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« There will be more cries of conspiracy if Junior wins | Main | Sunday was a great day for NASCAR »

Ragan has every right to be angry with NASCAR

By admin | February 20, 2011

By Richard Allen

 

It can’t be easy to come as close to fulfilling a lifelong dream as David Ragan came on Sunday in the Daytona 500 and then lose it at the very end. And what would seem to be even worse is to have lost out on that dream due to an arbitrary call over a meaningless rule.

As the field came to the first of what ultimately wound up as two green/white/checkered restarts Ragan moved his car quickly to the inside lane to get in front of eventual winner Trevor Bayne just as the two had discussed over their in-car radios moments before.

Ragan and Bayne had spent most of the race’s final laps drafting together around the 2.5 mile facility. Ragan made the move to allow he and Bayne to continue working together over the final run to the finish. However, NASCAR deemed that he had made his move to the inside before he crossed the start/finish line, which is in fact a violation.

But the real problem here is NASCAR’s policy of being consistently inconsistent on these type matters. And furthermore, this is really a judgment call more than anything else. It is somewhat the equivalent of foul calls in basketball. If officials wanted to, they could call a foul on every possession. If they specifically looked for something every time they would see it every time. Instead, they call fouls when they are obvious and have an impact on the particular play. Common sense has to prevail or else the flow of the game would be terribly interrupted.

The NASCAR rule in question here is one meant to keep one driver from jumping a restart and getting an unfair advantage over another. In this case, Bayne wanted Ragan to do what he did. They had planned it that way. That is the reason as the leader Ragan had chosen to lineup on the outside row rather than the inside.

At Daytona, the rule is meaningless. At Martinsville, it’s worthwhile to enforce it.

To me, this was the case of officials specifically looking for something to call that in the grand scheme of things did not matter. Making this call, in my opinion, was the same as deciding the NCAA Final Four by whistling a ticky-tack foul 50 feet from the basket in the closing seconds of a game.

But to me, here is the worst part. And if I were Ragan it is the part that would trouble me most. Michael Waltrip pulled into victory lane in Friday night’s truck race in Daytona with the right half of his spoiler laying flat on the back of his truck. That is a clear violation, no matter whether it was intended or not. And more, it is a glaringly obvious violation. It was not like his truck was found to be one-eighth inch too low in the NASCAR R&D Center the following Tuesday. Everyone could see it right then and there.

There is an official who stands on pit road at the end of each race to measures the spoiler angles as cars come off the track. This is not a judgment call, it is objective. The spoiler either meets regulation or it doesn’t.

Ragan’s team owner, Jack Roush, had his thoughts on the matter after Sunday’s race. “From where I was sitting, and of course with my prejudiced position, I didn’t see that he did anything wrong,” Roush said. “The question is whether they would have made that call for one of the established guys.”

This was the biggest race on the schedule and one competitor who had a chance to win was denied that chance by an subjective judgment call. That’s not good officiating in my opinion.

For my story on east Tennessean Trevor Bayne’s Daytona 500 win please visit TennesseeRacer.com http://tennesseeracer.com/?p=1415

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Topics: Articles |

14 Responses to “Ragan has every right to be angry with NASCAR”

  1. Charles Says:
    February 21st, 2011 at 8:50 am

    I agree with you Rick!

    I have seen many races in which one crosses over, I know they said the finish line but Fox would not show the bottow area as to see where the inside car could get by!
    Plus Trevor had given his permission for Ragan to do just that!

    The deal with Waltrip doesnt even past the smell test!
    I remember Kenseth at Rockingham I believe that his car was to low by only a fraction, some said just by standing on top of the car made it to low, I think they fined them for that and points!!!!

    Then here coming Waltips Spoilier flapping and last night on Speed they are calling it a part failure!

    A little off topic, but did the ‘New Points System do anything to help fiquring out the Chase????
    Lets see Bayne is not so far runing for the Chase, so he gets no points, so its now 42 points instead of 43??

    But as far as a Daytona 500 it was good to see some refreshing new faces have a great day! And so the competition beween cars was somewhat better!!!

    This two by two I like better than pack racing but until drivers get use to it , you will still see a lot of wrecks!

    Hats off the Trevor Bayne and Wood Bros, I think this win ranks as one of the top Daytona 500s Nascar should be happy, this blended well with old and new school fans!

  2. Glen H Says:
    February 21st, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Hate to break it to you Rich, but Ragan did violate the rule and judgement really didn’t come into it. The rule is that you have to maintain your lane until crossing the start/finish line and Ragan didn’t - nothing arbitrary about it. You might not like it, and it probably didn’t really matter as far as the race went, but that’s the rule and Ragan violated that rule.

    As far as what happened in the truck race - that’s an apples to oranges comparison. What happens in the truck series really doesn’t matter when it comes to what happens in the Cup series - they’re two completely different things. If you want to make the inconsistant argument, you need to stick to what happens in one series.

    I can’t really believe I’m defending NASACR but in Ragan’s case, they got it right.

  3. Moe Foe Says:
    February 21st, 2011 at 11:11 am

    You-

    are a bleedin’ idiot.

    The rule invoked was not an arbitrary call over a meaningless rule. It is a tenet of racing in all classes; from go-carts to sprint cars to cup. David Ragan had a small chance at a win, and blew it. He didn’t need to have it explained…he needed to have it inserted rectally.

    You really think he didn’t know it was an illegal move when he brain-farted?! then you are dumber than he is.

  4. Reed D Says:
    February 21st, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    David Ragan drives for Jack Roush. No breaks for Jack ever. Would Nascar have it any other way? I think not!

  5. David S Says:
    February 21st, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I think you’ve got the definitions of “subjective” and “objective” mixed up.

