Are NASCAR Fans Are Being Penalized for Actions Detrimental to Stock Car Racing?
I’ve waited several days to write this, thinking I might change my point of view as I cooled down from the results from the Richmond mess and yet another cause to wield the Actions Detrimental to Stock car Racing rule. Didn’t happen! I’m still as upset as I was when the penalties were first dished out. First, let me say I’m thrilled Ryan Newman is in the chase and I’m not condoning MWR’s actions. I’m still not sure how I feel about Gordon being added. I like Gordon, but when is the ridiculous manipulation going to stop? NASCAR pulled out the Rule 12-4A card to once again prove just how inconsistent they can be when governing what used to be (in my opinion) an outstanding form of racing. They used their “lack-of-a-rule” response to penalize MWR for manipulating the outcome of a race and consequently the field for the Chase…and they, (NASCAR) for the past week have been doing pretty much the same thing.
No, I don’t condone MWR for the fake spin orders, but wonder how many others put in the same position may have done the same thing. I will, however, criticize MWR for being so blatant. You’re better than that! After all, similar actions have been allowed for decades without penalty. When I say “similar”, I do use that term in a slightly loose fashion. But, there have been numerous actions on the track that affect (or manipulate) the outcome of a race and the points for the season. How many times have we seen a teammate move over to let the other obtain the extra points for leading a lap? I’ve never seen anyone fined for that. Nor have I ever heard it was not allowed. And there have been a host of suspicious spins to bring out cautions since this sport began. Therefore, I was quite surprised when NASCAR handed down such strong penalties for something they (in my opinion) have done themselves on many occasions. I’m talking about mysterious cautions to bunch up the field, or to cause a green-white-check finish. Is that not manipulating the outcome?
Another stirring concern relates to the fact that they (NASCAR) allowed Carl Edwards to get away with jumping the restart, something they have been quick to penalize in the past. Where’s the consistency? What did they gain with this round of penalties for something (manipulating points) they’ve always allowed and lack of penalties for things they’ve previously punished? How can a sport that has survived for over six decades still struggle with the rule book? I could see this debacle as an occasion to issue stern warnings and consequently write a specific rule to cover future occurrences. But, to use the “non- rule” to make the point “We’re NASCAR and we can”, is ridiculous! When will this madness end? Yet another set-back for the sport, in my opinion. I have been a fan for over 50 years. I’m still barely a fan, just not as proud of my sport as I used to be.
Now, we have the unfortunate situation that some awesome sponsors are second guessing their involvement with MWR and who knows, possibly the sport. Any time ANY sponsor parts with ANY team is a sad situation. The Chase already (in my opinion) puts a strain on sponsorship for those not fortunate enough to compete for the championship. The events at Richmond are an example of the strain the Chase puts on the teams to retain sponsorship.
It has been a tough decade for our sport in light of the great recession. The highlight of this year of racing had to be putting the trucks on the dirt at Eldora. As an older, former core fan, I saw a glimmer of hope only to see it fade this week. We as fans are being penalized for Actions Detrimental to Stock Car Racing, but it’s not the drivers or teams who are responsible.