By admin | February 10, 2010
By Richard Allen
As hard as it is for me to believe what Iâ€™m typing here, I am going to come to NASCARâ€™s defense on some issues.
After Wednesdayâ€™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 NASCARâ€™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 donâ€™t put the blame where it doesnâ€™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 Iâ€™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.
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