  6. admin Says:
    February 21st, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    You’re right David.

    You’d think as much as I pay my editor he would have caught that. LOL

  7. Charles Says:
    February 21st, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Glen H

    As far a Nascar line rule, they may have gotten it right in Regans case!
    But never seen it inforced or used, mabe I missed it!

    The inconsistent Talledaga and Daytona yellow lines rule has been a issue! Just look at replays when Regan Smith was called for it and others were not! Jimmy Spenser had some good replays on Race Hub last week!

    So when it come to the line issue Nascar has been inconsistent!!!!

  8. Mr. Tony Geinzer Says:
    February 21st, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    This was Ragan’s Last Chance to do right in Cup as I can see the day where Roush’s Flagship 6 will win Daytona with Trevor Bayne and David Ragan will be in Nationwide or Late Models. With the feelgoodiness in your yard, Rich, its like Tennessee winning the National Title Again, but, if the Bayne wins 3 in a Row, I WANT TRUEX TO WIN ONE!

  9. Mike Says:
    February 21st, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Hey, I know….let’s have the 5th place car make a deal with the 6th place car to do the same thing before the S/F line and cause a 20 car wreck behind them on a G-W-C restart to determine the Daytona 500!

    But the 6th place car said it was “allright”..LOL

    Seriously..this may be the worst written article I have ever read…

  10. Donny Says:
    February 22nd, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    All of the comments in regards to this being a rule and the author for being dead wrong need to get a clue. First off Glen in reference to your apples and oranges comment when it comes to the truck series vs the sprint cup. They are both Nascar sanctioned events, therefore the rules are the same. Just as is the completely biased breaks people get. Michael Waltrip had an obvious “part failure” that should have had him deemed ineligible, but “long time friend/driver for the late Sr wins” is a really good headline. To all those saying Ragan knew the rule and he was at fault not Nascar, look at the race and several other races. Lane changes happened throughout and were never called. Ragan was the leader. The leader is the one who starts the race. Never once has this been an issue ever brought up.

  11. Kevin Says:
    February 23rd, 2011 at 9:24 am

    I agree with all people who say NASCAR needs to be consistent in their rulings.
    However, Rules need to be called by the book. Rules state that a driver must maintain his line on the restart until said driver passes the start finish line. In this case Ragan’s tires were on the yellow line before he got to the start finish. This is a clear rules violation and was called correctly. As for those that say it is exactly what they discussed on the radio and this is what Bayne wanted to happen, that may be true, but consider how often teams make deals and break them, or simply pass false information across the radio so any team scanning gets the wrong info. Is each team supposed to have a scrambeled line with NASCAR to say: “ps. I’m not going to do what we just said, in case thats going to alter how you are going to call the rules”. NASCAR can’t use radio communication to determine intent and enforce the rules. Get Real.
    As for the Michael Waltrip call in the truck race. I loved seeing Mikey win, and how fitting it was that he did win. True, the spoiler did not coform to the rule book. So does the win count? I say yes, and here is why. If you go back to the Bowyer/RCR issue from Louden last fall, where it was determined that Clint’s car did not conform to NASCAR standards, he was fined points and money and his crew chief was suspended. NASCAR stated that the RCR cars had been close to being outside of NASCAR’s established tolerance over this issue in the past. Therefore, having warned RCR, then examining the car and finding it out of tolerance, NASCAR determined that it was RCR’s fault the car was out of tolerance and deserved the penalty’s. But NASCAR also has a policy that fans need to know when they leave the track who won the race. Clint’s win was allowed to stand, even with the points penalty, fine and suspensions.
    Same thing in this case, Michael won the race, the win was allowed to stand. After examining the truck, NASCAR was unable to establish intent on the failure of the spoiler, and therefore there were no fines or suspensions. There couldn’t be a points penalty because Michael isn’t competing for the series championship anyways. Even if they did find fault, NASCAR has established precident that the win would stand via the Bowyer debacle.
    I do agree that there is an issue with consistency. Denny Hamlin should have won the Bud Shootout this year as John Darby stated over speedweeks that tires are allowed to be on the yellow line, but not over the yellow line. Denny had the nose of his car in front of Ryan Newman before proceeding below the yellow line. Therefore, Denny had position on Ryan and did not improve his position by going below and therefore Denny, not Kurt Busch should have won the race.
    So yes, the calls need to be consistent and by the book. But I find no fault in NASCAR’s ruling on David Ragan or Michael Waltrip.

  12. Charles Says:
    February 23rd, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Anyone in doubt of about Richards comments should have watched Race Hub last night!

    Jimmy Spenser had filmed replays of serveral drivers having switch lanes before the line on restarts and “not punished” for it!

  13. Steve Says:
    February 23rd, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    The argument isn’t about whether Regan broke the rule, its the consistency of the enforcement. I dare anyone to say that if Jr/JJ/Gordon/Stewart did it that they would be penalized? There is no way that they get penalized for this infraction and that’s where the complaints come from. Because Regan is not one of the “chosen” ones he gets made the example of.

    To me passing before the start finish line is worse than what Regan has done and Kyle Busch has done that many times without penalty. When nascar starts applying the rules equally to all competitors regardless of their name or how much money, popularity they bring to the sport, then people will stop questioning them.

  14. Donny Says:
    February 23rd, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you Charles for pointing out that clip. It was so nice to finally get to see some replays and have an unbiased opinion. Everyone who was throwing Ragan and his conspiracy theorists fans under the bus can now kiss our behinds. Jr, Newman, and Ragan all switched lanes in the race. Ragan got penalized the second time he did it. I guarantee Ragan would not have made that move had Nascar threw a black flag consistently