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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Beyond the Brook: NASCAR

    This past weekend, we saw a very turbulent Daytona 500. There was plenty of scandal going into Sunday, and a lot of action on Sunday. This was one of the most memorable Daytona 500s of the 49 that have been run, but for all the wrong reasons.
    First, let’s start with the cheating. Five teams were deemed to be cheating intentionally, and’ they were all given’ point penalties, and lost’ their crew chiefs for several weekends. Michael Waltrip paid an especially heavy price of 100 points. In fact, if you look at the owner points, #55 has -27 points, putting him behind’ teams’ that didn’t qualify for the race. Other teams lost points, but not as many.
    ‘ ‘ These penalties were clearly not enough. NASCAR is going to continue to have these cheating problems until they take a stronger stance on cheaters. If not all 5 teams, at least Waltrip’s team should have been sent home altogether. Even if it means Matt Kenseth, a former series champion, not racing, it has to be done. They need to clean up their sport.

    The concerns about keeping the sponsors happy is irrelevant. They probably don’t want to sponsor cheaters, anyway. In addition, now that more than 43 full-time teams will be trying to qualify each week, they can afford to upset a couple of people. Just a couple of years ago, a Formula One team caught cheating after a race was not only disqualified, but suspended for another 2 races. NASCAR needs to get over not changing the race results. In fact, they haven’t disqualified a Nextel Cup winner in over 50 years.
    The issue of the #24 car, driven by Jeff Gordon, is really a non-issue. Some feel they should have lost points for their ride height violation after winning their qualifying race. The problem was blamed on a misaligned and broken part of the shock absorber. Even Jeff Burton, another driver, came out in their defense. He seems to be the only one who bothered to look at the part himself, as well as talk to series director, John Darby. This was clearly a case of accidental damage/failure, albeit a very lucky one. They were lucky in that the part didn’t completely go, and wreck the car. Instead, it merely dropped the car, such that it would have an illegal performance advantage. NASCAR had to do something, though.

    However, putting him at the very back of the field probably wasn’t their solution. Perhaps a ‘middle’ spot would’ve been more fair. Not that starting spot makes a lot of difference at Daytona, as long as you’re not in the ‘big one’.
    Which leads to the next point: NASCAR’s reaction to the ‘big one’ on the last lap. The same people who once put out a caution when a car got sideways did not put out the yellow until after the win was decided, again winning them the championship for inconsistent officiating. Why put it out then? How about not putting it out at all, and letting the tremendous wreck of cars behind the top 2 skid across the finish line wherever they may be? They should have either been consistent, and yellow flagged the race immediately, or not have done it at all. Maybe they could go back to more than one attempt at a green-white-checkered, like they did in the Truck series, but that would probably get ugly.
    Whatever happens, NASCAR has a lot to fix. In other words, 2007 has started at the status quo.

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