Sunday, February 18, 2007

NASCAR nonsense

I stopped being a fan of stock car racing when they stopped racing stock cars. It's been a long time, but more on that another day.

When I got home from work today, I watched the last few laps of the Daytona 500. After a late wreck involving several cars, NASCAR stopped the race to clean up the mess and run two extra laps to determine a winner. Mark Martin was the leader when the race was stopped. Martin restarted well and was in the lead halfway through the last lap when a large wreck began behind Martin and Kevin Harvick, who was in second. With cars flying into each other and all over the track, NASCAR did NOT put out the caution flag, which would have frozen everyone's position and ended the race with Martin as the winner. Instead, they waited until Harvick edged Martin to the finish line, then waved the caution flag. Someone's car actually crossed the finish line on the roof and on fire.

Interviewed after the race, Martin said "I kept waiting for them to throw the caution flag!" Do you think that all the wrecking behind them affected either Martin or Harvick? NASCAR waves caution flags for debris on the track, someone spinning out, and just about any collision. But not tonight, tonight it was more important to finish the 500 under green to maintain their image.

For the past two weeks NASCAR has accused crew chiefs, owners, and drivers of cheating. They have fined, suspended, taken points, and humiliated people in the name of following the rules. Tonight NASCAR ignored their own rules and policies to let the race finish under green. They risked the lives of drivers and millions of dollars worth of cars for TV ratings and fan support. What is the hypocrisy level in this action?


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