Nascar Racing

Controversy Reigns After Richmond


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>>> Sorry friends, but I just could not remain silent about the happenings at Richmond and in the week since. I have had my own opinion since watching the events transpire, but I have chosen to wait to vent until now. To say I am disappointed would be at least the slightest bit of an understatement. It is my personal opinion, all NASCAR fans need to take a long hard look at what the sport we love is evolving into and why what happened Saturday night with a close points race on the line could spell a lot of mistrust and trouble for NASCAR in the future.

From this point on in this article, I will try not to speak for anyone but myself and please understand these are expressly my opinions and I do believe I ask legitimate questions. Even though I am not naive, I did think NASCAR as a whole held itself to a higher standard than other motorsports and just sports in general. However, the entire weekend at Richmond has somewhat changed my opinion and, if the truth be known I think NASCAR blew more than one “judgement” call over the weekend. Two of them had to do with restarts and the stupid rule of not passing the leader until the start finish line. Even though these two instances stand out in my mind and I still question why “judgement” calls are becoming less and less consistent and appear to be more and more one-sided or even whimsical. I have to admit, (and this is strictly my opinion), the powers in NASCAR seem to be making more decisions that cause controversy because of inconsistency than calling them as they see them and being consistent. <<< (Oh well, back to last Saturday night at Richmond...) Well... Did he or didn't he?? That's just one of the questions on everyone's mind after an extremely dramatic Saturday night under the lights at Richmond. Whether intentional or not, Clint Bowyer's spin with very few laps to go made a huge difference in who made it in to the Chase and who didn't. From this fans view, there are still several ways of looking at it and, unfortunately, not too many fans or crews are willing to say it wasn't intentional. Of course some say there's no way Bowyer could have known what would happen and that is a good point. From this Fan's View, it doesn't really matter whether he knew what the outcome would be or not. What does matter is that his team-mate, Martin Truex Jr. was not going to make the Chase if the caution didn't come out and when it did come out, it gave him another chance. There is the strange conversation (from this fan's view, it was obviously in code) between Bowyer and his crew chief that just adds to the suspicion something was up and it was definitely to Truex's advantage if anything happened to the leader, Ryan Newman, at the time in the pits. The way things stood at that time, winning was the only way Ryan was going to make it in. According to NASCAR, they had no definitive proof or conclusive evidence Bowyer did do it on purpose but they found enough proof in the conversation between Ty Norris and Bryan Vickers to have to step in and take action. What followed was a decision to punish one team in a dramatic and unprecedented monetary fashion. That action only went as far as to remove Martin Truex Jr. from the Chase and put Ryan Newman in. Now, even more “evidence” has surfaced that shows others were involved in making deals to assure they would make it into the Chase, but at the time of this writing, NASCAR hasn’t decided whether or not they will take further action. I do understand the hesitancy but this whole thing could have been solved by what was called “the ripple effect.” If they hadn’t decided to draw the line at MWR and Martin Truex Jr, they wouldn’t have to be still dealing with this bad situation. It is my personal opinion they should have taken steps that could have dealt with the spin and the team orders to the #55 to come into the pits for a tire “going down” (which was another coded message in my opinion.) It is unfortunate that NASCAR has come down to this. Their integrity is damaged and the integrity of the sport is damaged also. Not because teams do everything they can to make it into the Chase (including making deals with team-mates and other teams to guarantee their spot in making it in) but because it used to be about racing to make the Chase. Now, more than ever, it appears to be more about who you can pay off (with money or future favors) to make it in and that is what is so sad about this situation to this fan. Like I said… I’m not naïve and I know this is not the first time this has been done (or the last time for that matter.) This is one of the first times in my memory it has been this flagrant in the NASCAR Cup and it is a shame. There was a time NASCAR stood head and shoulders above the rest when it came to integrity and fairness (even though some may not have always seen it that way.) Now… well… it appears any of those future conversations and questions about “fixed” outcomes and questionable finishes to races may just have credence. In my opinion, let’s get back to what it was all about to begin with. It used to be about the racing and the best car winning and that is what it should still be about. At least from this fan’s view all of this could fall under the cover-all rule NASCAR uses when all else fails and that would be, “… actions deemed detrimental to Stock Car Racing.” What do you think…??? See ya next time... All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer © September 12, 2013 – all rights reserved Rusty Norman, and All audio productions by and PodCastNorm Productions

By Rusty Norman

Amateur writer, NASCAR Fan, musician and former local Stock Car racer.