Tuesday, September 6, 2011

NASCAR deserves a caution

   NASCAR certainly does a great deal on safety, but one instance during Tuesday’s race was very perplexing. During a round of green-flag pit stops on Lap 174, David Gilliland spun out and his car came to rest at the entrance of pit road. Gilliland put his window net down indicating he was OK but also that he could not continue.

   However, NASCAR waited for three laps - presumably to allow teams to finish their green-flag stops - before waving the caution. The official race report lists the reason for the caution as “#34 spun frontstretch” but the first lap of caution is listed as Lap 177. A light rain developed during the caution period, but again, that is not what prompted the caution flag.

   If there was no issue of safety with Gilliland's car, why throw the caution at all? Otherwise, NASCAR purposely withheld the caution to allow teams that hadn’t pit to do so. That’s wrong. NASCAR should have no vested interest in whether a caution will hurt or help any teams during competition. Just as it should not matter to NASCAR whether some teams have pit or others haven't before a rain delay.

   There's a simple solution: Just call them if you need them, regardless who it effects.