Monday, October 5, 2009

On being almost illegal and over-managed competition

What is all this talk about cars nearly failing inspection? If you pass, you pass. Now, NASCAR is warning teams the tolerances are too close? Is this really where we are going? Soon you will have cars confiscated for being "too close". Inspection has changed greatly since the 1990s; it used to be in a team presented a car from inspection prior to practice and there was a slight infraction with a measurement the team could work on it and fix it. Now the team faces losing the car and a huge monetary fine. NASCAR has now determined if you present a car for pre-practice inspection illegal, no matter what the infraction may be, that's how you intended to race it and therefore they can penalize you. If you're illegal before the race, go ahead and fix it and make the inspectors happy. If you're illegal after the race, then you should be disqualified. None of this keeping your position and then being fined points and money. You should be removed from the results altogether! The never-ending quest for a level playing field has brought us down a road with cars that are all exactly alike and tolerances that are smaller than the thickness of a dime. Maybe a return to common sense is due here: get back to cars (and trucks) that resemble their actual street counterpart. Running real stock cars (in a racing sense, not in an actual street car sense) again instead of cars that resemble a boxier version of a dirt late model will eliminate much of the fudging teams try on the bodies. And we wouldn't have to hear about cars being *almost* illegal.

What's with NASCAR feeling the need to micromanage every aspect of the competition? In addition to the ridiculous warning to Hendrick Motorsports that their cars are *almost* illegal, the powers that be in the tower feel the need to warn drivers about how they are driving on the track too. Warning Brad Keselowski about his driving after a brush with Juan Montoya is seriously laughable. What's even better is it is being done from afar by people who have never been in a racecar. How about letting the drivers actually get out there and race? If there is an incident, let the drivers figure it out. If it means on-track retaliation, so be it. Drivers have a wonderful way of remembering incidents and policing themselves. And guess what? That usually gives ticket buyers a little extra action too. Now that NASCAR has invented a racecar that doesn't spin out (at least according to Darrell Waltrip) maybe they are trying to ensure that drivers never, ever make contact therefore eliminating all accidents? There are 12 drivers going after a championship. There are 31 that aren't. Maybe the 12 that are need to watch themselves around the 31 that aren't. Afterall, they are the ones with the most to lose, right? Keselowski is doing what is best for him, that's going after wins. No one should be getting in his ear and distracting him from doing that, especially from the tower. NASCAR officials should be there to enforce the rules, not manage the competition.

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