A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 19, 2019
“Rubbing is racing” (auto racing adage)

"Rubbing is racing” is an auto racing saying that has been printed on many images. Authorship is uncertain.

NASCAR Winston Cup director Dick Beaty (1924-1998) said in the Atlanta (GA) Journal-Constitution on November 6, 1988, that the the one-mile Phoenix oval, new on the NASCAR circuit, “is going to be a ‘rubbing’ track. I’ve got no problem with rubbing. That’s racing. What I’ve got a problem with is when one guy spins another one out intentionally.”

The line was popularized in the movie Days of Thunder (1990), starring actor Tom Cruise. Harry Hogge (actor Robert Duvall) said:

“No, no, he didn’t slam you, he didn’t bump you, he didn’t nudge you… he rubbed you. And rubbin, son, is racin’.”

American professional stock car racing driver Jeff Gordon said in May 1992: “We were big-time rubbing, and rubbing is racing. That was the key to winning, because time was running out.”


Wikiquote: Days of Thunder
Days of Thunder is a 1990 film which revolved around a talented, hot-shot auto racing rookie who, after trying his hand in the American open wheel ranks, seeks to win on the NASCAR circuit. His mechanic mentor acts as his crew chief and a young brain surgeon tries to tame Cole.

Directed by Tony Scott. Written by Robert Towne.
(...)
Harry Hogge (actor Robert Duvall—ed.)
No, no, he didn’t slam you, he didn’t bump you, he didn’t nudge you… he rubbed you. And rubbin, son, is racin’.

6 November 1988, Atlanta (GA) Journal-Constitution, “Rough Race Expected in Phoenix Debut” by Ed Hinton, pg. 29C, col. 4:
(NASCAR Winston Cup director Dick—ed.) Beaty, who has been cracking down on fender-banging incidents in recent races, anticipated that the one-mile Phoenix oval, new on the NASCAR circuit, “is going to be a ‘rubbing’ track. I’ve got no problem with rubbing. That’s racing. What I’ve got a problem with is when one guy spins another one out intentionally.”

28 June 1990, Pensacola (FL) News Journal, “‘Thunder’ good, but unrealistic” by Gordon Paulus, pg. 1C, col. 1:
Twice during “Days of Thunder,” two drivers bang each other as they drive around the track and the line is, “it’s called rubbing, that’s racing.”

There’s so much “rubbing” in “Days of Thunder,” which opened in Pensacola on Wednesday, that it rubs the wrong way.

Banging and bumping on a race track are as much a part of auto racing as oil and lug wrenches. But it happens so often in this movie that it becomes unrealistic.

24 May 1992, Daily Press (Newport News, VA), “600 Briefs: Gordon’s victory earns record pot” by Al Pearce, pg. C4, col. 4:
Jeff Gordon won a Grand National record $113,844 Saturday afternoon by starting from the pole and dominating the Champion 300 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
(...)
Gordon took the lead for good by rubbing past Dick Trickle and Phil Parsons’ lapped car in Turn 4 at lap 163. “It wasn’t a close pass,” he said, “it was a slam. We were big-time rubbing, and rubbing is racing. That was the key to winning, because time was running out.”

Google Groups: rec.autos.sport.nascar
Is Rubbin Racin?
John McCoy
3/26/01
On Mon, 26 Mar 2001 01:28:59 GMT, “LaVonna Hardin” wrote:
>Wondering what the opinion is of some of you all in this group. Is a bit of
>bumpin and grindin ok, you know, the famous bump-drafting,
>knockin-on-your-door sort of thing? Or do you prefer a squeaky clean,
>dont-get-close-enough-to-take-the-air-off sort of race?
>I’m also not sure if I’m breaking any rules by posting a message like this,
>I was going to ask you all to let me know if I am , but I am sure, being the
>generous folks you are, that you will do just that!

How long have you been watching NASCAR?  If you started before, oh, round about 1988, then rubbing is racing.  If you started after that, then rubbing’s a tad too rough for your tastes.

Google Books
Jeff Gordon:
Racing Back to the Front, My Memoir

By Jeff Gordon with Steve Eubanks
New York, NY: Atria Books
2003
Pg. 52:
Busch and Cup cars have fenders, and as the old NASCAR garage adage goes, “Rubbing is racing.”

YouTube
Rubbing is Racing
Barry M
Published on Jan 26, 2013
Excerpt from Days of Thunder.
(The quote is 20 seconds in.—ed.)

Twitter
Rick Raducha (Rapid)
@RapidRick
Replying to @MattWeaverAW
I’ve not seen the incident Matt, but don’t you think this Bump, instead of trying a pass without contact, is what should be emphasized- I’m sick from seeing rubbing is racing
2:37 PM - 16 Jun 2019

Twitter
Redd Berendes
@ReddBerendes82
Replying to @Boestott @NASCARonNBC and 2 others
lol you get all your racing knowledge from a 1990 Hollywood movie? Go ask the guys that have to fix those trucks if “Rubbing is racing”.
12:57 PM - 17 Jun 2019

World SBK
B for Battles – It’s about to get fierce!
Tuesday, 18 June 2019 09:45 GMT
Rubber to rubber, legs dangling, elbows out – the essence of WorldSBK
As the old adage goes, rubbing is racing. Two riders flying around a track, inches apart, switching back and forth from hunter to hunted. Sometimes it’s a no-holds-barred dogfight, sometimes it’s more akin to a game of chess, but there’s no doubt that it’s always absolutely enthralling.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Wednesday, June 19, 2019 • Permalink