By admin | September 18, 2011
By Richard Allen
In a post-race interview following Saturdayâ€™s Dollar General 300 Nationwide Series race at the Chicagoland Speedway driver Carl Edwards praised NASCAR for not throwing a late race caution flag simply for the purpose of bunching the field and artificially creating a close finish.
“I think too often NASCAR is quick to throw cautions,â€ Edwards stated. â€œI think they showed me and everybody that if there is nothing out there and no reason to throw a caution then they wonâ€™t. I think that is good. I think it lends a lot of credibility to the series and they showed today that they donâ€™t mind that a guy is out there with a seven or eight second lead. They will let the race run its course. I think that is a big statement for them to make before the Chase starts. I think it is good.”
It seems strange that a competitor in a sport would have to applaud that sportâ€™s governing body for maintaining the integrity of its own field of play. But, NASCARâ€™s use of late race cautions for the purpose of bunching the pack has often been a topic of hot debate among competitors, fans and media.
And more, a late race caution was deemed questionable by more than a few observers and participants last week in Richmondâ€™s Sprint Cup event. So, the subject certainly seems as though it is worthy of consideration in this most crucial of stretches in the season.
NASCAR officials have often been accused(on this site and many other places) of making rash judgments for the sake of a short term boost in television ratings with little regard for the impact on the future of the sport. Integrity is vital for any organization that must make calls which might cause people to question their fairness. Consistency along with sound judgment is what brings that integrity.
During the late night/early morning running of this weekendâ€™s IndyCar race in Japan many following the race questioned rulings made by that bodyâ€™s officials. Even the competitors themselves openly criticized those in charge and accused them of playing favorites and trying to create artificial drama.
NASCAR can not fall into that trap. For the sake of boosting ratings and attendance during this seasonâ€™s Chase for the Championship they cannot make decisions simply based on keeping things close right to the end.
To remain a viable sports entity, NASCAR must have integrity. Otherwise, the â€˜sportâ€™ is little more credible than professional wrestling.
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