IN THE DRAFT: NASCAR hands down Chase changer
Wow! This past Saturday night in Richmond was everything any race fan could want! Action. Thrills. Lead changes. Pit lane violations. Jimmie Johnson has trouble. Few cautions. Deception. That's the big one!
But someone needed to practice their art of deception before they put it to use.
First of all, I was not able to watch all of the race because of wedding number two out of four this month. It was a beautiful service at Pffeifer University and the reception was really nice. In fact, I could have left and been home in plenty of time to watch, but I was having such a good time with family and friends that it was hard to leave. We got home in time for the last few laps and that was all I needed to see.
As we were driving back I listened to the MRN broadcast and they were constantly giving updates on where the drivers stood in relation to the Chase and that relation to their position on the track. It was changing by the lap. There were around 15 laps left as we came into Goldston and I hurried into the house because I had already told Sue there would be another caution.
Sure enough, about the time I entered the house there it was, the yellow flag was flying. Ryan Newman was leading and that was, at that point, his best chance to get into the Chase. In fact it would guarantee him being in, but Clint Bowyer had other ideas or he was given instructions.
I didn't give what Bowyer did much thought until I saw the replays. See, I was more concerned with NASCAR allowing Carl Edwards to be the first car to the start since he wasn't the leader. I thought the leader had to be the first one back? Apparently it depends on who you are yet again because Edwards was long gone when the green flag flew, but back to Bowyer.
First of all, these guys can drive. They are so good that they can spin almost at will and especially when someone is telling them what the point situation is and how his teammate needed help. I am sure insubordination was a consideration for Bowyer. If your boss is practically telling you what to do then you do it or risk getting fired. So Bowyer spins out and Brian Vickers rides around 20 to 30 miles per hour slower than anyone and takes an unnecessary pit stop to make sure he finishes in a spot that helps his teammate.
Well, NASCAR heard the cries and I think they did the right thing. After reviewing the race NASCAR determined Michael Waltrip Racing violated Section 12-4 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and it penalized his three teams with the loss of 50 championship points each. The penalties were assessed following the race Saturday and not after the seeding for the Chase had been determined.
So that means that Martin Truex Jr. is not in the Chase and Newman is. I wondered all day Monday if any penalties would be levied or if NASCAR would just wash its hands of it and say it was just racing.
I think NASCAR did the right thing and restored a little of my confidence in the rules of NASCAR. The same can't be said for Michael Waltrip Racing. It's reputation has been tarnished and the respect I had for them is gone.
So we head to Chicago to begin what will more than likely be a controversial Chase. Wouldn't it be ironic if Newman won the Chase? He has been running well as of late, so don't be surprised! See you after wedding No. 3 and Chicago!