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Slap seen round the world

September 4, 2013

Max Papis1Gentleman that he is, driver Max Papis didn’t react violently to Kelly Heaphy’s un-called-for slap of the Italian driver after her boyfriend tapped him off the circuit during the final lap of NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series go last Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (nee Mosport). Gentleman that he is, Max and wife Tati turned the, um, other cheek and walked away after Heaphy’s attack.

Of course the result was airplay, plenty of tweets, Facebook and YouTube posts, showing the woman’s assault on Papis, whose driving career has been far more extensive than that of her boyfriend. No doubt he doesn’t have aspirations to drive Formula 1 – something Max Papis has done – nor could he hold a candle to the driver in the former CART series, at Indianapolis or in NASCAR’s top tier Sprint Cup Series, where Papis subbed for the injured Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen a few weeks back.

Fortunately, NASCAR understood just how stupid, low and uncivilized this action was. It took the step of fining Bryan Berry, crew chief of the No. 6 team $2,500 for Heaphy’s actions, stating that Sections 12-1 and 9-4A of the NASCAR rule book mandate the crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of his team members.

“Kelly Heaphy,” NASCAR’s release said, “who was with the No. 6 team at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, has been fined $2,500 and denied access to all NASCAR events indefinitely for her involvement in an altercation with a competitor following Sunday’s race.”

Now that’s what I consider a good call. Papis tried to make amends with the team after the altercation but was unable to do so. No doubt he’ll continue to race in the series as a hired driver, but not sure Heaphy’s boyfriend, making his first start, will get a second opportunity to make a good first impression.

Words and Photo By Anne Proffit

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