Official Excuses

Posted on October 5, 2015


Official Excuses

By: Rob Oakman

Racers don’t like to be wrong — we like to win. It’s like a sickness that has no cure and it’s best managed by regular injections of checkered flags and shinny trophies. But we sometimes take our competitiveness a bit too far. We get a penalty that we don’t like and it doesn’t matter if we are guilty or not, chances are most of us haven’t even read the rules, but we still throw out an excuse, argument, or nonsensical rambling reason to the officials that we believe should forgives us of our transgression and we should be apologized to for the inconvienence of having to deal with such incompetent officials.

Having now completed my first season as one of those officials (co-race director for TRAK – Toronto Racing Association of Karters) I thought it would be a good time to list my five favorite excuses that racers tried on me over the season.

Formula 1 is named for its rule book, not its cars.

Formula 1 is named for its rule book, not its cars. (Courtesy of

1 “What was I supposed to do?”


1. I knew I was breaking the rules but I really wanted to _________ (make the pass, not lose time, get an advantage over others, etc.)

2. I did it on purpose.


a. Following a series of other excuses and/or arguments that have failed to sway the official(s).

b. When you are fully aware of what you did wrong and have no other excuses.

Example: “I know I ran the other guy off the track, but what was I supposed to do?”

“I know these are the wrong tires, but I didn’t want to buy new ones. What was I supposed to do?”


2 “I was just taking my line” 

Alternative wording: “I just closed the door”


1. I knew the other racer was there, but I drove them off the track anyway so I could take/hold the position.

2. I had no idea the other racer was there, but I would look stupid if I admitted it.

Useage :

a. When trying to complete a pass by driving the other racer off track.

b. When Defending a position by driving down on a competitor and forcing them off the inside of the track.

Example: “I was making the pass and I just took my line.”


Rumour has it NASCAR has competiton rules. They are burried under turn-4 at Daytona (courtesy of

Rumour has it NASCAR has competiton rules. They are buried under turn-4 at Daytona (courtesy of

3 “The rules say _____!”

Alternative wording: “Show me where the rules say ____!” or “There is no rule against ____.”


1. I don’t know the rules and hope you don’t either.

2. I haven’t actually read the rules, but I will tell you what I think they should be.

3. I haven’t read the rules and have no intention of doing so, but I will tell you what they are in my head.


a. When you are hoping the officials will take pity on your ignorance.

b. When you are hoping you can intimidate the officials.

c. When you think you are better than other people and should get to pick your own rules.

d. When you are a wally.

Example: “Show me where in the rules it says I can’t bump someone out of the way.”


4 “They shouldn’t have been there!”

Alternative wording: “Why were they out there?” or “They are dangerous out there!”


1. I wasn’t looking ahead and got held up/wrecked/made contact trying to make a pass on a slower racer.

2. I hit another racer in order to make a pass.

3. I hit another racer because I wasn’t skilled enough to make a clean pass.

4. I screwed up making a pass because I was afraid and hit another racer, but I need to blame someone else to protect my ego.


a. When you screw up a pass and don’t want to take responsibility for it.

b. When you feel like you should get to choose who should get to race because you have been around longer/spent more money than others.

Example: “I only hit him because he’s so slow. He shouldn’t have been out there.”


Indycar has some of the best competition around. Too bad the rules make the cars so ugly. (courtesy of

Indycar has some of the best competition around. Too bad the rules make the cars so ugly. (courtesy of

5 “What about what ______ did?”

 Alternative wording: “But _______ did it.”


1. I want to change the subject really, really badly cause I don’t like being in trouble.

2. I shouldn’t be in trouble for breaking the rules because  _____ did something wrong too.

3. If I’m going down someone has to come with me.

4. I think you are picking on me even though I totally did it.


a. Anytime you are in trouble and want to get out of it by throwing someone else under the bus.

Example: “I hit her? What about when ____ hit me on lap 2? It was totally dirty.”


These are all real excuses someone has tried on me this year. I have heard them being used over and over in the past 24 years I have been racing. Each time I can’t help but smile a little. They never work and yet some people keep trying. Why? Racers want to win, sure, but some hate to lose even more. And full disclosure. Yes. I have used a few of these myself. No. They didn’t work for me either.

Remember to have fun out there and thanks for reading.
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Posted in: Editorial