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Common sense needs to prevail in last lap assistance debate

By admin | September 20, 2011

By Richard Allen

Anyone who has ever read posts from this site before will know that I am never averse to pointing out the faults of the NASCAR organization. However, in the case of Matt Kenseth receiving assistance from J.J. Yeley on the last lap of Monday’s Sprint Cup race at the Chicagoland Speedway there seems to be a lack of common sense being used in the discussion.

While I will not disagree that the wording of the rule regarding a car receiving a push on the last lap of a race neglects to make one very important differentiation, the intent seems very clear to me.

Many who believe Kenseth was wrongly punished when he was placed as the last car on the lead lap have argued that cars receive assistance on the last lap at the restrictor plate tracks of Daytona and Talladega. Obviously, that is true. Bump drafting has been employed by drivers for quite some time on those tracks. However, a push given to a car under full power while drafting with another car is a completely different matter than a car out of fuel and not under power receiving a push to make it to the finish.

Seriously, common sense needs to prevail here.

Yeley himself did not help matters when in a post-race interview he said he did not understand the rule and thought it only inferred that a car could not be pushed across the finish line. He even went on to give credence to the plate track argument by pointing out that cars receive assistance on the last laps of those races.

On Twitter, Darrell Waltrip countered that by saying, “Getting assistance on the last lap is as old as the sport itself, we all know you can’t do that, period, what’s the issue?”

Waltrip went on the add, “Here’s the deal, if your engine is not running and someone is pushing you that’s assistance, both cars running under own power, not so much!”

Nobody likes to find fault with the powers that be in Daytona Beach more than this writer. And more, I consider myself somewhat of a Matt Kenseth fan. But in this case, this is the wrong fight. If NASCAR wants to rewrite their rule to clarify then so be it. As for me in this case, I can’t even believe this is an issue. It’s just a matter of common sense.

Topics: Articles |

8 Responses to “Common sense needs to prevail in last lap assistance debate”

  1. Kevin Says:
    September 20th, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    This is a can of worms.
    I agree with the rule, & I agree with the result.
    Kenseth (to my knowledge unverified) claimed that he did not ask for help from the 38 team. The 38 helped him of their own accord.
    Seems unfair to punish Matt for JJ deciding to break the rules. (Punish, assuming Matt would have coasted to a finish somewhere between 8th & 21st without assistance). What is Matt to do to prevent JJ from pushing him. As soon as JJ made that decision and put his bumper to Matt’s, Matt was breaking the rules. So unless Matt had held the brakes and come to a complete stop, he is going to be penalized under NASCAR rules. Either way, the result is the same, Matt finishes in 21st position.
    So what is the right call?

  2. Charles Says:
    September 20th, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    There was a race at Talledaga way back in eighties I believe where Oldmobile teamates Harry Gant and Rick Mast, Gant ran out of gas on the last lap, then Rick Mast came up and it was easy to see him pushing him, down the back striaght when they got to finish line, he back off! Gant got the win!

    Infact it was showned a few nights ago on ‘the 10″ on Speed Channel might can utube it!

    That was a good example of what Nascar did then, nothing!

  3. Wallbanger Says:
    September 21st, 2011 at 5:19 am

    Kenseth ran out of gas on the white-flag lap entering turn one. Without assistance, he wouldn’t have made it to the checkers. His “penalty” was no penalty at all, NASCAR simply placed him at or near the finishing position he would have achieved had Yeley not assisted. Fact of the matter is, NASCAR may have awarded a point or two more to the 17 car than it would have gotten if it had rolled to a stop exiting turn 4.

  4. Bill B Says:
    September 21st, 2011 at 6:10 am

    I can’t understand why this is being debated. It’s always been a rule, the rule is understandable and even fans know it. Even if they didn’t, ignorance is no excuse for breaking a rule. I hate restrictor plate racing as much as anyone but using that as an analogy is stretching it pretty thin.

  5. Sue Rarick Says:
    September 21st, 2011 at 6:46 am

    Earlier this year Menard was acting as a push truck, pushing Harvick around the track while Harvick had his engine off. Harvick went on to win that fuel mileage race.

    This is what agrivates many NASCAR fans, you can win a race if pushed 2 laps till the end, but not one. How about some consistency and just say you can’t push a car around the track unless both cars are running. Is that to simple a concept?

    I’m glad you do such a good job reporting Rich because with more gas mileage events expected, I am going back to an old tradition, taking nice Suday drives to enjoy the Fall scenery.

  6. Arnold Decker Says:
    September 21st, 2011 at 7:01 am

    I am fed up with fuel milage runs. This is not a race. The simple way to fix this is to stop every car about 30 laps from the end (or a fuel run), require them to pit, then restart in the same order as whem stopped, race to the finish.

  7. Justin Says:
    September 21st, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Arnold, my only argument against your post would be that you said stop them, make them pit, then restart. That gives teams an unfair advantage. Imagine a driver about to get lapped, basically gets a free pass to catch up to the leaders… My point being, you can require them to all stop under green somewhere between 29-34 laps to go

  8. Kenny Powers Says:
    September 23rd, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    We need bigger fuc*ing gas tanks to match the longer lasting tires. Saving fuel is not racing. Thats for pus*ys.
    end of story.