Saturday, April 28, 2012

Richmond race perfect for those who like entertainment more than racing

Kyle Busch crossed the line first Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway, and although he had a fast car, he had no business in Victory Lane.
Before we really get started though, let me throw out the disclaimer to address all of those who will try to accuse this post of being upset because the #18 car won. This story has much less to do with Busch and more to do with how terribly NASCAR handled Saturday night’s race.
First, NASCAR single-handedly took Carl Edwards out of contention for the victory when officials penalized him for jumping a restart with 82 laps to go.
Again, this isn’t about Edwards, but how NASCAR handled the situation. Apparently officials told Edwards’ spotter the #99 car was the leader ahead of Tony Stewart.
Granted, Edwards took off before the restart line, but he was close. It’s fine to say that should be an objective call, but then Matt Kenseth should’ve been penalized twice at Bristol for beating the leader back to the line on a restart.
If NASCAR thought Kenseth was close enough to get a gimme on the restarts, Edwards was certainly close enough to get a gimme at Richmond.
In that case, the only other problem would’ve been if Edwards was supposed to restart in second place. He obviously thought he was supposed to restart second because he was in the outside lane, but the he was told he was the leader. Therefore, there shouldn’t have been a problem.
That wasn’t the only problem with how NASCAR handled the end of the race, though.
Stewart caught a break when Edwards was black-flagged, but he also had the race taken away from him with just 14 laps to go when NASCAR found an excuse to throw a debris caution.
Supposedly there was a water bottle or beer can in Turn 2. We’ll never know because the TV cameras couldn’t find it, but Busch won the following restart and won the race.
Stewart would’ve won the race easily had the race stayed green, but that would have been the third race in a row that didn’t have a close finish. Heaven forbid that happen, people might say the race was boring again.
NASCAR couldn’t allow a competition to play out naturally. It had to throw the caution to keep things interesting. Well, the end of the race wasn’t much more exciting than it would’ve been if Stewart had cruised on to the win. Dale Earnhardt Jr. never got close enough to Busch to make the end interesting.
Unfortunately, all of these issues hurt the integrity of the racing.
NASCAR is already a sport that fights perceptions from non-fans who say it isn’t a real sport and the drivers aren’t truly athletes. Most of the time those comments come from ignorant people who have never watched an entire race in their life, but Satruday night was pretty much a staged finish.
I’m sorry recent races haven’t been packed with action, but this is supposed to be a sport. If NASCAR wants to make this reality television, then jump in with both feet and have producers control how the race plays out, who races who and who gets upset at each other.
People lose their minds when they think a referee or umpire in another sport affected the outcome of a game, but coming into this race people were actually debating whether NASCAR officials should intentionally affect the end of the race.
NASCAR officials will forever deny it, but that water bottle would not have affected how Saturday night’s race finished. The debris caution sure did, though.
It might be unfair to say Busch was given this win because he still drove hard throughout the night, but he sure got a ton of help from the NASCAR officials in the control tower who took the win away from Edwards and Stewart.
The only lasting impression from Saturday night’s race may have been the substantial questions of NASCAR’s integrity.


  1. Their "integrity" was lost years ago. Who could be surprised at any of the events you mentioned?

  2. Maybe the answer is to fire Pemberton, Helton, Darby, and Brian France, then bring in the management team from the WWE or Impact. Sure couldn't make it worse. We've already got the perfect announce team with the Waltrip bothers.

    1. I want someone to Slap DW and his brother....maybe DJ can get Buffy to do it. lol

  3. This was one of the most poorly officiated races I can remember. My driver won but it was given to him and he didn't earn it. The took the win away from Tony Steward for no reason and took it away from Carl Edwards because they didn't know what they were doing with poor communications.

  4. BTW: the often overlooked issue is that Nascar is not about racing, its about making money. While they made 127 million in the 1st quarter, the trend is continuing downward.
    So something has to be done. If it means injecting a little artifical excitement, so what? The fans will ignore it.

  5. I don't know if Edwards' spotter made a mistake or if NASCAR gave hoim the wrong information, but it doesn't really matter. He jumped the start by more than a little bit, and deserved the penalty.

    As to Stewart's problem, I'm inclined to believe that was a bogus yellow so NASCAR could make the finish more exciting. Richmond isn't a big track and the network has a lot of cameras. I think that FOX is in cahoots with NASCAR to avoid showing the causes of the debris cautions. How many times do they show it? Maybe one out of ten? Maybe only when it's justified?

    I'm not unhappy about who won, and I would have been happy with Stewart or Edwards too. I'm not happy about NASCAR and FOX>

  6. Yea, I didn't get to watch the race but based on the comments and some of NASCAR's past events It doesn't surprise me if Nascar made the wrong call or throwed a debris caution. And, you know Nascar is going out of it's way to "rehabilitate" Kyle and Kurt. Of course, if Nascar ever admitted throwing a bogus caution for the sake of affecting a race ending it would be the death blow for the sport so they will never admit to that. And, the call on Carl was questionable too since I have seen some others do similar things and not get called for it. Nascar, you had better get your act together because if it ever comes out about some of these events then your days will be number.

  7. Lap by Lap page has the following

    "Lap 317-OK, it's a bit confusing but here is the running order: Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch ..."

    Looks to me like a least a portion of NASCAR wasn't on same page as Pemberton