NASCAR: A Peek Inside The "Rule" Book
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Coke Zero 400 had its moments. There was some great racing, a couple of multi-car wrecks (though none qualified to be called a “Big One”) and a green-white-checker finish.
Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards would wind up side-by-side on the white-flag lap. When carnage occurred in the pack the race was called. Video replay indicated Busch was leading and was thus declared the winner.
However, I want to bring something to your attention that you may or may not have realized.
On lap 45, Ryan Newman went spinning out of line on the backstretch. Caution lights lit and flags flew before his car had completed two revolutions. Newman was able to get back to pit road, change tires, and go on to have a night he'd just as soon forget.
On the final restart of the race (the aforementioned green—white-checkered) Jeff Gordon, running second at the time, attempted to block Carl Edwards' advance, and spun off into the infield going toward turn one.
So why didn't NASCAR throw a caution for Gordon's spin, but did so quickly for Newman?
I think not... This is part of NASCAR's "Grey Rule" on caution flags.
1. NASCAR reserves the right to put a race under caution at times of their choosing. This may be when a safety issue or hazard to the drivers is present, when the race gets boring and the field needs to be bunched up in an attempt to make it more interesting, or when they want to try to allow a race to finish under green-even if an incident occurs that resulted in a caution earlier in the race.
2. As this is NASCAR's rulebook, and this is the "Grey Rule", consistency is not required. If any question about the "Grey Rule" arises, refer to number 1.
What it comes down to is that there should NOT have been a caution for the Newman spin, or the Gordon spin. There was no debris or fluid on the track, the car spun out of danger, and was able to continue under its own power.
Gordon admitted to making mistakes in first giving up the bottom line to Busch, allowing the 18 car to pass him. He also waited too long to block Edwards on the restart, effectively spinning himself out.
Being a Jeff Gordon fan... I don't like it... But it is what it is. And when it comes to rules in NASCAR, they reserve the right to make and break them at their pleasure.
I think not...
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