Aaaaand let the hijinks begin.
It's playoff time in the land o' NASCAR (I know, you didn't even know they were still racing) and you know what that means: Cartoon fisticuffs. And so while Denny Hamlin was winging off to the win at Chicagoland in the first of the 10 Chase events, Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson were out behind the haulers, having one of those slap-and-cuss fights that always seem so, well, lightweight for a sport allegedly fueled by heaping helpings of testosterone.
Lightweight and, shall we say, a bit contrived.
Far be it from the Blob to cast aspersions on the purity of emotion that prompted Harvick to, OK, not slap JJ, but give him a shove (with closed fists!) outside the haulers last night. I'm sure he was legitimately ticked after JJ got into Harvick's left-rear quarter panel, shoving said panel into Harvick's left-rear tire. Harvick elected to stay out after the contact, which resulted in his tire turning into kibble a few laps later, which set in motion of series of misfortunes that dropped him to what could be a Chase-killing 42nd-place finish.
Hence, Harvick's displeasure. Although it was kinda his fault for staying out until the tire went boom, and although JJ explained the whole thing by saying he got shoved down onto the apron and was only trying to work his way back onto the racing surface.
In other words: This was just another of those racin' deals.
But of course the Chase is on now, so everything gets magnified, including racin' deals. And if the post-race extracurriculars that ensue do seem cartoonish (i.e., "contrived"), it's only because every time they happen, it's hard not to get a mental image of NASCAR capo Brian France doing his happy dance in the privacy of his office. That's because the extracurriculars get media play, and media play is good anytime, but especially in the blast radius of NFL football, which tends to crowd everything else off the national radar as soon as foot meets ball for the first time.
And so, to recap: JJ hits Harvick, Harvick finishes 42nd, Harvick shoves JJ and calls him some not very nice names. The video (because there's always video of this stuff) pops up on Deadspin and several other heavily trafficked sites, and all over America people suddenly realize that, dang, NASCAR's still happening.
And, somewhere, Brian France channels Charlie Sheen as a result.