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Beside the Rising Tide: Now I Try To Be Amused

Oh, I used to be disgusted,

Now I try to be amused.

Since their wings have gotten rusted,

The angels wanna wear my red shoes

-Elvis Costello-

Yep, sometimes it’s impossible not to be amazed by how consistently NASCAR’s sharpshooters can shoot themselves in the foot. Click those red shoes together, Dorothy, ’cause I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore… that was last week. The ill-winds of a wayward Mexican hurricane blew foul fortune upon some and unearned benefit upon others at the end of Sunday’s race in Sweet Home Alabama. (A song whose three writers, by the way, were, in fact, from Florida, but the guitar licks are legendary nevertheless.) Never before have five minutes of not racing and non-restarts caused so many hours of flaming posts on Twitter. If there are two sides to the debate in this instance it doesn’t involve whether NASCAR’s calls were right or wrong but rather which call they blew the worst.

There’s a certain solace to my new Tuesday deadline on Frontstretch this season. Those with deadlines on Monday; Neff, Bedgood, Henderson, Jordan et al, have to come to their own conclusions and let their opinions float like trial balloons into the air. (At least one of them chose to duck and cover this week rather than likely draw heavy fire.) With a Tuesday deadline I have more time to contemplate, read fans’ reactions to what those other writers said, and tweak my own thoughts. I’m sort of like a prairie dog poking his head the day after the battle to consider the blackened field of combat and the smoking ashes to see which fires are burning the brightest.

But as is my nature, I’ll start by going off the grid. Yep, we need to talk about that restart that wasn’t a restart and the move the driver of the No. 4 car made that ended the race, but the biggest mistake NASCAR made wasn’t either of those calls (or non-calls). Jamie McMurray’s engine expired in an oily plume late in the race. (Conspiracy theorists might consider perhaps the team had rigged the engine to do so at the touch of a button because that exploding engine was the only way McMurray and the sponsors on the side of his car were going to get shown on TV given NBC’s fixation with the Chasers… ask Greg Biffle.) It was clear there was a lot of fluid on the track, and Talladega is the biggest track on the circuit. You didn’t have to have a PhD in hazardous waste management to know that that was going to take a long while to clean up.

When NASCAR threw that yellow flag, they should have instantly thrown the red flag as well and stopped the field on the back straight, still several laps short of the scheduled distance. Oddly enough, NASCAR did just that during Saturday’s truck race. I don’t know who this Fred guy was, but he must have some clout with the boys in the tower. Given the nature of pack racing at Talladega, it was obviously imperative that the track be thoroughly cleaned and the resultant clouds of absorbent material be vacuumed up prior to a re-check before setting a thundering three-wide eight-deep herd of cars stampeding into the setting sun. Remember what happened at Charlotte when NASCAR didn’t quite get the track cleaned up enough?

I’m puzzled as to why NASCAR didn’t choose to do so Sunday. The race had only been slowed twice by caution flags to that point. They had plenty of daylight left to work with and no impending bad weather to deal with. The race was even within its TV time slot so NBC couldn’t be have been telling them to wrap things up quickly. Had NASCAR thrown the red flag and cleaned up the track, there’s no way of knowing if another caution would have flown before the scheduled distance, but at least the drivers could have sorted it out racing at full speed and not thanks to two abortive attempts at restarting the race. Running all those extra laps under caution cost Biffle a shot at an upset win and allowed Kevin Harvick to nurse his wounded car around until the end. Maybe Joey Logano would still have won. Maybe Dale Earnhardt Jr., who had the dominant car would have won and advanced. Or maybe someone running 10th would have made one of those last-minute kamikaze drives through the tri-oval to take the victory. Sadly, we’ll never know.

