The Frontstretch: How Dumb is Too Dumb? by Mike Neff -- Thursday July 20, 2006

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How Dumb is Too Dumb?

Full Throttle · Mike Neff · Thursday July 20, 2006


New Hampshire was a race full of highs and lows. Joe Nemechek, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, and Tony Stewart all experienced the agony of defeat. Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Mark Martin and Greg Biffle felt the euphoria of the thrill of victory, or at least a top five. But the drivers who suffered the cruelest pain were the ones who ran out of gas at the end of the race. Elliott Sadler and Denny Hamlin were robbed of a top five finish by what can only be described as the dumbest of dumb moves.

As the field was coming to the restart for the green/white/checker finish, Robby Gordon inexplicably brake checked Michael Waltrip in the middle of the back stretch. Not only did the maneuver end Waltrip's day, it also extended the caution for another five laps. The end result was that Sadler and Hamlin ran out of gas during the final two laps of the race. Both drivers were running in the top five and most likely would have kept those positions if the original restart had taken place. Instead, Hamlin finished sixth and Sadler came home 25th. In the meantime, Gordon was able to finish 19th.

Certainly, NASCAR would not let such an egregious act go unpunished. It would only take until Tuesday for the appropriate penalty to be handed down that would at least move Gordon down in the points to a position that was behind those drivers that were wronged by his actions. Amazingly, Tuesday came and went without a single mention of the incident or any fines. Gordon was basically told, by the lack of action, that his intentional act, which cost three drivers places in the race, was an acceptable driving technique.

There is no doubt that Gordon and Waltrip have a history at Loudon. They had further altercations during the race. However, their previous dust-ups had no impact on anyone else in the race. This altercation had a direct and measurable impact on two other teams competing in the event. The ultimate result of this lack of action by NASCAR could be retaliations that cost other teams race positions and even Chase bids.

Imagine what could happen when Richmond rolls around. A team is on the verge of making the Chase, and a teammate of the driver who is tenth in points is riding in front of the driver in 11th. As they come to a restart with five laps to go, the teammate brake checks the 11th place driver and knocks him out of the Chase. Based on the precedent set this weekend, no fine or punishment can be handed down. The scenario could very easily happen, and NASCAR would have no basis to punish the offending team in any way.

The question begs to be asked: If it had been someone besides Michael Waltrip, would NASCAR have felt compelled to issue a fine to Gordon? What if Jimmie Johnson had been the car behind him at that point in the race? Or Matt Kenseth? What about Kevin Harvick? There cannot be different standards based on a drivers team affiliation or position in the season point standings.

Robby should have been parked for the remainder of the race at the time that he put Waltrip out of the race. Since that didn't happen, he should have been docked 50 points to position him directly in front of Waltrip in the points earned for the race. It is one thing if a driver does something dumb that only affects one other driver and that driver has had an altercation with the offending driver earlier in the race. But when a driver intentionally causes damage to a car and the result of that action causes multiple drivers to lose positions in a race, the driver should be penalized an amount of points similar to the points lost by the teams wronged by the action.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment
Truckin’ Thursdays: Top Five All-Time Truck Series Drivers
Going By the Numbers: A Week Without Racing Can Bring Relief But Kill Momentum


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07/21/2006 02:44 AM

Where were you last year when Micky Waltrip recked Robby Gordon during caution laps?? I guess everyone though it was okay because it was Robby Gordon.

07/21/2006 02:45 AM

I take it that you were at the race? If not, then you probably saw exactly what we saw from TNT’s pitiful coverage. If that is the case, then I would have to say that your assessment about the R. Gordon/Waltrip incident is nothing more than conjecture since you can’t tell what transpired beforehand.

07/21/2006 02:49 AM

Yes, I was there and Micky tried to run Robby into the marbles and he was two (2)laps down.

Doug Wietzke
07/21/2006 05:08 AM

TS. Even if there was a penalty, it would have been worth it. MW is a pain, whether on the track or talking on TV. For that matter DW is a pain too. Can’t help but beg your pardon on the blame to RG. Look again in front of him. He was reacting to actions in front of him and MW had no business being that close. MW has said in the past that if you run into someone from behind it is your own fault but to prove every rule has its exception, the rule doesn’t apply if it is RG.

07/21/2006 05:14 AM

Someone needs to smack Michael Waltrip in the mouth. He was 3 laps down and ran into Robby who was on the lead lap. If I was Robby I would have taken him down to local Napa store, found the biggest wrench they sell and beat the Toyota right out of him.

