We talk a lot about the family atmosphere that is NASCAR. For the most part people, within the sport, genuinely like and care about each other. You see examples of that caring on a regular basis.

But there is a downside to the whole "family" thing.  And, I believe it has taken some of the edge away from the sport.

It's all about the motorcoach lot.

When I started covering this sport, Richard Petty and David Pearson were still going at it.  Cale Yarborough was calling Darrell Waltrip "Jaws".   And, I don't recall any one of those guys ever apologizing for something they said about one another. But, they also weren't spending 24/7 at the track in those days.

They were staying in nearby motels and spouses and kids weren't the weekly fixtures they are now.

Now, they're all living in the same neighborhood during the weekends. When they're done in the car, they go to the bus and spend the night in close proximity to the guy (or gal) they may be ticked off with.

When they're out on the track, the family is still hanging out in the motorcoach lot. And it's hard to stay ticked off at someone when his wife is your wife's best friend. Or your kids play together all the time.

I'm not saying kick the families out of the track…but, I would be happier if folks would just accept that so and so said what he said and it was in the heat of the moment and they (or the media) wouldn't demand an apology.