I also found it curious that NASCAR decided to change the rule for Sunday’s race deciding there’d be no more than one attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, as opposed to a maximum of three attempts as has been the rule at every other track on the schedule. NASCAR naturally stated they made the change out of concern for the drivers’ safety (and presumably concern for the safety of the fans in the stands after way too many close calls at Daytona and Talladega.) Most of you will recall that NASCAR instituted the GWC rule after an incident at this very track. Back in April 2004, the Talladega race was allowed to finish under caution. Jeff Gordon won and Earnhardt Jr. was deprived of a chance to make a run for the checkers after an incident involving Brian Vickers, who went on to finish the race on the lead lap anyway. To further rile up the highly partisan Earnhardt crowd in Alabama, Gordon’s victory allowed him to surpass Dale Earnhardt, the Original, in the career victories stat. Enraged, the Earnhardt diehards pelted the No. 24 car with beer cans as he celebrated the win. (If you’ll allow me a brief aside, I think we can all agree throwing beer cans at a winner is low rent. Given the inebriation of most of the those throwing those cans, more of them hit someone else in the grandstands rather than making it onto the track, and it is, after all, a waste of perfectly good beer… or Budweiser.)

Originally, nothing in the rule stated how many attempts would be made at a GWC finish. Fans were going to see the race end under green no matter how long it took. Then during one truck race (I think it was at IRP), people kept wrecking and there were so many attempts at a GWC it seemed if they let things play out nobody would finish. Shortly afterwards the rule was changed to a maximum of three attempts. And you have to appreciate the unintended irony of a race at the track that gave birth to the GWC rule ending under caution with an Earnhardt in second and people throwing beer cans at the winner anyway.

I’m still struggling with how a single GWC finish was supposed to make anyone safer on either side of the grandstands. The impetus for the single GWC finish rule was Austin Dillon’s nasty wreck at Daytona (the last plate race) which occurred…ahem, during a single green-white-checkered finish. Despite one of my colleagues contention back in July that Dillon’s wreck proved the catchfences were adequate, it would seem what the NASCAR officials on hand saw during that wreck scared the bejezus out of them and had their liability lawyer wringing their hands. But in changing the rule, they seem to be admitting that restrictor-plate racing is more inherently dangerous than other oval-track events. Thus, it would seem that if safety is the true goal of the rules change, safety would have been better served by eliminating the races at Daytona and Talladega to protect the drivers and fans alike. At very minimum, an effort should have been made post-Daytona to find a way to slow the cars down to a safe speed without those cursed plates which were adopted as a “temporary” measure almost three decades ago. It’s just the nature of the beast. If a race concludes under green at the scheduled distance or if it ends after 20 laps of “overtime” there’s still going to be drivers in those huge packs Brian France says he likes so much throwing caution to the wind. Almost inevitably one day a car will end up in the grandstands. By implementing the new rule this weekend, NASCAR is all but admitting as much.

As a historical footnote, Bobby Allison’s wreck at Talladega didn’t introduce the plates to NASCAR racing. Initially they were used to limit the horsepower disparity between Dodge and Ford’s purpose-built race engines (the Hemi and the Boss) and the more conventional wedge engines. Many felt it was a sop offered to GM to get back into racing in the wake of Ford and Dodge quitting the factory teams. In actuality it ushered in the era of small block engines which NASCAR preferred to slow the cars down. To make racing safer of course. Smaller plates were also used at Michigan when it first opened to lower those speeds.

And now, on to the two controversies most fans latched onto after the event at Talladega NASCAR alleges was a race. You’ve heard a lot of opinions from the media, and the drivers themselves and have doubtless come to conclusions of your own. You can count me in the camp of people baffled by how a restart cannot be a restart. Those expanded zones on now painted on the edges of the track and enhanced by NBC’s add-on red lines are called “restart zones” are they not? I mean maybe next week they’ll be calling them “re-acceleration zones” or something but that’s the area of the track within which the control car (the leader) has to hit the gas and restart the race. There’s that word again. If the control car fails to accelerate within that zone, the flagman throws the green flag to restart the race. Yep, there it is again. Clearly the green light on the flag stand was illuminated on the starter’s stand, meaning someone in the tower had decided the race had restarted. But now we’re being told that the race hasn’t actually restarted until the cars pass over the start-finish line. Huh? That surprised me, but I don’t feel bad. Apparently the drivers who get paid to race for a living didn’t know that either. That caution came out so quickly you have to wonder if the starter him (or her) self made the call or they got word from the tower to throw the yellow.

