NASCAR And its Newly Opened Pandora’s Box

Interestingly enough, after last week’s restart complaints I thought this week would be a relatively quiet one for NASCAR considering the Chase starts this week. Obviously, that didn’t happen. In my opinion, NASCAR made two decisions this week and they were both wrong. I won’t go into the detail of those decisions, but I’ll tell you what I think they should have done instead of opening Pandora’s box today with the addition of Jeff Gordon into the Chase. Isley: What NASCAR Should Have Done About What Happened at Richmond

NASCAR could should have done one of two things. The first, is do nothing, which is basically ignore all the crap that happened last Saturday at Richmond, even though I don’t think it was that terrible, and should have let the Chase standings as they were. Here’s my problem with appointing Ryan Newman a spot in the Chase, it’s just that, an appointment. I’m not taking anything away from Newman, because he’s certainly a good driver, but let’s be real, when that final caution came out there were seven laps left. Anything could have happened. Had there been two or three laps, maybe I’d be more onboard with giving him a spot. In reality though, as much as NASCAR doesn’t want teams manipulating the outcome of races and its championship, it did so by inserting Newman, who if you remember, pretty much needed to win in order to be eligible for the Chase.

Last I checked, Newman didn’t win Saturday.

The second choice is the most obvious choice, and one that any other sport worth their salt would have done: remove the “cheaters” and go with fewer competitors. I get it, NASCAR wants to have 12 drivers, but remember when they had 10 and few complained? Sure, a lot of the traditional fans hate the chase anyway, but what’s the point of the first 26 races if NASCAR can just willy-nilly add and remove drivers after all the qualifying rounds are over? It makes no sense.

Geico 400 - Practice

None of you care, but I referee track & field, and before you ask why they let a guy like me have guns around children, consider this: if two athletes false start both are disqualified. On some levels you get a false start, but for the most part it’s over for most athletes. I, as a starter, cannot say after the race is over, that one of those two athletes should advance to the next round because they were unfairly disqualified. Once you’re out, you are out.

And that’s where I was with Ryan Newman, and am now Jeff Gordon. Neither athlete earned their right to participate in the finals, even if the other competitors cheated. NASCAR makes itself look especially stupid, because in all essence the Chase has started. The competitors have done the media tour, practices, and now qualifying. Ask Tony Stewart and he’ll say you do things a lot differently if you think you’re competing for a championship or if you’re just competing for wins and losses.

Many of you will disagree, but NASCAR’s two best options were to do either do nothing at all or remove the “cheaters” and go with two fewer athletes. Changing the athletes after the qualifying rounds were over has done nothing but alienate fans and sponsors this week with the back and forth about who is in and out of the Chase.

Green: Moving on From NASCAR Penalties

What do you think? Are you OK with the penalties NASCAR handed out this week? Did your driver make the Chase or is he or she out?

Leave me a comment or send me an email to damien@morethanafan.net.