By admin | May 16, 2010
By Richard Allen
When talk first began a few years ago that NASCAR might consider the use of green/white/checkered finishes for the Sprint Cup division I was very much in favor of the practice. I believe fans deserve to see cars race across the finish line rather than coast across behind the pace car.
Unfortunately, finishes behind the pace still occurred even after the g/w/c rule was put in place.
So, when NASCAR considered the use of multiple g/w/c attempts, I was in favor of that move as well. I still am. I do not buy that the use of the practice is the cause of wrecked race cars. Drivers are the cause of wrecked race cars. And for that matter, as a fan I would rather see one of my favorites spin trying to win rather than never have a chance.
The trouble with the g/w/c rule is that NASCAR has become too fond of it. There has been an ESPNification of the sport as its leaders enjoy seeing their sport get SportsCenter highlights for close, bang-up finishes, even if those finishes are contrived.
As an example I point to Saturday’s Nationwide Series event in Dover. With but a few laps remaining, Mark Green suffered a flat tire and brushed the wall. His car made it off the track and out of harm’s way. The race could have ended under green but the caution flew anyway.
Jamie McMurray had a similar issue in the middle stretches of the Sprint Cup race on Sunday and no caution occurred. It was almost the same incident and one drew a yellow while the other did not. That leaves the sanctioning body open to question.
As it turns out, NASCAR got the very type of highlight it was hoping for when Denny Hamlin made contact with Clint Bowyer which set off a big chain reaction melee. And more, Bowyer later drove onto the track and slammed the side of Hamlin’s car in retaliation as the cars rode under caution.
There have been other instances since the inception of this rule in which it has been questionable as to whether a caution flag should even be waved.
I believe fans who make the effort to go to a race ought to be rewarded with a run to the checkered flag. For that reason, I am in favor of the green/white/checkered rule and the multiple uses of it. However, NASCAR must be careful in its decisions to ‘give the fans what they want’. Pro wrestling can be exciting even though it is scripted. Hopefully, NASCAR can be both exciting and legitimate.
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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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