Last fall, NASCAR Cup Series drivers had their first drivers-only meeting with series officials after weeks of publicly complaining that they weren’t being heard or updated on safety matters.

The much-needed gathering allowed grievances to be aired and information shared. Since then, both sides seem to agree that their communications and relationship have gotten stronger, and the meetings have become a regular occurrence.

Now the drivers should call a meeting amongst themselves after Sunday’s race at Circuit of the Americas turned into the wild, wild west.

“It’s what we do. Are you not entertained?” Ross Chastain said afterward. “This is what we live for. I don’t live for it; I don’t love all that but look, these cars are tough. Without stage breaks, we had plenty of cautions. We had some green flag racing. I think this was your standard typical everyday NASCAR race.”

For some reason, it just doesn’t seem that way. The field put on a clinic of good road course racing for the first 41 laps of the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix. There were comers and goers, pit strategy and entertaining battles for positions.

Then one caution led to five more before all was said and done. It took three overtime attempts before everyone was put out of their misery.

“It’s brutal,” Jordan Taylor said. “Guys fight for every inch, every position, and even if you’re a second faster than someone, they’re going to push you off just to go for a top 30 finish. So, it’s just a different style of racing. Something to learn, and something to know if I ever come back.”

Taylor was one of three ringers who got more than he bargained for. Cup Series racing did not seem to leave a good taste in his mouth, nor that of Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen, given the aggressive nature of the field and the pushing and shoving throughout the afternoon. On the one hand, those three are not accustomed to being used up like they were Sunday. On the other hand, it wasn’t as if they were targeted, because the carnage was spread throughout the field.

The cars parked on pit road after the race looked like they’d just run 500 laps at a half-mile like Martinsville Speedway, not 75 laps at a technical road course like Circuit of the Americas.

There is nothing wrong with stock car racing being aggressive, but having races turned into a circus as it did Sunday is not a good show. And yet, it continues to happen over and over. And over and over, drivers get out of their cars and complain. And nothing changes.

Rinse, wash, repeat.

Critics would say NASCAR created the mess. Blame gets placed on the playoff format and the importance of wins and points.

The aero package is another point of contention. It’s too hard to pass, so drivers have to be aggressive and take what they can get.

Those are all excuses. Those are nothing more than crutches.

The responsibility falls on the individual holding the steering wheel and working the pedals. Every weekend, 40 race car drivers decide what kind of the show everyone will see.

It would be easy to say drivers have to be saved from themselves. It is, of course, a popular saying in the sport when it comes to NASCAR making decisions and those in the garage sometimes – not always – admitting someone has to decide for them.

But in this c ase, when it comes to what happens on the racetrack, NASCAR can’t get involved. The sport is already accused of being over-regulated, so how would policing on-track contact work?

More rules? That won’t go over well.

Leaving it up to judgment calls on what was intentional or over the line? Those will be as clear as mud, and never criticized on Monday morning.

How do you sort it out when multiple cars bounce off each other in a corner? Not everything is intentional. Sometimes, it’s just ridiculous.

On paper, it sounds great on paper to have NASCAR start cracking down and trying to control these races, but it doesn’t seem realistic.

“I don’t know if it’s good chaos or not,” said Denny Hamlin on Sunday. “We had two laps to go two hours ago. It just felt like it just kept going on and on. I don’t know what we do about it.”

It has to come from the drivers. After all the recent talk about the lack of respect in the garage, if the drivers aren’t going to come together and admit they are the ones causing the problems and ask themselves why they are doing what they’re doing, nothing will change.

But it seems like this is easy to try at least to figure out. Drivers, if you’re not happy about the racing, call a meeting amongst the guys doing the racing. After all, it’s probably best to figure it out or at least come to an understanding on your own before someone (NASCAR) comes along and decides they’ve heard enough and implement consequences that you probably don’t want.