By admin | May 31, 2011
By Richard Allen
In my most recent posting to this site I stated, â€œNo conspiracies here as NASCAR could have made Junior a winnerâ€ ( http://racingwithrich.com/?p=1442Â ). In that piece I stated my belief that NASCAR went a long toward proving they are not conspiring to help Dale Earnhardt, Jr. win or else they could have done so in Sundayâ€™s Coca-Cola 600 by putting out a caution just after the 88 car took the white flag with the lead.
I believe that much is true but I ended the piece by making the case that NASCAR opened the door to yet another problem with its inconsistency in regard to many of its rulings. Several readers also voiced that same concern in comments to this site as well on a number of other message boards and social networking sites.
At the end of the Coke 600 there was a green/white/checkered restart in which several cars were very low on fuel. As the green flag was displayed Kasey Kahneâ€™s engine gulped its last bit of gas and he slowed dramatically with the whole field bearing down on him. The ultimate result was a number of cars spinning wildly out of control.
Before I go any further in this piece, I want to say that I believe NASCAR made the right call by letting the race play out as it did. I have written numerous columns before in which I have stated that on the last lap the leaders should race back to the line, except in the obvious instances in which there is something impeding the way or there is a fire or some other situation that obviously needs immediate attention.
But the issue at hand, more than whether cars out to be racing to the line or not, is NASCARâ€™s lack of consistency in such cases. The end of races have too often seen a ruling go one way during one race and another way later. Yellow line judgments have gone against drivers at Daytona and Talladega in some cases but not so in other cases. Cautions are quickly thrown late in races for seemingly minor matters and not so for more serious matters in other races.
There needs to be a more clearly defined, and most importantly adhered to, policy in regard to race endings. If races are going to be allowed to play out all the way to the finish line thatâ€™s great, but it needs to be the way of things every time. Several cars spinning in one race canâ€™t be ignored once and the next week bring out a yellow. There canâ€™t be a NASCAR official saying, â€œNo advancing of position will be allowed below the yellow line on plate tracksâ€ but the practice be allowed some of the time for the sake of an exciting finish.
Of course, the immediate reaction by many is that NASCARâ€™s rulings are made to help certain individuals or teams. Whether that is actually true or not, it is hard to argue the point because of the inconsistency. Whenever rulings give the appearance of fluidity, that door will always be open.
NASCAR, just be consistent. There was no caution on the last lap this past Sunday and that was the right call. That needs to be the case every week as long as there is no immediate danger involved.
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