By admin | September 10, 2013
By Richard Allen
If you haven’t heard about the penalties dealt out to Michael Waltrip Racing by now, you live a pretty isolated life. But nonetheless, the team was hammered with unprecedented sanctions on Monday evening after NASCAR officials(36 hours after the rest of the world) came to the realization that the team manipulated the finish of Saturday’s race in Richmond to help driver Martin Truex, Jr. get into the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
So does anyone think this is the first time a racing team has done something to “fix” a race?
The reality is that things like this have been going on for a while. Ever seen one teammate pull over for a lap or two so that another team member can lead a lap for the bonus points? Ever see a driver slow way down when a caution came out to allow teammates to get back on the lead lap back in the day when drivers raced to the line? Ever see a one teammate push another around under caution to help save fuel back when that was allowed? Ever see drivers intentionally avoid drafting with certain drivers at Daytona and Talladega because of a teammate’s points position?
Of course, all of the situations mentioned above have happened multiple times throughout NASCAR’s history, especially since the prolific rise of the multi-car team back in the 1990s.
So what was MWR’s crime then?
The offending team’s problem was that they did what they did so badly. The conversation between driver Brian Vickers and spotter Ty Norris bordered on ridiculous. And even with MWR’s lame, after-the-fact release that Clint Bowyer was suffering from poison ivy, the command for him to scratch his arm just before his questionable spin was silly.
Apparently Vickers is incapable of realizing that he has a flat tire and Bowyer had never heard that when a body part itches it must be scratched.
Under such high-profile conditions as the ‘Race to Decide the Chase’, MWR had to know that their drivers and crews would be under the microscope. Yet, they carried out their business as if they were filming an episode of the Andy Griffith Show.
But please don’t take this piece to say that this writer is somehow supporting what MWR did or that their penalties were unwarranted. Rather, it is more of a stance against the climate created by the Chase and other modern-day facets of NASCAR.
And further, the moral of the story is- When you manipulate, don’t do it so badly.
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