Now if the race never restarted, which NASCAR is telling us, why weren’t the drivers involved returned to their starting positions? I suppose the argument is they failed to maintain reasonable speed under the caution, which is difficult to do if you’re spinning through the infield grass.

I seem to recall in shooting pool at seaside bars in Jersey, whoever broke (the winner of the last game and thus the control player) could wave off his break saying the balls had been racked loosely and thus for a better game they should be racked up again for another shot. Unless any colored ball had gone into a pocket. And trust me there were a lot of fights, both verbal and physical, when someone chose to invoke that rule. My buddies and I would roll our eyes and call it “Jersey pool,” just as the Jersey boys used to contest our rule if that you don’t hit the 8-ball on a shot that might win the game you lose. Yeah, sometimes in desperation with no shot to take on your own, you’d try to block the 8-ball to steal a win, but we fought over that strategy too. The only way to shoot pool rather than argue and to brawl was to decide on the rules before the break and have everyone be on the same page before there was an advantage to them one way or another.

That led to the second attempt at a restart and I presume you all know what the outcome was even if the intent of the driver involved is open to interpretation. On that restart-that-wasn’t-a-restart, Harvick, knowing his mount was mortally wounded, did the right thing and moved up out of line to stay out of the way. There’s no debating when that yellow flag flew Harvick had to think it was a gift. He was clearly not happy when told that that restart didn’t count. At his best Harvick can be an affable guy. He doesn’t handle irritation well.

On the restart that counted as a restart Harvick changed tactics. Rather than drift outside to the wall he held his position. As we discussed last week, blocking isn’t illegal in NASCAR racing. Given their decision making this week, I think we can all agree we don’t want to hand NASCAR a new rule against blocking they get to interpret. According to the No. 4 driver, he’d decided maybe he’d get a push from the cars behind him and get up to speed. I find that questionable. You can put the spurs to an ailing jackass, but it’s still not going to win the Kentucky Derby. Trevor Bayne moved up to the outside line against the wall to pass Harvick’s stricken Chevy.

Now we’re at the crux of the matter. It’s possible that Harvick thought nobody could pass him prior to the start/finish line. I believe the rule actually says another driver can pass you if you fail to accelerate, but again that’s open to interpretation. If the leader buzzes the tire and fails to come up to speed quickly and the second-place finisher gets ahead of him, I’ve seen the “passing” driver penalized. Either way, after a couple hours of flying in tight formation without anything but incidental contact, Harvick suddenly cut right and clipped the back of Bayne’s car. The No. 6 car got sideways and it was Katie Bar the Door time. Harvick said he wasn’t aware Bayne was out there. Frankly I’d find that easier to believe if Harvick’s Chevy had been gathered up in the wreck too. The fact he says he didn’t know Bayne was out there, accidentally ran into him, then took split-second action to avoid the wreck defies belief.

Other drivers involved in the incident seemed equally certain Harvick’s move was intentional, and they had the best seats in the house. Some called on Harvick to be penalized, which would have had playoff implications, but NASCAR had already painted themselves in a corner in that regard. Brian France called Logano’s decision to knock Matt Kenseth out of his way at Kansas last week “quintessential NASCAR.” (As an aside a special nod to some hardworking behind the scenes NASCAR type who managed to get Brian France to use a four-syllable word correctly. My guess is that fellow could teach a trout to play trombone.)

