Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What is NASCAR supposed to do?

It's the question that has raged since Sunday's race in Atlanta. Carl Edwards clips Brad Keselowski in an attempt to spin him out. Make no mistake, it was intentional--Edwards basically admitted that. What Edwards didn't plan on was Keselowski spinning around, and then sailing into the air. I believe Edwards when he says that, too.

So where does NASCAR draw the line?

In January, the governing body declared they were going to step back, and allow the drivers to police themselves. Robin Pemberton saying, "have at it, boys," at the conclusion of the announcement. NASCAR basically gave the drivers a green light to rub fenders, trade paint, and even run into each other with the intent of putting the other guy into the fence.

Edwards did that. Seemed to him he had license to do it. NASCAR put Edwards on a 3 race probation. I'm here to tell you that's all NASCAR COULD do to him.

Yes, the wreck was horrifying. Keselowski, at the very least, could have been seriously hurt. The car could have gotten to the catch fence, and injured/killed spectators. I understand that. The question here is, what would NASCAR have done, had Keselowski simply spun into the fence, crushing the rear deck lid of the car, making it undriveable? No spectacular flip, just a routine wreck? The answer to that is (in my opinion), park Edwards the way they did, and that would have been it. Maybe a chat with him in the NASCAR hauler, but nothing more.

They didn't give him much more than that, anyway. From the outside perspective, the 3 race probation is less than a slap on the wrist, it's almost a kiss. I thought the probation (which I predicted during Monday night's Sports night show), would be through the end of the year.

I do, however understand the outcry for a more sever punishment. The situation, luckily, was only as bad as it got. By no means am I defending NASCAR, but I can't completely throw them under the bus for setting an outline, and then sticking to it. Sure, it's an ugly deal, but to hear the complaints of some saying NASCAR is becoming a "blood sport," is simply ridiculous.

Thankfully, the teams and drivers have the week off, but when they come back, they head to the bullring in Bristol. Things should get interesting there, where the drivers tempers generally match the length of the racetrack-short.

Mike Solarte

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