Look, let's be honest. We all like NASCAR rivalries here. But even though this is a sport that tracks every single segment of every single lap of every single driver, there is as yet no comprehensive method for tracking the many disputes that occur every week.
Until now. With a deep bow in the direction of our pals at Every Day Should Be Saturday and their Fulmer Cup, we proudly present the 2012 debut of The Fireball Cup, recognizing excellence in NASCAR brawling. (We did a soft launch of this last year, but this is the kind of thing you need to start early in the season.)
Here's how it works. Every week, we'll award points based on participation in fights or rivalries across all series, breaking down in the following way:
• Verbal/Twitter exchange: 1 point
• Bumping cars in an aggressive, making-a-point fashion: 2 points
• Spin, non-critical: 3 points
• Spin, critical: 4 points
• Out of car, punches thrown: 5 points
So far this year, no driver has amassed more than one nomination. (Step it up, guys!) And we will always err on the side of assuming everything is aggressive. Points are cumulative; you can pile up multiple points for a single incident. As a result, we have a surprise leader:
Jeff Gordon, 3 points (see below)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., 2 points (bumping Mark Martin at Vegas)
Matt Kenseth, 1 point (upset at Carl Edwards after Vegas)
Joey Logano, 1 point (angry with Kurt Busch at Daytona/Nationwide)
Ryan Newman, 1 point (hints at retaliation on Edwards after Phoenix)
Danica Patrick, 1 point (rages at Cole Whitt at Daytona/Nationwide)
David Ragan, 1 point (rages at Elliott Sadler at Daytona)
Gordon at Vegas is our first multi-point leader, first for hammering his car into Logano (2 points) and second for his over-the-air shot ("There's going to be a caution soon if this dumb [censored] doesn't get out of the way," 1 point).
So there you have it. Feel free to send in your nominations after each race, and if you have a write-in vote (like somebody going crazy at your local dirt track), hey, let us know that too!
We'll total up the figures and award a Fireball Cup to our brawling champion at the end of the season. Any guesses who it'll be?
(One note: We need a trophy. So if you have Photoshop skills, or craftmaking skills, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your submission. We'll be sure that the winning driver sees this at the end of the year. You'll be famous!)