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Monday, November 12, 2012

Caution: NASCAR inconsistent

Racing flags
Racing flags
(Photo credit: pixeldrawer)
NASCAR is good about making up its own rules, but consistency seems to elude them.

Every time we turn around, NASCAR makes up another rule. Yet, rarely does it abide by its own rules in a consistent manner. Whether it is imposing fines and penalties, showing bias for and/or against certain drivers and teams, or imposing guidelines on the sport itself, NASCAR's actions are all over the map.

Apparently when to throw a caution flag is the latest NASCAR controversy. This is hardly the first time.

At Sunday's Phoenix race Kyle Petty was correct when he said NASCAR missed two cautions. The first time they should have waved the yellow flag was after Clint Bowyer hit Jeff Burton the first time. Gordon scraped the wall. Parts were visibly flying off his car, leaving debris on the track. Had NASCAR erred on the side of caution, the melee between him and Bowyer would likely not have even occurred.

The second appropriate place for a caution was, of course on the final lap. For this one, they are taking some heat. I have yet to hear NASCAR admit that a mistake was made, although, I've read that the sanctioning body has acknowledged an error.

During the final laps of Sunday's race, Jeff Burton hit Danica Patrick, sending her into the wall. There should have been a caution, but NASCAR let the race continue despite Patrick's injured race car still sitting sideways on the race track. The damage put down a slippery oil slick, which was hit by several drivers, including Ryan Newman whose car went spinning, getting struck three separate times, at least. Patrick was hit again lifting her race car's rear end off the track. Mark Martin, Paul Menard, and Brad Kezelowski were also involved in the ensuing wreck.

There is no excuse for NASCAR not calling a caution in either instance, especially when in contrast, it is quick to call a caution for a tiny piece of debris that may or may not be visible to the naked eye.

When there is an incident on the track, often times, NASCAR will wait to see if a car can limp its way to the pit lane. If it can't a caution will be called, but not always. Why make that a judgement call? Want a rule; how about a caution flag being flown the moment there is an accident on the track?

This incident is just one more reason fans are sick of NASCAR and its inconsistent rules and ever-changing policies. These guys have more mandates than congress. Very little of what goes on in race tracks all across the country on Sundays resembles real racing. The competition has been bastardized by a hand. I cannot imagine the drivers are happy with the situation either. NASCAR really ought to figure out how to get along with the fans it aims to please, and the professional race car drivers it depends upon before it finds itself having a going out of business sale.

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