by Brendan Gaughan
Every week I get the same questions, whether it is during an autograph session at the souvenir trailer or during a visit to hospitality. I think I could record the conversations and play them back for each appearance, but that would take all the fun out of it.
So I have picked my two favorite questions, and I thought I would take this opportunity to answer them for those who have wondered.
What do drivers do when they have to go to the bathroom during a race?
I know at some point we have all watched an episode of Bugs Bunny where Elmer Fudd is trying to get him in the pot of steaming water. Well, we sit in steel seats. The undercarriage of the car is more than hot enough to boil water, or to create a lot of steam. Sometimes, the sweat is more than enough, but if we were to add any more liquid we would be in the hot seat, literally.
As Ryan Newman so eloquently put it, "Boiling in your own stuff would not be good."
Going to the bathroom while in the car is something we donít have to do. If we do, we ignore it. Body works are such that if you drink the proper fluids before a race Ė and we have to drink a lot with the temperatures we are up against Ė then we will sweat it out.
For instance, if we drink any kind of soft drink, it requires visits to the bathroom. The day of the race I drink Gatorade, water or Propel Sports Water. I have to go to the bathroom less. Donít get me wrong, I still make my pit stop like every other driver before the race. But with the proper fluids, our bodies use them up and dispel what we donít need via sweat.
Are there any drivers you hate to race against, or wouldnít you like to see Driver X get suspended by NASCAR for their actions?
OK, letís look at this realistically. Each week, there are 43 teams who line up and have hopes of crossing the line first at the checkered flag. At this level of competition, more than 95 percent of the drivers competing have that opportunity, whether it be through talent, luck or both combined. And then there is what my dad would call blind luck. He used to tell me, "Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while."
As a driver, I have the utmost respect for my fellow competitors. During the race, I have an appreciation for their talent. I know they earned the right to be among the best drivers in the world. It wasnít handed to them because they bought their way in or because someone was trying to make a statement by placing them in the car. We all know there have been those instances, but as we look around us, we know those drivers never last long and there are none here now. Talent is what drives this sport from the inside.
Why would I, as a driver, want to see a driver suspended? Situations that happen on the track are racing incidents, with a few stupid moves that we have witnessed. As a competitor, I recognize the difference. Not that we are looking through rose-colored glasses, but because we are aware of extenuating circumstances and how easily a small mistake causes a big reaction. I also realize it looks differently from the stands.
Do you think New England Patriots fans like the Buffalo Bills? Maybe they would like to see the star player for the Bills suspended for the Buffalo game? I think not.
How could they feel they had won the game fairly if they had the largest part of their opposition knocked out of the lineup? I would feel unfulfilled if certain drivers were forced to sit out a race.
With that said, there are some drivers who do stupid stuff, and I am sure someone would classify me in that group. So be it. But we are there for one common goal. We all want to win.