental ability to process information quickly and to react physically is as razor sharp as it once was.
In other words, like the aging heavyweight who’s been on the receiving end of a left hook or right cross from a much-younger opponent and unable to do anything about it, it’s time for Schumacher to call it a day – I think.
Seems I’m not alone.
The picture above was posted on a Facebook page yesterday populated by fans of world championship leader Fernando Alonso. Click here for a link to that site.
Now, just because I think Schumacher should call it a day in F1 doesn’t mean he can’t keep racing and winning, although I would hope he doesn’t follow the lead of Rubens Barrichello and take a crack at Indy cars because that series is not the walk in the park a lot of people think it is.
But Le Mans and other European-style sports car races would be right up Schumacher’s alley.
In short, there was a fight at the finish of the last race of the season.
What got some folks riled up were the shenanigans during the green-white-checkers finish.
At the green, eventual winner (and 2012 Canadian Tire champeen) D.J. Kennington (about to win his seventh of 12 races) led Scott Steckly, Andrew Ranger, Pete Shepherd III and J. R. Fitzpatrick across the line. At some point in the next two laps – and cars were sometimes three wide at this point – Fitzpatrick got under Steckly and pushed him out of the groove and up into the marbles.
By the time Steckly regained control, most of the the front-runners had passed him by.
At the checkers, the order was Kennington, Ranger, Fitzpatrick, Shepherd, Rookie-of-the-Year Martin Roy and then Steckly, who - as you can imagine - was steaming.
On the cooldown lap, Steckly – a two-time Canadian Tire champion – and Fitzpatrick - who finished second to Kennington in points this season - played bumper cars on the backstretch.
At that point, NASCAR Canada announcer Adam Ross stopped talking about the wonderful performance of D.J. Kennington and drew everybody’s attention to the developing feud.
"J.R. Fitzpatrick has stopped his car at Scott Steckly’s pit," yelled Ross, approximately, over the track's PA system.
"He’s exchanging words with some of Steckly’s crew," he continued (these quotes are paraphrased, by the way).
"J.R. Fitzpatrick is getting out of his car and it looks like a brouhaha is developing. He’s taking quite a chance. His pit crew is all the way down at the first turn. They’re starting to run to his assistance but in the meantime J.R. Fitzpatrick is surrounded by Scott Steckly’s crew. NASCAR officials are getting involved over there. J.R. Fitzpatrick’s crew, the cavalry, are starting to arrive but they’re all out of breath . . ."
And then it was over and the Victory Lane celebrations to crown Kennington King of NASCAR Canada were held.
I had watched the race from the "press box" in the Kawartha clubhouse, so I went to the infield to track down the 24-year-old Fitzpatrick to find out what had transpired.
I found him over at the post-race tech inspection area, laughing it up and thoroughly enjoying himself.
One thing: he hook hands with his left hand and kept his right hand stuffed deep down in the pocket of his jacket. It seems it was just a tad tender.
NM: What happened, J.R.?
JRF: "Well, I got my car started (after the contact with Steckly’s) and I drove around and Scott’s crew was leaning over the wall all yellin’ at me so I stopped to have a discussion.
"One guy was gettin' really lippy so I took off my helmet and got out of the car and went over and I said, ‘Who wants to go?’ And this guy says, ‘Me,’ so I grabbed him and I got two really good shots in, wham! wham! – and that’s how I hurt my hand – and then by that time they were all over me and they got some good ones in on me too and then the officials arrived and broke it up."
NM: So you got hit?
JRF: "Yeah, I got hit on the side of the head and I got one on my ear but I don’t think anybody hit me as hard as I hit that first guy."
NM: So do you think they’re going to fine you, or anything? I mean, you have a habit of getting into scraps at this track (several years ago, he was involved in a ‘brouhaha’ with Kerry Micks and his crew)."
JRF: "Listen, I’m the only driver who brings any excitement to this series. Without me, it would be boring. Without me, all you’d have is D.J. Kennington winning seven races - and how exciting is that?"
And the whole time, he had the biggest grin on his face you’ve ever seen.