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So much for NASCAR’s stern pre-race talk

By admin | April 26, 2009

By Richard Allen

During the pre-race programming for the Aaron’s 499 at the Talladega Super Speedway the Fox Network crew made sure to tap into the drivers meeting so that viewers could hear NASCAR’s David Hoots give the competitors a stern talking to. The message was given, loud and clear, that there was to be no passing below the yellow line.

The broadcast crew joked that Hoots’ message left no doubt as to the meaning of the talk. Drivers and crew chiefs sat solemnly and listened intently. Surely, everyone clearly got the message that NASCAR indeed meant business in regard to its no passing below the yellow line rule.

This warning came in the wake of a controversial finish the last time the Sprint Cup Series raced at Talladega. In that race, Regan Smith passed by Tony Stewart on the last lap and was the first to cross the finish line. However, the pass was disallowed due to the fact that Smith went below the yellow line and Stewart was declared the winner.

There would have been no controversy if the rule was enforced each time the infraction was committed. But, there are highlights of past races in each of NASCAR’s major divisions at Talladega and Daytona, the only tracks to have a yellow line rule, that show the rule is only applied selectively.

So, back to the pre-race talk by Mr. Hoots. This time there would be no doubt. The rule is the rule. There is no interpretation.

Well, even before the halfway mark of the race Denny Hamlin and Brian Vickers clearly passed the car of Brad Keselowski by going below the yellow line. Needless to say the drivers were penalized after that clearly defined, stern talking to, right?

Wrong! No penalty was issued. A warning was given instead.

So much for that drivers meeting stern talk.

I bet Regan Smith would like to know what happened to his warning.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

*For a chuckle, click on the link below to watch my animated short film, “Racing Re-Cap: Talladega”.

In this episode racing reporter Mark Mustang is stunned when co-host Daisy Dreamboat says she has a racing question. But, the question turns out not to be about racing at all.

Topics: Articles |

4 Responses to “So much for NASCAR’s stern pre-race talk”

  1. Robby B Says:
    April 27th, 2009 at 10:18 am

    I was wondering the exact same thing almost word for word. Nascar’s rulebook andofficals are a joke, they are slowly turning away fans because oif their inconsistency…

  2. Marybeth Wallick Says:
    April 27th, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Rich, If it had been Jr. going by below the yellow line we would be hearing all about “Earnhardt rules” endlessly from ESPN today.
    “ 4/27/09
    Jeff said…
    did anyone on fox comment about Kyle Busch running into Brad Kesolowski after the race? It happened right in front of me and no one around us could figure out why Kyle was mad at him. I heard that DW said it was an accident but Kyle was on the the throttle when he turned him so I don’t really buy that.
    April 27, 2009 2:11 AM”
    Had that been Jr. spinning him out after the race, ESPN would be standing on their heads yelling for him to be called to the hauler, and what a safety danger it was when drivers had loosened their belts…and more about “Earnhardt Rules”. I watched Nascar Now tonight and not one word about Vicker’s Rules, Hamlin Rules, or Busch rules. Not that they are prejudice and have their own set and interpretation of “Earnhardt rules”.
    Marybeth Wallick

  3. Overa88ted Says:
    April 27th, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Funny how JR.’s OBVIOUS passing below the yellow line of Matt Kenseth a few years ago at Talledaga was only replayed once during that race by FOX. Never to be seen again on TV until ESPN showed it after the Smith/Stewart finish last year. Also JR. side slammed Brad’s car after the race, sending Brad’s car to the right. In the heat of a first win moment, Brad probably didn’t realize Kyle was coming up behind him. Watch the replay, it wasn’t intentional on Kyle’s part.

  4. danbald1 Says:
    April 28th, 2009 at 7:49 am

    Richard, Great article. You are about the only person on the jayski articles columns link to address this. I could not believe how quick the “spinners ” in the booth were to make up some reason why Vickers and Hamlin were not penalized when they clearly passed below the yellow line. Had they been penalized, maybe Hamlin wouldn’t have been in that position to cause a wreck that shortened up R. Gordon’s front end. If Gordon had passed under the yellow line and later caused a wreck what do you think would have happened? I like Vickers and have no problem with Hamlin - the selective enforcement of the rules by nascar is so blatent and the selective reporting by fox as well, is why there are so many empty seats and tv ratings are down. It isn’t the economy - it’s the bias and arrogance. The lack of articles like your’s , is an excellent example. No one else is addressing this because the driver/team that was the most affected was the 7 car so nobody cares. The attitude is that he deserved it from a lot of fans and media. No one deserves to drive into a wall - safer barrier - or not at 185 mph. There was no concern from the broadcast booth about one of the Gordon’s in the race.