I very much doubt Harvick will be penalized for that move, even if evidence surfaces it was intentional. But some Earnhardt Jr. fans are still holding out hope that there will be points penalties handed down this week against Kurt Busch and Harvick, who are currently seventh and eighth in the standings. NASCAR saw something they didn’t like with the radiator pans on all four Stewart-Haas Racing cars prior to this weekend’s race and forced the teams to change them. Typically any tweaking of the aero rules at the plate tracks draws big penalties. So let’s say NASCAR hits both drivers and teams with a 25-point penalty, which I doubt, but again it wouldn’t be unheard of, and they get to make up the severities of a penalties too. (So I guess you could say if they decide that a restart is a not a restart you could also call a penalty leveled at the No. 48 team a non-penalty because it’s suddenly like it never happened after the appeals process.) Here’s the 411, Junior Nation: if Harvick and Busch do get penalized, Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin would make the next round. Earnhardt would still be on the outside looking in. But there’s always next year. Which I believe is what Linus used to say about a visit from the Great Pumpkin.

One thing I did notice after the race, though I suppose no one was supposed to. The drivers, even those who were clearly enraged, were picking and choosing their words awfully carefully and they kept hitting a common theme, “its NASCAR’s sandbox and they make the rules. Whatever they say goes.” It would seem there was some back-door communications with veiled threats not to “disparage the product” and to keep things positive. Hamlin, who was clearly fuming, was obviously censoring his thoughts and added he just couldn’t put a positive spin on things as if someone in the background was whispering in his ear he had to do so. But the Stepford Wives’ quote of the race goes to Earnhardt Jr. for his comment, “NASCAR makes the calls. They are the governing body and I have 100% faith in the choices that they make.” Sure, kid. And I believe in Santa Claus too, but Heather Locklear has yet to appear under the Christmas tree.

Random Thoughts

In a way, it’s a shame that all the shenanigans and debate after the race are overshadowing the stories we might have been talking about. Take for instance the fact Logano has won the last three races, a pretty notable achievement in modern-era Cup racing. (For newer fans, Richard Petty won 27 races in 1967, 10 of them in a row.) Prior to this year, Logano had never managed back-to-back wins. In fact between 2008 and 2013 combined he won a combined three races. Normally you’d consider Logano a favorite for the title right now, but keep in mind the Chase format erases the value of those three wins going into this weekend. But you never know. Logano could be this year’s surprise champion if Kenseth doesn’t knock his block off first.

One of the key talking points of the “All Singing, All Dancing Ultra-Exciting Chase” is that it puts a premium on winning and running up front. Really? Let’s have a look at the stats for our friend Hamlin in the last round of the Chase. He finished fourth at Charlotte and second at Kansas. A pair of top-five finishes is pretty good, especially given his torn ACL and whatnot. But the wheels fell off Hamlin’s little red wagon at Talladega with a 37th-place result after his roof hatch tried to go AWOL. In the end, the Chase doesn’t reward strong runs nearly as much as it makes one poor result a death knell for a driver’s title hopes.

Prior to the start of the season, I doubt many folks would have bet Gordon would be the sole remaining Chase entrant for Hendrick Motorsports. If he can finish decently the next three weekends Gordon could arrive at Homestead with the Drive for 5 still alive. As his fans remind me, Gordon would probably have several more titles had it not been for the implementation of the Chase in its various unseemly formats. The Chase was started in response to Kenseth’s single-win 2003 season that saw him crowned as Top Dog. I would consider it deliciously ironic if in this, his final season, Gordon could claim the title without having won a race at Homestead next month. To go down as the driver that made NASCAR decide to ashcan the Chase would add further luster to Gordon’s not inconsiderable legacy.