07/21/2006 06:33 AM

If you had bothered to review all of the facts, video, and the radio conversations from the entire incident, you would have realized that this was a case of Waltrip not paying attention to what was happening on the track. Nascar (and some others) always seem to blame Robby Gordon waaaaaay to easily. Waltrip needs to get a clue and shut his BIG mouth. Nascar should have fined him for his comments on INC. Actions detrimental to stock car racing.

07/21/2006 07:17 AM

Are you related to big mouth Mikey or are you joking? Were you even at the track? You have nothing to show that Gordon braked checked the #55. Why don’t you mention how many other times Waltrip was involved in wrecks or causing wrecks at NHIS on Sunday? Waltrip should be the one parked. NASCAR would be better for it.

07/21/2006 07:31 AM

I tend to agree with post #6 and #7. Robbie WAS on the lead lap,.. and as is NORMAL when the “one to go” is given (as it was) the lead lap cars pass all the lapped cars. Robby Was doing as he was SUPPOSED to do,... Sounds like Mikey swerved up at Robby. From what they showed on TV,.. it LOOKED like all the cars in front of Robby were bunched up and pretty slow,... so MAYBE Robby passed the #55 and then had to slow down to keep from hitting the guys in front of HIM. IN ANY event,.. it’s the guys FOLLOWING job to keep from hitting the guy in FRONT of you.
If Robby DID break-check him,.. Mikey should have been watching more closely,... and if he swerved at Robby,.. well the #55 deserved it.

Finally,.. I guess from your argument (that Robby should have been placed back to where he was with the cars he caused problems for,) HAHAHAHAH I guess that means since if Waltrip hadn’t rearended Gordon, and had finsihed in the top 20… BY YOUR argument then Mikey should be place directly BEHIND Ryan Newman since he punted him on the restart and made him finish 39th.

07/21/2006 08:29 AM

I don’t really need to elaborate, but I will. Robby brake-checked Mikey. Only the most imbecilic pre-literate Mikey haters would disagree with that. The drivers don’t disagree that Robby brake-checked Mikey.

Their past history, or current history, is irrelevant. It’s not okay to brake-check people or wreck them under caution, regardless of who they are…

*"Name" and some content edited by The Frontstretch
07/21/2006 08:45 AM

I was not in attendance at the race so yes, my observation is predicated solely on the coverage I saw on TNT. However, if you look at the replay of the incident, there is at least 50 yards in front of Gordon. He had no reason to stop except to try and harm Mikey’s car. The two of them had multiple run-ins during the day. I’m not saying that Mikey wasn’t responsible for upsetting Robby. But the fact that his actions cost other drivers solid finishes is inexcusable and should have been penalized.

07/21/2006 08:51 AM

It seems to me that you wrote this artical with out knowing all the facts. Even NBC said that Elliott would not have made it on fuel even without the Gordon / Waltrip deal. Do you just report on what you see on TV or where you there? Do listen to the scanners? Because if you where there and if you did listen in you would have seen Waltrip cause several mistakes to the lead lap cars and you would have see Waltrip racing Robby earlier for position when Waltrip was aready one lap down. Then you would have seen Waltrip push Robby into the marbles. Then you would have seen Waltrip swerve into Robby under caution right before Robby braked infront of him. Was what Robby did intentional? Maybee? But you can only let [him] push you around for so long. [He] got what he deserved. Then [he] goes on his show and acts like he’s inasent.

*Some content edited by The Frontstretch
07/21/2006 09:09 AM

Uh, what? I think that the spelling gives us the answer to the question. TNT’s coverage was so poor that it was impossible to tell if RG just up and brake checked MW or if he had reason for checking up. Guess it was just one of them racin’ deals and he didn’t mean to do it.

07/21/2006 09:11 AM

NASCAR would benefit by parking Robby and Michael. Neither add any value to the race but usually manage take out somebody on a weekly basis.

07/21/2006 09:30 AM

Mike Neff should be fined and suspended forn the remainder of the season for actions detrimental to Stock Car caring and being and idiot.

07/21/2006 10:08 AM

MW is an idot hasbeen, and what goes around comes around. Maybe Micheal can get DW to call the Waambulance.

