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Calling Joey Logano’s Richmond win ‘encumbered’ right call

Joey Logano’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway last weekend returned to the headlines Thursday morning as a result of NASCAR’s determination that the win was “encumbered” and, as a result, Logano was stripped of the benefits of the win, although officially, he still stands as the race winner and crew chief Todd Gordon was suspended. Debate has run rampant — was the penalty too hard, not hard enough, or just right?
At the risk of being accused of kissing NASCAR arse by the “never happy no matter what NASCAR does” and “determined to be critical of every decision NASCAR makes just for the sake of complaining” camps, I think the sanctioning body got this one right, and here’s why:
I keep hearing that NASCAR should’ve caught the No. 22 Ford’s rear-end issue pre-race. Really?!? The issue was one that could only be detected with a tear-down. You want NASCAR tearing down these cars so teams have to rebuild them before every race? Now, let’s be a little more realistic, here.
I’ve also heard gripes that say the win should go to the second-place car if the original winning car is determined to be illegal. Well, what if the second car wasn’t legal, either? Okay, so maybe the second car goes to the R&D center for a teardown, along with the winner. But what if it’s illegal too? After all, the second-place finisher at Richmond was Logano’s teammate, Brad Keselowski, and his crew chief, Paul Wolfe, keeps going back and forth on a three-race suspension from a rear-end issue found after the Phoenix International Raceway event. It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for two team cars to have the same issue in the same race. That would push the win back to the third-place car. But what if that one wasn’t completely legal? We probably wouldn’t know for sure. After all, what’s the chances it was torn down for a more thorough inspection?
How fair is it to take a win from a car inspected and found illegal and give that win to a car that may have been legal, but then again, it may not have been?
NASCAR can’t teardown all 40 cars. How much of a backlog would that create? Imagine it; NASCAR gets so behind tearing down so many cars week-in and week-out that teams run out of cars and a race-winning car is determined to be illegal a month or two after it won. Yeah,  I want to see a driver/team stripped of its win a month or so after the fact. Now, how would that look for the sport?
I’ve also heard the complaint made, comparing NASCAR’s premier series racing to racing on the local level, where wins are stripped for illegal cars. I don’t think that’s a valid comparison. At the local level, the inspection process isn’t as detailed, so it’s easy to inspect cars on-site immediately after races until a legal car is found to award a win. The top racing series in the US requires a more thorough inspection process, though.
Logano’s still going to get a trophy and he’ll still be listed as the winner of the 2017 spring race at Richmond, but the win won’t benefit him, at all, as far as the playoffs are concerned. It won’t get him into the playoffs and he won’t benefit from playoff points from it if he gets into said playoffs another way.
I think that’s the perfect compromise between unrealistically stripping a driver/team of a win and saving face for the sport, overall.
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Posted by on May 7, 2017. Filed under Blog by Amanda Vincent,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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