But in the end, I can think what I think and feel what I feel, and so can you. But at the end of Mike Helton’s proverbial day it is in fact what it is and there’s not a damn thing you or I can do about it. Try not to be disgusted. It’s more fun to be amused. Three straight weeks in a row and fans are talking about the races for all the wrong reasons. More importantly, the major media isn’t talking about the races at all, so the Chase has failed to elbow its way into the relentless talk about the NFL, college football and the World Series. Brian France says he wants NASCAR to have “Game 7” moments. (Which I find highly amusing in that I still have a “NASCAR… Everything else is just a game” magnet on my fridge.) Instead what NASCAR has reaped is a “Game 2” moment, like Chase Utley’s takeout slide at second with the Dodgers that got him suspended two games. People who are talking about both situations are doing it for all the wrong reasons and portraying both sports in an unflattering light. But it’s the end of the day and in fact in four weeks we’ll reach the end of the season and quite frankly that can’t come fast enough for me after Sunday. I suppose it’s a sign of getting old. It used to be when you read The Night Before Christmas all the excitement was about gifts that would be arriving soon. Now I’m more looking forward to a long winter’s nap. If you’ve been part of the NASCAR media and you aren’t at least considering retirement by this part of the season there’s something wrong with you. But every year most of us keep coming back, though some of them never do.

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kb

It has been very interesting to notice some pundits who were fine with the Logano move in holding his line after getting fed up with Matty blocking all over the place…now the infamous Harvick move is now considered one in the same? I say apples and oranges..and in no way analogise.

Richie

I’m 100% with kb on this. Blocking is pulling in front of the car behind you to “block” him from advancing his position on you. Clipping another car in the rear quarter-panel may have the same effect, the SOB didn’t get around you but, it is not blocking.

Bill B

Well Matt, in reading this well thought out article, all I feel is disgusted. I can not find amusement. I find myself asking, how did I ever get involved with this sport and why am I still watching?

If there is one thing about the current incarnation of the chase, it’s that it magnifies the (bad) decisions and (bad) calls that NASCAR makes due to the elimination aspect and most of the time those decisions and calls make it look like no one in charge has a clue. Circus indeed. I wonder how well the NFL playoffs would be received if the calls were arbitrary and the rules were made up as they went along. My guess is that the NFL fans would also be throwing cans of beer on the field (not that I condone that type of response).

Maybe the question I need to ask myself more is, “Am I still having fun?”. Too many times I walk away after a race and feel nothing but disgust or anger. I am hoping that by not having a driver once Gordon retires that I won’t take everything that happens so seriously but then I wonder, what’s the point in watching if you have no skin in the game? So next year should be interesting for me. NASCAR will be on the hot seat and they already have two strikes against them. Hopefully next year I will be amused and be able to laugh at the foibles but that’s more of a reality television thing and doesn’t really fit anything I consider a sport.

Mike

The good news is that on Saturday, my beloved Auburn Tigers showed some signs of life against Arkansas. Getting rid of the poison pill, Duke Williams, paid off instantly. The Tuscaloosa County Tide struggled against Tennessee initially. Maybe the Iron Bowl won’t be one-sided this year (it’s ok if it’s one sided to our advantage).

Oh, this is a NASCAR forum. Sorry. “its NASCAR’s sandbox and they make the rules” is indeed true. There’s another truism: “I vote with my wallet”. DVR through the race to the final 20-some minutes made me thankful I didn’t invest much more time than that.

babydufus

so does confused rhymes with shoes (just as well as amused?)
let’s go with that.

in allowing the second attempt at an attempt nascar ensured the very thing that they claimed to be trying to avoid.
it could end no other way even had the so called sometimes affable harvick chosen not to do the only thing that could have kept him moving into the next round.

i do not fault harvick, he did the only thing he could. i still think he’s a complete d-bag but still can’t find fault given his predicament.

NO, I’m neither amused nor confused

i can’t disagree here with matt that the finger points at the sponsoring body. I add this though… Yes, add it up. Running the 16 out of gas, the attempt at an attempt, the timing of the two last yellows, causing the very thing they claimed to be trying to avoid and worse of all defending the whole mess and claiming they did everything correctly and according to the rules isn’t enough to prove this no longer a sporting event?