07/21/2006 10:33 AM

After reading all the postings to this point I can see and agree with many points on both sides of the discussion. But one in particular rings true. Posting #13 (DGordon) has a good idea. Park both of them for a couple of races. Let it be a cool-down period. With the Chase contenders fighting for every point, the last thing anyone needs is more drama on the track (No pun intended to TNT). Point positions 9 through 12 are close right now and a bone-head move on either MW or RG could spell disaster to people like Tony Stewart (defending title shot), Jeff Gordon (missed chase last season), and Greg Biffle (has something to prove). Lets give the true contenders a chance to do their best without dodging the DW/RG stupidity.

07/21/2006 10:57 AM

The reason Mikey was so close behind Robby was because he was messing with him. How dare someone like Robby Gordon pass / outrun the self proclamed “el presedente de Nascar”

Robby didn’t slow that much and Mikey plows right into the back of him. What a bonehead.

Mikey should stick to selling pizzas and leave the racing to those who are good at it.

07/21/2006 11:05 AM

I agree MW & RG should be parked before they wreck somebody imporant.

07/21/2006 11:13 AM

MW isn’t a has been, he’s a never was. I haven’t checked, but I’ll bet he’s near the top of the list of the drivers that have run the most races with the least wins. I didn’t like Robby Gordon, but I have to respect his talent, and what he has been able to do as a single car owner/driver. We don’t know who really was at fault on this one, but both these guys have caused their share of wrecks.

07/21/2006 11:57 AM

Where was your righteous indignation about brake-checking when Mikey did it to Greg Biffle last year?

Don Freese
07/21/2006 12:00 PM

You know what! MW and RG
are both bottom feeder field fillers!

07/21/2006 12:13 PM

Mike Neff, where did you watch this race from, if you have any sense you know that TNT didn’t show the whole thing. During the caution MW was behind RG, MW was pushing RG into the marbles and the wall. Then when they show MW sitting there with his hood all crunched in, what happened is Robby got tired of MW pushing him around the track and he brake check him, and MW hit him. Now if you remember MW said before the race, if you hit them from behind it is your fault. Get your facts straight Mr. Neff, and it is easy to blame Robby, but when you report it like the gospel, you come off like you are judge and jury. They will take care of it, MW won’t qualify for this weeks race and MW will have to buy his way into the race using Toyota Money. Remember what MW said on INC, Robby owns his own race cars, MW is just the driver this year, he does not have to re-built any of his cars, they are owned by Davis. So get off your high horse and admit that you were WRONG MIKE NEFF.

07/21/2006 12:13 PM

Mikey is such a lameo. The guy can’t handle his car at 50MPH? I would hate to share the Track at 200MPH. he was ranked #1 for most altercations last year and I ‘m sure he wil be again this year. The Dude just need to quit.

07/21/2006 12:17 PM

First, if you park every car that brake checks another, the feild would be some where around 10 or less every week. And second, should you park Jeff G for wrecking Matt K, or Kurt B. for wrecking Greg B., or…?

07/21/2006 12:28 PM

i watch nascar soley for the robby gordon factor. he’s a big time underdog. i like that he doesn’t take getting pushed around well.

waltrip, on the other hand, that dude just hits stuff. alot. and apparently, he ain’t too bright. if he’s stupid enough to screw with someone, and then get suckered with a “brake check”, i can only laugh. what a bonehead.

giving robby a penalty for squaring waltrip away would be rediculous. he should be getting a pat on the back.

on a general note, nascar really does need to review how it dishes out its penalties. to the average viewer, their methods do seem a little biased.

07/21/2006 12:34 PM

If you honestly think for one second that [***] Waltrip wasn’t trying to take out Robby, you’re nuts. Mikey had a checklist of cars to take out, and under caution was his only chance to catch the 7. He’s an idiot. I hope he DNQs eveyr week now.

* Some content edited by The Frontstretch
07/21/2006 12:56 PM

So watch if Robby brake checked MW. If You penalize Robby, then you would have to go back and check all the races and change points etc. for infractions. MW got what he deserved. To hear him talk, one would think he was a good driver. We all know thati s false.

07/21/2006 02:02 PM

I just have to wonder …..

If I was MW, and I was basically handed a rare opportunity (Toyota), I would take care how I acted and try to present myself in the best light possible. Even though the deal seems to be set, I am willing to bet there is enough wiggle room in the contract to dump MW and get someone more respected to head up the venture. Just some food for thought if you are reading this MW…..

