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NASCAR Chase 2013


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#1 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 04:47 PM

So has the absolute final chase field been set yet? :rolleyes:

Recapping Richmond ... apparently Michael Waltrip Racing wanted their second driver, Martin Truex Jr, to have a spot in the chase. And while most teams and drivers have said for years that they would do anything to make the chase (and win a championship ... the next phase of the season) it appears that MWR crossed an invisible line.

NASCAR saw the final pit stop by MWR teammate Brian Vickers as unneeded. They did not rule MWR teammate Clint Boyer's spin prior to that pit stop as intentional. But "team orders" coming from the GM of the team were enough for MWR to receive a hefty pre-chase penalty. All three drivers and their cars were docked 50 points (although Vickers is not racing for points the 55 car does get points).

Knocking Martin Truex Jr out of the chase put Ryan Newman in. That decision was simple math ... he was next in line after Truex lost his points. But the actions of MWR also affected another driver and team, Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports. The "ripple effect" of Boyer and Vickers finishing lower in the race finish was that Joey Logano (Penske Racing) finished in the top 10 for the season instead of a wild card position. This knocked Jeff Gordon out of the top 10.

NASCAR did not want to deal with the ripple effect ... but as the negative publicity grew and further "evidence" of a possible deal between Penske and Front Row Motorsports to give Logano another spot before Boyer's spin - and the actions of Front Row to actually give up that spot on the restart after Boyer's sping - was enough for NASCAR to announce (appropriately on Friday the 13th) that there would be 13 drivers in this year's chase field. No deal was proven to NASCAR (the court of public opinion may have a different opinion) so only probation was given to the two teams involved. But Gordon got his due.

On NASCAR's rulings:
I see this week's rulings as "that was wrong, what can we do to make it right". The initial ruling was simple and easy to explain. Three teams were punished and math changed the chase. Despite the calls for Clint Boyer to be removed from the chase he had earned his spot before Richmond ... he kept his spot.

One option for the second ruling would have been pre-chase points penalties for the teams involved. But what would the outcome be? Give Logano a points penalty and he still makes the chase as a wild card. The math outcome of such a penalty would have been Gordon in an Newman out.

A messy situation ... so the "clean" way to handle this is to have 13 chasers.

At the end of the day it is IRRELEVANT. In the past 9 years of the chase only one driver who started the chase in 9th place has ever won the chase (Tony Stewart in 2011). Kurt Busch started 7th and won in 2004. While I'd like to see Gordon or Newman win a championship expecting to become a superstar in the last 10 races after squeaking in to the chase is a challenge. (I'd like to see Gordon become 5-time before 5-time becomes 6-time. I'd like to see Newman win a championship in a year he was let go. Both would be good stories.)

Team Orders:
Giving up a spot to give a teammate or friend a point is a long TRADITION of NASCAR. Now it is a crime? Letting someone lead a lap for a bonus point then having them give it back is very common. And this is far from the first time someone has traded positions to help another driver.

I'm not sure how NASCAR goes forward after these penalties. Or will it be a case of "don't embarrass the sport by making your deals so public!" It was the public shaming that pushed NASCAR into the unprecedented actions they took this week.

Hopefully the sport can go on and get out of the press other than positive stories ... who is winning, who is doing well. Not the controversies.
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#2 OFFLINE   jimmie57

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 05:47 PM

They are doing something with the restart rules tomorrow. The current restarts are a mess.

 

I have written to Nascar and 3 of the drivers that have had restart problems recently with a suggestion.

Start the leader in front and the rest 2 x 2 behind him. Wave the green flag and it is  on. If the second or third, etc. happen to pass him before the start finish line it is just too bad for him.

 

To correct the mess from last weekend I thought that they should toss out all points from last week and use the points for this weekend in Chicago to determine the chase contenders.


Edited by jimmie57, 14 September 2013 - 06:59 PM.

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#3 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 10:39 PM

“At the center of that meeting was what our expectations were going forward,” France said, “… and those expectations are that a driver and a team give 100 percent effort, their best effort, to complete a race and race as hard as they possibly can.

Examples of actions deemed acceptable include contact while racing for position; performance issues; drafting; pitting; tire management; fuel management; yielding to a faster car; alternative pit strategy; long-fuel (mileage) strategy; and laying over (allowing others to pass) -- “you lay over for one, you lay over for all,” Helton said, “which is fairly common in our restart language.”

Unacceptable actions include, but are not limited to, offering a position in exchange for favor or material benefit; offering material benefit in exchange for track position; directing a driver to give up a position to the benefit of another driver; intentionally causing a caution; causing a caution for the benefit of or detriment of another driver; intentionally wrecking a competitor; intentionally pitting, pulling into the garage to gain advantage for another competitor.

NASCAR.COM: Driver meeting sets forth new ground rules

I hope they don't mess with the restart rules too much. The problems we have seen would fit in to the "run 100%" guidelines. I don't see any problem with Carl's last restart last week as both he and Menard were running at their respective 100%s as they passed through the restart box ... Carl's 100% just turned out to be better before they hit the start-finish line.

There will always be faster cars behind slower cars ... to expect those cars to run at less than 100% seems wrong. They just end up holding back and often stack up the field, damaging cars and occasionally causing the next caution.

Whatever the trigger, whether it be the leader or flag, someone will jump. It is each competitor's job to do the best that they can. If having a faster car and a good response time means you're doing the best you can that is good. Holding back doesn't seem right.

I suppose going back to single file restarts would help ... but it would be nice to have a consistent set of rules that do not penalize anyone, whether they restart in 1st, 2nd or 43rd.
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#4 OFFLINE   jimmie57

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 12:10 PM

Start and Restarts: Line up is 2 x 2 , no change.

Flagman controls the Start of the race. Places behind can not pass the leader before the start / finish line.

 

The Leader controls the restart between the lines designated as the restart zone on the track. If the second, third, etc. cars pass him before the start / finish line it is just too bad for the leader.


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#5 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 02:36 PM

Start and Restarts: Line up is 2 x 2 , no change.
Flagman controls the Start of the race. Places behind can not pass the leader before the start / finish line.
 
The Leader controls the restart between the lines designated as the restart zone on the track. If the second, third, etc. cars pass him before the start / finish line it is just too bad for the leader.


Just the way it should be ... and the way it happened last weekend.
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#6 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 07:29 PM

iicxvf.jpg

Sigh ... it would have been nice to have a normal race to cleanse the palate from this last week.

(PS: Found via Twitter ... not my spelling.)
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#7 OFFLINE   jimmie57

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 10:35 PM

Wow, lots of engines blew up today / night. Lots of flat tires from small debris that got on the track from previous blow outs.

All in it was a good race.


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