Bill B’s comment got me thinking, why did i start watching oh so long ago? An easy question once i thought about it… watching men compete against each other in beautiful and amazing machines often defying treacherous conditions at circuits that were magically different. The sounds, the sights, the spectacle and to be able to proudly say this is “MY” sport and “MY” driver. Most of that is now missing. I still have a favorite driver a few that I see as uh… um…er… unfavorite but mostly i piss, moan and complain. we are most assuredly not amused.

oh, and if this is now an entertainment venue, does that make the driver actors?

DoninAjax

The networks think they’re making a movie. Should the drivers be members of the Screen Actors Guild, like wrestlers?

Carl D.

The Clemson Tigers are undefeated and ranked 3rd in the latest AP poll, and the Carolina Panthers are undefeated as well. Brad Keselowski is still alive for the Nascar championship and Jimmie Johnson isn’t. My world is kittens and bunnies and unicorns. I refuse to take these blinders off for at least one more week because thinking about Nascar officiating and Kevin Harvick just pisses me off unnecessarily.

DoninAjax

If you’re trying to figure out why the red wasn’t thrown, consider who was leading and who wasn’t.

Harvick does what he does because he has Delana looking after him. I’m positive he makes sure she’s around before he does anything. You’d think she should be tired of it by now.

Brian’s hero is Vince McMahon. He converses with him to get new brilliant ideas between trips to the vault. The wizard of nods. Yes bwana.

Listening to the drivers after the fiasco almost made me puke. Remember who’s looking over your shoulder listening. Reminded me of Jerry.

GinaV24

“a gathering of the greatest minds” well, if that’s referring to the braintrust running NASCAR, that’s a darn big stretch.

“situational necessity” isn’t that Hillary’s defense of what happened in Benghazi?

kb

I think he misses the mark as to why people are cheering for Trump. Not a good analogy.

Carl D.

That name Jordie Gerald sounds familiar. I think I read where he was an award-winning motorsports writer. Who sets the bar for you guys?

Capt Spaulding

“two time award winning”

Bill B

Sarcasm?… I hope. Not sure because it’s kind of all over the place.
I did laugh out loud when I read “in the most bestest form of auto racing”.

DoninAjax

“NASCAR (an organization I am making good progress to becoming an employee of)”

With writing like that he’ll probably get hired. He can share a desk with Jerry. They might share the Kool-Aid.

GinaV24

I noticed that Jerry was offended that people didn’t agree with his defense of NASCAR. Too bad. I’d like the opportunity to vote for some of these awards. I would bet the outcome would be much different.

Which flavor did we decide the kool aid was this week?

brokenarrow

According to the unofficial race results, the caution for McMurray’s blown engine started on lap 185, meaning that even if the race had been red-flagged at that point, with caution laps always following a red flag, the race would have gone into overtime anyway. A red flag might have helped Biffle, but I don’t see how it would have prevented the mess that came with the two G-W-C’s.

brokenarrow

In other words, don’t bother Matt with facts when he is trying to spur his ailing jackass to a win in the Kentucky Derby.

Richie

“You can put the spurs to an ailing jackass but it’s still not going to win the Kentucky Derby.”

I’m glad I was done eating my lunch when I read this, otherwise I’d have sprayed food all over my monitor laughing so hard. Thanks Matt.

GinaV24

I liked that line, too. Matt does have a way with words.

LOL at Matt with his reference to the reception that Jordan’s rose colored glasses column usually gets. It’s a shame there isn’t a beer bottle thrown emoticon, there are some columns that would deserve it.

brokenarrow

That’s an old one. Pretty easy to amuse some folks here.

GinaV24

No, I’m not amused, but then again, NASCAR as a whole stopped being amusing some time ago. It used to be fun to be standing in the grandstands watching, hearing and feeling that heavy road of engines as the field came up to speed. Even when my favorite didn’t win, I still knew that I’d seen a race and had fun. Now I seldom get to the end of the race thinking – gee, I really enjoyed that.

