Friday, March 8, 2013

Hey NASCAR, if you can't say something nice ...

   Consistency has never been one of NASCAR’s strong suits.

   Trying to figure why one driver’s actions result in a certain penalty while another’s do not under similar circumstances can be frustrating.

   That frustration arises again in the case of a $25,000 fine levied on Denny Hamlin this week for what NASCAR called “disparaging remarks” about the on-track competition in last Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix.

   The fine, though, isn't the most troubling issue.

   Hamlin's comments – he said it was hard to pass in the new model Cup series car – were innocuous at best. NASCAR’s own telemetry showed there were 40 percent fewer green-flag passes for the lead in the Phoenix race than a year ago.

   The message from NASCAR was clearer: The governing body will not tolerate any negative comments about its new Cup car, which it refers to as “Generation 6.”

   Repeatedly since late last fall, NASCAR has trotted out members of its competition department at various tests of the new car to talk about the car’s progress. Repeatedly, drivers at those tests were brought into media centers to talk about the new car.

   The reviews were uniformly glowing. And NASCAR penalizing Hamlin suggests none of them can be trusted.

   If no one is allowed to speak negatively about the car, who can reasonably believe any answer is genuine?

   The answer is you can’t.

   But I have the solution.

  • NASCAR should stop trotting in officials at tests or during race weekends to tell us how the car is progressing. We know what they'll say.

  • Drivers should stop answering questions about the new car. We know what they'll say.

  • And the media (myself included) should stop asking questions about the competitiveness of the new car. We already know the answer.
   We should all watch the races and let the product speak for itself.

   In other words, if you can only say something nice, whether it's
true or not, just say nothing at all.


  1. Isn't it a reporters job to get the story? Are you suggesting that a reporter should actually utilize common sense instead of asking leading and sometimes inflammatory questions? Really? There may be hope for us after all.

  2. Actually Jim there's another solution that will be increasingly become apparent. Some of us will just quit watching, attending, or participating...

    Then you'll have another story - the "end" of NASCAR...

  3. Back in 2006 there were stupid stuff like this going on and I lost interest and stopped watching for 3 years. I remember one race at Daytona Carl Edwards had to avoid a wreck and went below the yellow line and NASCAR penalised him for it!!!! I have lost my respect for the officials since then. And now-specially after last hr and its lack of passing, I'm slowly losing interest again. If rather spend my Sundays doing other stuff than give my money to Bruton smith (after kentucky 2011 I will never go to a smith owned race track again) and NASCAR.

  4. NASCAR had best be careful because it is entering very dangerous waters these days. Once upon a time NASCAR could get away with bullying its drivers, crew chiefs and race teams because race tracks were filled with fans, sponsors lined up to be a part of it all and TV ratings were soaring. Now, race tracks are anything but filled, sponsors are either pulling out or pulling back and TV ratings are sinking like a rock in a pond. Now, more than ever, NADCAR needs to become consistent in its rules and far more open to criticism, especially from drivers...or the downward spiral will continue.

  5. The issue is that NASCAR simply doesn't know what it is doing. Its philosophy on the sport's competition issues is fundamentally flawed - the efforts from 2004 onward under John Darby have been consistent failures - constant cuts in downforce, tire changes, sway bar changes, the COT, now the Gen-6. NASCAR got it right with the roof blade, then panicked and yanked it off. NASCAR got it right when the tandem drafts unleashed the most lead changes in racing history, but Brian France couldn't leave it alone.

    NASCAR won't get it right until it gets a package where the draft is more important than handling and we start breaking 40 lead changes on the intermediates with frequency.