The winners of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Texas Motor Speedway once again will fire pistols into the air during their celebrations.
Eddie Gossage, president of TMS, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Tuesday that the track plans to revive the six-shooter celebration, which it opted not to include in post-race festivities after the AAA Texas 500.
The track decided against having Kevin Harvick brandish revolvers in victory lane Nov. 5 out of respect for the 26 people who were killed earlier that day in a shooting outside First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas.
“I just thought, ‘this isn’t the thing to do today,’ “ Gossage said. “It was too close to us. If it had happened in, fill in the blank, whatever state miles and miles and miles away, I wouldn’t have thought like that. But it happened in our own backyard, more or less, in San Antonio.”
Given that guns have been a hot topic in the NASCAR world since Richard Childress fended off an attempted robbery, and Austin Dillon’s subsequent endorsement of the National Rifle Association, Gossage reportedly wants to make it clear TMS is in no way making a statement about its position on gun control by reinstating the tradition. He noted that shooting celebratory guns and/or canons is common at sporting events, and likened TMS’s particular ceremony to a “silly stereotypical Texas cowboy celebration.”
“I don’t want anybody to get the wrong idea, but you have an agenda if you’re trying to connect the dots between shooting blanks in the air and going ‘woo, hoo,’ and to some social comment on gun control and gun rights,” Gossage said, via the Star-Telegram. “That’s just silly.”
In Gossage’s defense, it would be slightly hypocritical for somebody to judge TMS for bringing back the six-shooters, but then not care that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was gifted a full-size musket in New Hampshire ahead of his retirement.
Thumbnail photo via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports Images