I’m not confused either. I see quite clearly the crap that NASCAR and much of the media have tried to shove down our throats as “fun and entertaining” and I’ll fly the BS flag on them on that because generally it isn’t either one.
Having the drivers have to stand there trying to parse their words to come up with an “acceptable to NASCAR” comment when it is obvious that they want to scream with outrage is terrible, too. Back before NASCAR applied their big stick and fines to all the drivers with their “thou shalt not speak anything but positive thoughts”, I felt like I could get a better feel for things from what the drivers say. Now, they are like politicians, whatever they say is suspect and not to be believed.

Disgusted? yeah, well that’s pretty much a given and Dega certainly showed a lot of reasons for disgust. From NASCAR not being able to make up their minds on whether or not it was or wasn’t a restart to Harvick making his decision to wreck the 6 to maintain position. Hey, I can understand why he did it, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s right. After all, Newman did it last year to Larson and in the NASCAR lexicon, that’s just “have at it, boys”.

Like Bill B, I’ll be a casual observer next year since I won’t pick another driver to invest my time or emotions in supporting. NASCAR isn’t worth that level of commitment any more. Maybe next year, I’ll be amused by the circus.

tcfromaz

For a little while now I have felt guilty for adopting the practice of recording NASCAR races and then playing them back at 8x speed from pit stops, to cautions, to last 10 laps. No longer!

paltex

Great column. Glad that you could use words to put some humor into what happened Sunday.
This is a continuum of nascars operating and there is no reason to expect they will change. Iam amused when Helton is interviewed and in a serious tone telling everyone that nascar has everything under control.
Lastly, the announcing is what you would expect to hear at a highschool football game. how did we have Ned and Benny in the past and no one capable today?

russ

An excerpt from a column by Peter Delorenzo’s “Autoextremist” blog this week. A point that some overlook.

The car owners, teams and drivers are stuck between a rock and a hard place in this whole thing. They love to compete and the success of NASCAR has given them access to a lifestyle that would be simply impossible to comprehend otherwise. So they’re reluctant to criticize the series because NASCAR has pumped millions upon millions of dollars not only into their pockets, but into Charlotte and the surrounding region. And believe me when I say that this is no insignificant thing. If you’ve ever spent anytime down there you’d instantly get it and understand.

But ultimately that’s no excuse. Those very same team owners and drivers have to band together and demand substantive changes in the way that NASCAR goes about its business. This goes well beyond the ongoing “franchise” discussions, because this gets to the heart of the matter of the relevance of NASCAR going forward. If the players involved want to see the sport survive let alone thrive, they’re going to have to force the issue right here and right now. They can’t just fume through the rest of the Chase and forget about it over the six-week break and come back to Daytona testing rested and ready to repeat the same sorry scenario all over again.

Capt Spaulding

Can’t wait to see the SHR teams show up at the track with a hollowed out schoolbus and the car loaded in the back.

russ

Plans have changed. Instead of paying all that money for the sponsors and entourage they are going to buy a really nice open trailer to pull behind the dually.

Dan

I’ve been wondering what it would be like if Tony Stewart wouldn’t have had all his past issues and would be in the mix of all this excitement. Yikes!?

J. Smith

If you would try to get your article in on time maybe it wouldn’t be so damn long and maybe I wouldn’t have got lost in reading this morning and maybe I wouldn’t have been late for work and just maybe I wouldn’t have had to lie about the reason. Thanks for nothing but, I am amused.

babydufus

well if you want something closer to a tweet or a blogpost you could always read the Jordie Gerald post instead :)

charlie

They ran Greg Biffle out of gas to keep him, a non-chaser from an opportunity to win. They piddle around cleaning up the track. The rest is a race that was decided by shallow thinkers and not the drivers. Who spins Harvick first?

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