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Debate over team orders is pointless

By admin | October 29, 2011

By Richard Allen


Immediately following the Sprint Cup race in Talladega last Sunday the topic of ‘team orders’ was a hot one on this website as well as just about every other NASCAR related form of communication. On Friday in Martinsville as drivers and media sat through an entire day of rain delays and eventual cancellations, the subject was brought up again.

The debate over who was to be paired with who on the final restart and what drivers pushed their Chase for the Championship teammates may be good for causing a stir among all involved, but in reality, it’s pointless.

With NASCAR so heavily dominated by multi-car organizations, there are always going to be team orders. No matter how much people both inside and outside the sport deny or state their disdain for such actions, those actions are going to occur. It would be foolish for teams not to have an understanding that drivers on the track and crews in the garage, whether it be a restrictor plate race or not, are to look after one another.

Looking after one another can occur in a variety of ways. Not getting in each others’ way during green flag pit stops, not being overly aggressive when racing around each other, matching and trading out sets of tires, and any number of other possibilities are available for drivers and crews to assist each other on race day.

As a reminder of how long such cooperation have been going on, in the days of racing back to the line after a caution came out, team drivers made it common and often dangerous practice to slow down and allow their teammates back onto the lead lap.

And for those who would like to put an end to the practice, how could that be handled? Monitoring team radio communications could be done but codes could be used to disguise meanings of what is said. And, of course, team meetings held inside a hauler or back at the shop can’t be watched.

So, can it be legislated that cars from within the same organization cannot draft together? Of course not is the answer to that. The sport already has too many regulations.

The bottom line is team orders are a part of racing. Unless those watching are terribly inattentive and naïve they will know it has always been that way since their have been teams. And, no matter what complaints may be registered by fans, drivers or media, team orders are always going to be part of racing. So to debate the act of team assistance is essentially pointless.

As long as there are teams, there will be team orders.

Topics: Articles |

6 Responses to “Debate over team orders is pointless”

  1. Charles Says:
    October 29th, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Yes I totally agree Richard, great column!!! Its been going own for a long time, seems when the stakes get high, is when its magified!!!

  2. russ Edwards Says:
    October 29th, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Rich, exactly right, and its been apparent for years that team orders were in place.
    One has to wonder why the sudden outrage. I don’t recall a similar outcry about the two races at Daytona or the first Talladega race.
    Maybe its just another case of “my guy was done wrong”.
    But as you say its just a waste of time to discuss it.

  3. midasmicah Says:
    October 29th, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Hey Richard. I agree with you that team orders in nas$car, but when you add that to a track like Talledega’s tandem racing, it it brings this kind of racing to the forefront. Just ask the fans how they feel about it. Last week at Talledega was one of the worst races I’ve ever watched (or tried to watch).

  4. Sue Rarick Says:
    October 29th, 2011 at 9:59 am

    While I totally agree that nothing can be done about team orders the fact still remains that many regular fans are not happy about them. What can they do? Exactly what they are doing, not go to the races. Nashville is a day trip to Talledaega (did it last spring to drive on the track) but I didn’t go. The price deals got better and better up till Thursday, and I still didn’t go. And it wasn’t the economy, it was the racing. And I have been a NASCAR fan since the first CBS Daytona 500 broadcast.

    Between gas mileage races and team order races and dubious at best officiating I have had it with NASCAR till next years Daytona 500. I’ll read about it and keep track of it, but to be honest I’d rather go iRacing than watch NASCAR for the rest of the year.

    NASCAR has forgotten they were #2 till the CART, IRL split ruined open wheel racing. And with the new open wheel cars next year I will definitely be giving them a good look.

  5. Larry Says:
    October 29th, 2011 at 11:10 am

    For me it’s not about the debate over team orders. It’s about the lying about it.
    Trevor Bayne in the heat of the moment told the truth about what actually happened. Then they send the kid out and make him lie to keep his job. He knows he has no explanation for his previous comments, so he just says what they tell him to say, and then hangs his head fighting the demon inside called a conscious. I can’t say I lost respect for Jack Roushe Because I never had any respect for him. He is not a nice person. He is the biggest crybaby in NASCAR, and the only time he isn’t lying is when he isn’t talking

  6. Aichel Says:
    October 29th, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Larry, I agree with you 100%!

    Let me just get it right out there and say it: I’m a huge Jeff Gordon fan. So, yeah, my guy got done wrong, and I was upset. However, it’s not just about my guy getting dumped. It’s about the lying, and the extent of this team/manufacturer orders thing. Yes, team orders have been around for a long time, but only to a certain extent. Now it seems to be getting out of hand. The Chase only makes this worse. What will be justifiable next, teammates outright blocking and possibly wrecking others so that one of their guys can win? I don’t want it to get like F1 when they ordered Barichello to pull over for Schumacher. The teams and the manufacturers get plenty of exposure without having to resort to the kind of scheming and blatant lying that we have seen. And I think teams have to be careful too. I was very upset when they took Gordon’s crew during the Chase. I tune in to see Gordon win, not to see Hendrick win. I root for drivers, not teams. Jeff Gordon and Dale Jr. are my guys, not Jimmie or Mark. I think it’s all about balance and moderation. I feel bad for Bayne because his image has really taken a beating, and I hate what they’ve made him do. Also, what if there is a Ford driver out who needs to drive to impress other owners but can’t because Ford said no. Where is Ford going to be when that guy is out of a ride and lost some good finishes because of this kind of crap? I think NASCAR fans are seeing all kinds of distasteful things going on in the sport and wonder how bad it’s going to get.