Brian France: Chairman, CEO of NASCAR.
I've gone to two races this year. The first one was the Daytona 500.
Needless to say, the Daytona 500 was not what I expected, but I'll give NASCAR this:As different as the racing was, NASCAR did not try to fix it by throwing "suspicious" deBriS (notice BS is capitalized) cautions.
I will also say this. When David Ragan jumped out of line before the start/finish line, NASCAR did the CORRECT thing in penalizing David Ragan and putting him in the back of the pack.
It stunk for Ragan, but the way I see it, a rule is a rule, is a rule.
That's why I'm writing this article.
The first thing that bothered me was the caution on lap 187 for "deBriS" on the back straightaway. As unnoticed as it went first, it was very noticeable why NASCAR threw that caution when the lucky dog came back on the lead lap and the fans went crazy.
I sat there, amongst fans for that driver, (we all know who I'm talking about) most of them have no idea about the lucky dog rules anyway, but the ones who did know and saw me start booing at the No. 88 AMP Energy Chevrolet drove by the field to get back on the lead lap, knew exactly why.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Cubs. Both historic franchises in their respected sports. But I think anyone who watches baseball knows, they haven't exactly been World Series contenders in the last 10-15 years.
I've never seen Major League Baseball change the Cubs or Dodgers record to make it closer for them to compete for a win. I've never seen them stop a game in the middle innings to make it more possible for one of those teams to win.
People would turn it off. Well, look closely NASCAR, it's happening.
And the other thing.
On the restart of that caution, Juan Pablo Montoya started at the tail end of the field on the outside of Ken Schrader's No. 32 Ford. Yet, in the middle of Turns 3 and 4, Montoya cuts in front of Schrader and takes off on the inside.
Wait? Didn't I see David Ragan get called on that in the Daytona 500? I think so.
And some may say, "Montoya didn't improve his position." Agreed.
But neither did Ragan, and no where in that rule does it say if you do not improve your position.
But that's not the only time I saw it.
After Ryan Newman's crash for the next caution, Kurt Busch and David Gilliland went three wide to pass Brian Vickers' car before the start/finish line. Now, it says no passing to the left before the start finish line, which Gilliland did to pass Kurt. And Kurt and Gilliland CLEARLY moved up the track, shifting their position to get around Vickers.
Isn't that the rule that David Ragan got called on too?
That's twice in one race. I sat high above on the front straightaway and both of those moves were clearly obvious to me. But why no call?
Did you get lazy? Did you not see it? Where was the debris on the Jr. caution? I want to see it.
There were no accidents or engine failures in the race for debris to come off someone's car.
There's no excuse. You're NASCAR. If you can't handle the work load of being race control, then give it to someone who can.
If you make a rule, stick by that rule and call it no matter what, no warnings.
Because David Ragan sure didn't get warned.
I'm not writing this article to stick up for Ragan. I'm writing it to try and get a clear explanation. If the drivers don't know when you are and aren't going to call these rules, then the fans won't either.
And for the debris caution, Kurt Busch was going to wreck in about two more laps anyway. If you wanted to put Jr. back on the lead lap, you should've just waited for that.
I know fans, I'm wrong in your eyes, but this stuff clearly happens and I'm sick of it.
If I were watching the race on TV, I would have turned it off. Heck, I almost got up and left and if I weren't with a Dale, Jr. fan, then I would have.
I'm sure I'm not the only one. When TV ratings and attendance drops, and you point the finger at the economy, remember, there's four more pointing right back at you.
Major League Baseball doesn't have the same drop in attendance for a reason because they're fair.
Call it fair.