I bet “Pull-A-Part” used auto parts didn’t have what happened to the 39 (Nationwide) in mind when it sponsored him. On second thought, maybe they did. Losing an entire wheel gave them a lot of screen time they otherwise wouldn’t have received. (No. I don’t really believe it was premeditated.)
So there’s an entire grille lying on the racing surface at a 200mph track for about a lap and only Nascar doesn’t see it. But a car gets a little squirrelly with a tire going down, doesn’t hit anything and the yellow comes out immediately. At this time, one would think Nascar was aware that tires were getting in short supply.
I never believed that Nascar’s “Have at it” dictum per se was the cause of much of the mayhem we’ve seen over the last several years. It’s more a function of 2 things they didn’t consider before saying it: there’s a handful of racers that are incorrigible, and, more importantly, Nascar’s near absolute reluctance to assess the only penalty that gets drivers’ attention. Heck, even the NHL, who probably only have TV deals because of the violence and fighting, has a “3rd man in” game misconduct rule. (Don’t get me wrong. Hockey, when played properly [Olympics?] is maybe the best sport – after Irish Hurling. I’m not kidding ). But Harvick already new that “(Nascar) is lovin’ it”.
So the penalties assessed from Texas were Nascar’s version of “Hey. Look over there.”. The 2 and the 24 never landed any punches. Can’t do anything to them. (Headlocks don’t count as we learned at Charlotte.) There’s no penalty for being a bonehead, otherwise the fields would be pretty small. But what’s up with the 4? He had a good chance of doing his interview and going to his motor home. (Not in his genes.) The whole thing was breaking up and the participants were starting to leave until Harvick decided to stir things up. Seemed like a good idea at the time, I bet. After all, there’s no 3rd man rule, and Nascar isn’t going to sit a Chase driver. You probably have to be charged – or maybe convicted – of domestic violence to get some time off. So who’s left to be penalized? Ah! Crew members. Nobody will ever notice them missing. All is good. Even the Captain, maybe the most respected man in racing, thinks everything is fine.
I need a fact checker. Our illustrious leader, Mr. France, said “You can have teams in other sports with losing records in the regular season win the Super Bowl or World Series. It happens”. I find that specious. Maybe in the NHL when there were just 6 teams, but Super Bowl or World Series? Help!
Mr. France also said “There is a line”. I believe that line can be similarly defined as Justice Potter Stewart put it in a Supreme Court decision: “(I can’t define it, but) … I know it when I see it”.
By Gary Erdakos