UPDATE: Wednesday morning Beyond The Flag spoke with C. Ray Hall who is the NCRA Series President. Hall was asked about the status of Shouse and whether or not the driver remain suspended and if so, whether or not there is a timetable for his return.
"First off he is still suspended and as far as there being a timetable for his return, at this time there isn’t one. Shouse is a part-time driver in the series and it’s a situation where we have to see how he handles himself moving forward. Right now there isn’t a timetable set for his return and in all honesty his suspension might be a permanent one."
Hall was also asked whether or not the Kevin Ward Jr. incident last summer played a role in how the NCRA handled this issue or if this sort of action was their baseline punishment for these types of situations.
"I think it’s safe to say that the Kevin Ward Jr. accident played a role here because we want to do everything that we can to keep our drivers safe. Whether that be here in Kansas or somewhere else. I think we can learn from the things that happened in New York and we can all do things to make the track a safer place.I should also point out that I was shocked when I reviewed the video because of the way that he (Shouse) acted. I was surprised just how far he actually went out onto the track. He twirled that (torsion rod) in his hand like a baton before he threw it. It was clear what he wanted to do, it wasn’t a heat of the moment thing. It was clear that he thought it through before he did it."
Last summer the world of Motorsports was rocked by the Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy. On that fateful night at a local dirt track (which very easily could have been the one in your hometown) the life of a driver was lost. On that night the life of Tony Stewart and the Ward family would forever be changed. Regardless of where you fall on what took place the one thing that seemed to be the easiest to take away from the tragedy was that drivers should never put themselves in the position that Ward Jr. did on that night.
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No matter how upset a driver is in the moment or how wronged a driver feels; the negatives of trying to confront a driver on a live track far outweigh any of the positives. In the wake of that accident Sprint Cup and NASCAR (as well as others) put into effect a policy that prohibits drivers from exiting their cars under caution. The rule was done with one simple purpose and that purpose was to protect all of those on the track.
Apparently the events of that night less than a year ago weren’t enough for on Sprint Car driver Andy Shouse.
Shouse was racing in the NCRA Precise Racing Products Sprint Car Series opener at 81 Speedway in Park City when he wrecked which brought out a caution. Shouse clearly seemed to feel that his wreck was caused by the No. 24 car who he angrily shakes his steering wheel at in the below video as the cars circle the track under caution. Moments later Shouse walks onto the racing surface while the cars are still circling the track and with him he brings some sort of long and black object. As you will see in the video below, Shouse hurls that object in the direction of the No. 24 machine.
The object that he threw was later identified as being a steel (or possibly titanium) torsion arm. The torsion arm is a tool that is used by drivers to put load on the torsion bar in an effort to raise and lower it for handling purposes. Needles to say, throwing that at someone could do some serious damage if you were to hit them.
Shortly after this incident took place in March, Shouse was suspended indefinitely by the NCRA for his actions on the track. By choosing to approach the No. 24 car under the caution conditions Shouse not only put himself in danger but he put others n danger as well. The added action of hurling equipment onto the track from close range probably didn’t help his case much either.
While I understand acting out in the heat of the moment, there is absolutely no excuse for Shouse’s actions and his suspension is well deserved. The last thing that anyone needed that night (especially Shouse) was history repeating itself and Shouse being struck by one of the cars. Shouse choosing to walk onto the track was a selfish choice that could have had grave consequences for himself and the other drivers.
One can only hope that the suspension will keep him from doing something like this in the future and possibly deter others that he competes against from doing something similar. I know that there have probably been thousands of drivers who have done what he did and nothing came out of it and that’s fine. However, we all know the other side of that tale and sometimes people simply need to realize that it’s not worth it.