July 5, 2012
By Jim Fitzgerald
Up In The Marbles…After The Quaker State 400
It Is Time To Take Away The “W”
Last Friday night at the Kentucky Speedway, Austin Dillon scored his first win in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. After the checkered flag fell, however, Dillon’s No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet was found to have been too low in the rear during post race inspection.
There will be point deductions and possible suspensions, an no doubt someone will be put on probation. The win, however, will stay and Austin Dillon will have an asterisk next to his name in the biggest win so far of his young career.
NASCAR officials have stated in the past that the reason they do not revoke the win any longer when a car fails post race inspection is that they want the fans at the track to know who won when they leave. This was certainly a valid reason for the decision for quite a while, even up to five years ago. However, it this age of technology, through texting and chatting, through Facebook and Twitter, and through radio, satellite and terrestrial alike, it is very hard to be kept out of the lop when it comes to breaking news.
You know when you cannot watch the race live, and you set your DVR to watch later, you really need to shut yourself out of media, social and otherwise, to avoid knowing who wins or what is happening before you are ready.
On the other side of that, the level of availability for access to news and updates about the sport we call our favorite is extremely high. You cannot go five minutes on Twitter, if you are following the right people, without getting some type of racing related information. Yes, years ago, when fans left the race track, they were lucky if the race was covered in the newspaper the next day.
I can remember in 1991, when I really first got into racing, I did not have cable television, and I listened to races that were not on broadcast television -- on the radio when I could. When I was unable to get a clear radio signal, I did without. I found out who won the race on Thursday, when my Winston Cup Scene was delivered to my house.
It is not like that anymore, though. People have satellite radio, people get text messages, and people follow other people on Twitter. It is nearly impossible to be disconnected from the news of the sport any longer. Because of this, this is where the argument about not replacing the failing car with the second place car because of wanting people to know who won the race when they leave fails to hold water for me any longer.
If NASCAR took away a win because a car failed post race inspection, as soon as it NASCAR announced it, within minutes, anyone who cares about it would know about it.
Now that I have solved yet another of NASCAR’s problems regarding a fluky hole in our sport, what do you do with the ex-winner? I have seeral lines of thought on this as well.
Let us assume that NASCAR has announced that the winning car has been found to have not passed post race inspection.
Disqualify the offending car, driver, and team completely, and move the entire field up one finishing position. The offending car would not score driver points, owner points, manufacturer points, nor would it collect any monies awarded. Basically, it would be as if the car, team, and driver did not run the race at all. The second place car would be awarded the win.
Move the offending car to the fifth position. The second place car would be awarded the win, and all other cars in the top five would move up one spot in the final standings. This movement from the win to the fifth place position would reflect car owner, driver, and manufacturer points, as well as any purse money awarded, and would be the close to the point penalties that NASCAR has been using recently.(No. 18, 2011, Pocono, Low Front End)
Move the offending car to the last position on the lead lap, or first car one lap down. The second place driver would become the winner of the race, and all drivers on the lead lap would then move up one position in the final finishing order. All driver, owner, and manufacturer points would be reflected by these adjustments.
I would love to hear your take on these suggestions, or if you have any solutions of your own.
There is too much on the line right now, and winning is too important to let tainted wins stand. I know the argument that is coming. “How can you award the second place car the victory when he or she didn’t cross the finish line first?”
My answer to that is this: We will never know if he or she had the best car or not, because the car that finished in front of him or her was not within the boundaries of the rules. It is not the fault of the second place driver that the car that crossed the finish line first was illegal. I would rather the record books reflect a car that was known to be legal as the winner than one that was known to be outside of approved rules.
Let us use the Sprint Cup Series as an example. Jeff Gordon is currently 18th in points. If he is to make The Chase for The Championship, he is going to have to make one heck of a leap in points. Or, he could probably win twice and get in on the wild card by having more wins than anyone else in the top twenty in points.
The No. 24 team has a bit of a cushion over 20th place. They could put a completely legal car together for this week’s race and change it during the course of it so it has an advantage. They could win the race, take the probable six point penalty and maybe a six week suspension -- or probation for the crew chief. Then when six weeks pass, do it again.
The win stands, you’re probably in the top-twenty in points, and will probably make The Chase. Is it clean? Not really. Would it work? Maybe. Do you have anything to lose by trying it? Not at all.
Would it all go down like that? Probably not, but you can see where the system could be manipulated. In a time when there is such a premium put on winning, the wins need to be legitimate wins, and when our sport needs credibility, those wins need to be without asterisks.
Remember to follow me on Twitter: @forewasabi. I always have nothing important to say.
"The horizon is out there somewhere, and you just keep chasing it, looking for it, and working for it."
You can contact Jim at.. Insider Racing News
The thoughts and ideas expressed by this writer or any other writer on Insider Racing News, are not necessarily the views of the staff and/or management of IRN.
You Can Read Other Articles By Jim Fitzgerald