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Recent changes being unfairly blamed for crashes

By admin | February 10, 2010

By Richard Allen

As hard as it is for me to believe what I’m typing here, I am going to come to NASCAR’s defense on some issues.

After Wednesday’s Sprint Cup practice sessions in which crashes caused some teams to have to roll out backup cars, bump drafting and closing rates created by more open restrictor plates were blamed by numerous reports as the culprit. Of the two biggest practice crashes during the day, neither were caused by bump drafting or fast closing rates.

In practice #1 on Wednesday, Clint Bowyer blew a right front tire. As a result, David Reutimann and Derrick Cope were collected. Bump drafting played no role in that crash and nor did fast closing rates caused by the more open restrictor plates. It was just a blown tire. It could happen anywhere at any time.

In practice #2, Mike Bliss lost control of his car while running in the middle of a three-wide pack. He slid up in front of Joey Logano and both cars were heavily damaged. Jimmie Johnson also received just enough damage in the melee to be forced to a backup car. Again, neither bump drafting nor closing rates caused the wreck.

Despite the real causes of these wrecks there were reports on television and in print that placed the blame on the two factors mentioned.

The reason I want to take NASCAR’s side here is that I believe the sanctioning body is actually listening to the criticism heaped on them and paying attention to the empty seats and lowered television ratings. The recent changes they have made are steps, albeit small ones, in the right direction.

Many, including myself, have lobbied for a more open restrictor plate, removal of the no bump drafting edict and various other changes that have been or are being addressed. It would be a shame if these changes, which are for the better, were criticized inaccurately for causing wrecks and creating danger when it is not true. If bump drafting causes a big wreck, and it did in the Bud Shootout, then say so, but don’t put the blame where it doesn’t belong just because it sounds good to do so.

Also, NASCAR looks to be in the process of revamping the green/white/checkered rule to allow more than one attempt at a green flag finish. Again, this is something that needs to be done. However, there will be those who will criticize for a rules change before the season even begins. If it is a bad rule it needs to be changed and the sooner the better.

These changes mentioned here will make the racing more competitive and better for the fans. The fans are what matter, not the media or NASCAR itself. I am a fan who happens to write a blog and I am glad changes are coming about. There are many more I’d like to see as I have addressed in previous columns. Maybe if NASCAR can enact a few changes for the better and not get criticized for doing so they will be more willing to fix other problems.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.

Topics: Articles |

6 Responses to “Recent changes being unfairly blamed for crashes”

  1. mkrcr Says:
    February 10th, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    The real problem with NA$CAR’s changes is that, after years of taming and dumbing down, the drivers have to remember how to drive like racers again. It will be a process and fun to watch.

  2. Lydia Says:
    February 11th, 2010 at 8:31 am

    I was confused on Saturday night..with the GWC..and now I think I am even more confused. When they say they are considering changing the GWC……as Ricky would say to Lucy..”you got some splaining to do”! Are they talking about one EXTRA GWC?…Two?….or are they going to just keep going until they get to the checkered? Doesn’t that take the gas mileage issue to the limit? I already am sooo tired of fuel determining the winner…If they go to extra GWC’s…NASCAR needs to up the size of the fuel tanks..or they will have even MORE wrecks on the last lap(s). I like the fact NASCAR is starting to think “outside the box”…(well really getting back to the basics of the sport)..but I get the feeling now they are SO trying to please us fans if we told them we think each car needs a “fan passenger” I could find myself sitting next to Stewart at California!

  3. dawg Says:
    February 11th, 2010 at 10:33 am

    I,m a real fan of the G, W, C, finish. What I’m not a fan of are torn up race cars. repeated attempts at G, W, C, finishes will lead to more wrecks. Maybe good for NASCAR & the TV partners. Bad for the owners who have to pay for the damage. This on top of the purse cuts.
    If NASCAR wants carnage, maybe they should put in some figure 8’s, or book more ARCA races on super speedways.
    One G, W, C attempt is enough. If the drivers can’t get it right, call it a race, & move on.

  4. Joe in Pittsburgh Says:
    February 11th, 2010 at 10:36 am

    It is good to see steps to help address the crap they have heaped on us fans–albeit baby steps but there is much left to be done to get this series back to where it once was and I still think that it will be a long time before that occurs. But yes,kudos to the stiffs running this thing for at least trying something after stating they would “stand pat for a while”.

  5. The Mad Man Says:
    February 11th, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Had the NA$CAR brass been listening to the fans all along, they wouldn’t be having to make all of these rules changes in one season. As it is, I see this as little more than a way to divert attention from the real problems with the sport.

    If any of these changes backfire, the fans, not NA$CAR will be blamed because of the official line that “we listened to the fans”.

  6. midasmicah Says:
    February 11th, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    After years of driving with their hands tied, the drivers will need a little time to get used to the “new rules”. I like it. It gives me a little optimism going into this season which I haven’t had the last few years. Now if only they get ride of the chase…..