07/21/2006 02:14 PM

The only reason motormouth is even getting attention for this is because his last name is Waltrip. If he werent riding on his brothers coat tails he would be considered just another field filler. His lack of driving talent has shown over the years and his only wins have come from races were the crew plays more of a part for the win. I would have to say, trying to desifer wat happened from an incar camera view is just stupid. Motor mouth even tried to get Riggs to say he raced him bad and Riggs said that Robby raced him clean.

07/21/2006 02:29 PM

He won the Daytona 500. There are more than a few drivers who would give anything to be able to say that or to even win at a restrictor plate race at all. I dont think that’s anything to sneeze at. If I remember right, Dale Earnhardt—arguably one of the greater drivers in the sport—was thrilled to win that race…as was Jimmie Johnson this year, Jeff Gordon, etc…

07/21/2006 02:45 PM

So did Derick Cope and look at him now.

07/21/2006 04:29 PM

You all DO realize that Gordon is in his own car because no one else is stupid enough to put him in a ride, don’t you? Nor is any manufacturer knocking at his door to run three teams for them. Robby Gordon is an independent because he sucks at stock car racing. If you want to romanticize it as some noble thing he’s doing, that’s all fine if it helps you sleep at night, but the fact is, he shouldn’t be out there, and once the teams from Toyota get in the field, he’ll be pushed aside like the untalented field filler he is.

07/21/2006 05:30 PM

I watched the Mikey Show (aka Inside Nextel Cup) on Monday night. At the beginning of the show Mikey makes a big deal about how it is the driver’s responsibility to keep the nose of the car clean and undamaged. Mikey states that if the nose gets bent it is the driver’s fault for hitting whatever he hit. As the show goes on he then blames Ryan for damaging the nose of the 55 and later blames Robby for ruining the nose and radiator of the 55. He can’t even keep his own line of reasoning straight let alone the nose of his car. It’s the driver’s fault unless the driver is Mikey. That’s why I’ve been losing respect for him.

07/21/2006 05:51 PM

Whether it was a payback for last year, or for something earlier in the race, Robby ‘brake checked’ ‘The Mouth’ and I loved every bit of it. Mikey had it coming and for the moron comment I think he’s due another! GAS ON ROBBY!!

07/21/2006 06:04 PM

Not siding with RG or anything, but isnt it funny how MW always has an excuse for his problems. Never takes the blame or anything of the sort. I used to like MW till he dissed Morgan Shephard on tv. Classless.

07/21/2006 08:30 PM

Barb, my comment was directed at the author, not yourself. You just happened to post right before me. Sorry about the confusion.

Sean Decker
07/21/2006 10:38 PM

The dumb move was by NASCAR for not red flagging the race. If they do at least Hamlin has the gas to complete the run, Sadler was probably screwed at the moment the caution came out in the first place. That’s racing.
You make strategy call from the pits and you live or die by it, that’s it, you know the rules and they’re the same for everyone.

We don’t need a rules change or a penalty everytime two mental midgets in cars they shouldn’t be in the first place do something stupid to each other.

Maybe I’m little old school on this one but if Waltrip and Gordon have a problem with one another, then they should go out behind the track and settle it because most of us don’t care anyway.

It’s not like either of them will ever be competitive again. Gordon’s mouth will prevent him reaching his potential and Waltrip’s potential was realized long ago and it wasn’t much.

07/22/2006 08:28 AM

In response to #32 post that says “You all DO realize that Gordon is in his own car because no one else is stupid enough to put him in a ride, don’t you?”... Robby left Richard Childress racing and the Cingular ride that Jeff Burton now races to start his own team. Richard Childress begged Robby to stay.

Note: Some content edited by The Frontstretch
07/22/2006 09:06 AM

Like I heard on I.N.C. this week, when it comes to Robby Gordon, “You Can’t Fix Stupid” !!!!

07/22/2006 01:07 PM

It didn’t take Robby 462 starts to win his first race. And he didn’t have someone blocking the entire field for him.

07/23/2006 07:09 PM

For those of you who saw today’s race, that is exactly the kind of penalty I was talking about. Gordon and Waltrip should have received a one lap penalty last week. Then the whole issue would have been a moot point.

N Garrett
07/25/2006 08:19 AM

Seems Robbie Gordon has a bunch of fanatical fans. Too bad he will never be as popular as Michael Waltrip. Brakechecking someone and changing the entire outcome of a race should have been heavily punished by Nascar.

07/25/2006 07:54 PM

Michael Waltrip popular? Come on! MW likes to draw attention to himself. We all know those type of people. They have nothing going for themselves, but they have to act important. He is really pathetic on IWC.


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