Late-race cautions, mysterious debris and more in the mailbag
Close your eyes and play along with me.
Let's move on to the NFL. The
Now open your eyes and imagine the uproar; sports fans balking at those manufactured endings. It's a nation that believes in fairness, dumping baseball records at the hint of a steroid injection while endorsing football overtime that gives both teams a shot at the win. A lopsided score may not fly in the overnights, but comes accepted by those who realize a nailbiter is just another game away.
That purity preserves maximum effort, part of the beauty of watching an athletic competition you enjoy. Fans who buy tickets to these events understand the risk of a stinker at the finish, their criticisms coming only when the full course of the event doesn't deliver a single dramatic moment. That's where the criticism of NASCAR comes the most nowadays, drivers stroking it for 300 miles and making it a waste to come to a race only to see them play for the final 100.
Late cautions, contrived or not, have allowed that final quarter to constantly teeter on the verge of chaotic. But that short-term solution has no long-term staying power with a fan base and drivers opening their eyes to what's teetering too far on the side of WWE-style entertainment. You can understand why
Let's close our eyes one more time. Debris cautions bunch up the field late in race at both Pocono and Michigan except Hamlin, on the ensuing restart, gets spun out and winds up 35th two races in a row. Suddenly, the man labeled this year's title favorite gets dropped to eighth in the standings, loses confidence, and struggles to simply stay inside the top 12. Would that be fair?
Time to open your eyes and get to a landslide of comments and questions. As always, firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @
I couldn't agree more, MPRacing. For the record, the "mystery debris" that's stirred up a boatload of controversy at Michigan was actually found by a camera. It showed up on
The bottom line is yes, there was a piece of apparent rubber on the backstretch that caused the yellow flag to come out. But anyone who's been to a race can tell you that within the first 50 miles, you can always find pieces of debris littered all over a track. It's one thing if a giant metal spoiler falls off in the middle of the racing groove, but other than that debris cautions to me are simply excuses to bunch up the field.
I understand not all of you agree, with the central point...
In my opinion, the philosophy should be don't throw the yellow unless you absolutely need to. And if drivers understand they won't be saved by a caution flag, you'd hope a better on-track product under green will take care of itself.
Lots of people share Kyle's opinion, boosted by a Michigan race that was just two-and-a-half hours, ending well before 4 PM. But plenty of races have already been shortened in the last 15 years. Right now, 16 of 36 races run at least 500 laps or 500 miles on the schedule, compared to 19 of 29 in 1990. In the last 20 years, new additions have always adhered to a shorter timetable, most averaging somewhere around three hours.
Other than maybe Pocono, I'm skeptical of making further cuts. During the height of NASCAR's growth period, no one seemed to mind races that lasted as long as four hours. They left every single event wanting more, ready to sit there for 100 more laps to keep witnessing the type of racing they just saw.
I'm sorry, but turning four-hour borefests into two-and-a-half hours won't keep people from turning off the television. Neither one is a good use of their time, so they'll simply do something else. Again, improving the on-track product is key. If drivers race side-by-side from beginning to end ... length won't matter.
A quick comment on
I don't think that was ever a serious consideration, TurbosLady. Hendrick didn't sign Kahne to have him twiddling his thumbs for a year while
Of course, NASCAR's four-team rule prevents such a pairing, and that's where Phoenix comes in. Just like Stewart-Haas Racing, another strong satellite team would provide the ability for an expanded driver lineup. Some have said why Hendrick just won't throw Kahne under an expanded SHR umbrella. But let's not forget, while SHR receives Hendrick chassis and equipment, the ownership group is completely different. They can make their own financial decisions, and there's just too much money needed to ensure
I assume you're referring to
"If I was Kevin Harvick and I didn't know Joey Logano, I would say yes," said Martin when asked whether Logano should one day take revenge by spinning him out on the racetrack. "I think Joey Logano still has enough integrity to continue to try to make that right, and make that work without doing it. But I might be wrong. I'm not Joey. But if I'm Harvick, yeah, I'm going to figure out I've got one coming."
I think Martin's right on the money, as Logano's taken it all in stride and probably won't enact the revenge some fans would love. But with all the battles Harvick's waged through the years, his list of enemies is more than Logano's age. Don't be surprised if he winds up on the short end of the stick with someone else.
Finally, our "out of left field" email for the week:
That's a lesson for Joey's dad, Tom, asked to stay away from the track the next few weeks after his parental meddling-gone-overboard at Pocono. If people are comparing your son to a failed B-List professional athlete ... is that really the image you want to help promote for your son? Hopefully, this Father's Day the best gift Joey can give his dad is a healthy, respectful talk about how he'd like to be treated as an adult.
"My dad just found the '55 Chevy in his driveway that I got him for Father's Day. He said it was his dream car... Love ya, pops."