There was a lot of discourse about Tyler Reddick’s Darlington apology

"If you're sorry, you say it. If you'll do it again, don't say it."

NASCAR: Goodyear 400 - Practice and Qualifying
Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Are apologies a sign of weakness?

That’s kind of the narrative in the week following the NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway, one where Tyler Reddick pretty profusely apologized to Chris Buescher for the slide job that eliminated both from contention and sent Brad Keselowski to Victory Lane.

Yes, it was objectively an aggressive slider but it was also inside 10 laps to go and the current generation of Cup Series car produces so much aerodynamic wake that it might have been the only chance to complete a pass.

But it looked bad, and Reddick knew it, and apologized to Buescher during a post-race confrontation on pit road. Buescher effectively said the apology didn’t make it better because Reddick already has a win this season and finishing outside of the top-25 hurts more without having already advanced into a playoff spot.

Watching from the broadcast booth, Kevin Harvick didn’t like what he generalized as ‘overapologizing.’

“I hated that interview. I did,” Harvick said on his Happy Hour show earlier in the week. “I don’t like when these guys go down the road of apologizing so much that it’s just pathetic. Honestly, that’s how I feel. I understand that – I just wish they would apologize and just say, ‘I had to do what I had to do to try to win the race. It didn’t work out, I’m sorry. I apologize for doing that. If I had to do it again I wish we had both continued.’ But don’t over-apologize, please. Please do not over apologize.”

He found the racing compelling.

“I love the fact that he shot that thing in there trying to make a slide job happen,” Harvick added. “Like, I love the way that Tyler Reddick drives. I don’t want to be overcritical but I just wish he would not worry about, some of them, not just Tyler, but some of them would just not worry about apologizing so much that it seems overdone. ‘Hey I didn’t want that to happen, I’m sorry, I hate that for Chris,’ and just move on. Just don’t sink us in a sympathy train.”

Harvick said an apology to Buescher was warranted but just not one that came across that strongly.

“I think you have to apologize, but you never want, I never wanted to overdo it because I think it, I didn’t want it to end that way but I did want to make that move and I’m not going to apologize for trying to make a move that is spectacular and it would have been a spectacular move,” Harvick explained. “It just didn’t work out. Don’t apologize for being a dynamic, spectacular driver. I just, I don’t know. That’s just how I felt about it when I heard it.” 

Kyle Busch said he sympathized with everyone because it’s just a byproduct of racing with the NextGen car.

Buescher defended the lead with air blocks, putting Reddick in a position to where his only viable option was a slider, but it is also such a low-percentage move.

“That’s the tough part about these cars that they’re such a defense tool that you can keep people behind you much easier because that guy on the inside is in the non-preferred line and you just throttle up for a second, get back alongside of him, and he has to stop and slow down to get back behind you and in Tyler’s case, he didn’t do that,” Buesch said. “It wasn’t an accident. It was going to happen and that’s the problem with these things.

“Taking sorry for an answer is unacceptable because as the driver making that move, you know what the answer is going to be but that’s kind of how we’re put in those situations to where you either stay in there, crash, or you back out and let that guy take the lead and he blocks you and you can’t get by him. It’s tough.”

So how do you apologize for something you feel like you have to do but also has a low percentage of not producing heavy contact?

“You say you’re sorry if you’re sorry,” says Joe Logano.

“I don’t know what’s so hard about that. If you did it on purpose, don’t say you’re sorry. If you think you’ll do it again, don’t say you’re sorry, because you don’t mean it.

“If you’re honest, just be honest about it.

“If you feel like you truly made a mistake and you didn’t mean it, be a man about it and say ‘I screwed up and I am sorry.’ It doesn’t fix your day when someone says that to you, but at least you had a conversation. If you’re likely to do it again, you shouldn’t say anything because you’re going to make it worse if you apologize and do it again.

“They teach this in elementary school actually.”

Ultimately, Reddick is blocking out all the commentary about his apology and just feels like he did what he was compelled to do afterwards.

“Do what you think is right honestly,” Reddick said. “There are a lot of voices out there but at the end of the day, I always try to do what I think is the right thing.”

Matt Weaver is a Motorsports Insider for Sportsnaut. Follow him on Twitter.

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