NASCAR: Conspiracy or Theory? We'll Know at Season's End

Brandon CaldwellCorrespondent IJune 22, 2009

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 07:  Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, races with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, and Matt Kenseth, driver of the #17 DEWALT Ford during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway on February 7, 2009 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Conspiracy: It's a word that has been used since the early days of Dale Earnhardt.

This word can be used in two different ways.

There is no doubt, that NASCAR officials intentionally throw yellow flags. Whether it's to help other drivers, or to make the racing closer, there is no doubt about it: NASCAR throws what drivers call "Pierre Debris" cautions.

"Pierre Debris" is code for when NASCAR throws the yellow and there is no debris on the track. At these times, drivers say that french driver Pierre Debris must've entered the track.

It's commical, but sad at the same time.

Those yellow flags don't bother me THAT much.

It's when they favor drivers, that drive me up a wall.

No doubt about it, it used to happen.

Dale Earnhardt would lose tires and speed on pit road, numerous times, and not get penalized, because it's what the fans wanted to see.

Tony Stewart had been quoted in saying that NASCAR "throws yellow flags when certain guys are in the lucky dog spot." Tony was referencing Juan Pablo Montoya.

Then NASCAR slapped Stewart with a silly fine for "missing a meeting," which no drivers ever attend. NASCAR proved themselves guilty, in my book.

But since then, although the yellow flags are still there, they tend not to favor of drivers as much.

But this could change at season's end.

At the end of the 2008 season, NASCAR announced that the Budweiser Shootout format would be changed from the normal pole winners of the previous seasons, and past champions of the event, to the top six drivers of each manufacturer, and then a seventh known as the "wild card."

So far, the six Chevrolet drivers are Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, Mark Martin, and Juan Pablo Montoya. The wild card would be Jeff Burton, who sits 14th in points.

This leaves Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and defending winner, Kevin Harvick, on the outside looking in.

And if things don't change for Jr., the former Budweiser driver himself and 2008 winner, he will be out of the Budweiser Shootout.

But can NASCAR afford to leave their "most popular driver" (and that's all he is) out of one of the two all-star races of the season?

Can they leave Jr. in idle? Yes. But will they? No.

There will be a rule change at season's end about the Budweiser Shootout whih will allow Jr. to compete in the Budweiser Shootout.

And then I will gripe about it, and Junior Nation will argue that there is no conspiracy.

But how can they argue against this.

In no other sport do they change rules to allow non all-star caliber players to come in because of their popularity.

The real all-star race is at Charlotte anyway, in which Jr. will participate until at least next year, relying on the fan vote, which is ridiculous in itself.

But call me a "Theorist." Watch and learn as, once again, NASCAR will change the rules to help one of their most popular drivers.

I feel more like a realist. People, open your eyes at season's end, watch NASCAR change the rules, and realize there is in fact a conspiracy, and it needs to be fixed.

Once everyone sees this, they will stop watching, realizing that this sport isn't as "pure" as they think.

Maybe this is why TV ratings are falling so fast!!