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NASCAR inspection process needs modification to consider stripping wins

Darrell Wallace Jr.’s popular NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn on Aug. 12 was the third win deemed “encumbered” by NASCAR, across the three national series, in 2017 — once in each national series. Maybe it’s time NASCAR start stripping wins in such circumstances instead of just labeling them as “encumbered.”

Granted, Joey Logano’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at Richmond (Va.) Raceway earlier this season being classified at “encumbered” probably sent a message. After all, that “encumbered” label on his one win of the season has him in jeopardy of not making the playoffs with three races remaining in the regular season.

In the other two cases, so far, this season, wins being deemed “encumbered” was a non-issue, at least as far as the winning driver was concerned.

Wallace isn’t racing for a championship in the Truck Series last weekend; heck, it was his first and, possibly, only Truck Series race of the season. His win may be “encumbered,” but he’s still the official winner. Wallace, a.k.a. Bubba, still has his fourth-career Truck Series win. The MDM Motorsports crew chief is the one holding the bag, not Bubba.

Then, there was Denny Hamlin’s “encumbered” Xfinity Series win at Michigan earlier this season. As a full-time Cup driver, Hamlin, probably, couldn’t care less about points deductions and crew chief suspensions for an “encumbered” Xfinity win. All that matters to him, I’m guessing, is that he won. “Encumbered” or not, Hamlin is still credited with that win.

I admit, earlier this season, I was against stripping wins for the reason of not knowing whether the next car in line is completely legal, given the thoroughness of inspection. If the entire post-race inspection process was completed at the track immediately after the race, it would be much easier for me to suggest win-stripping, but the top-two cars/trucks and a random third are taken back to the R&D Center for a teardown inspection. Some of these cars/trucks are deemed “illegal,” and therefore, wins determined to be “encumbered” Tuesday or Wednesday.

As long as the second-place car continues to be considered “legal” after R&D teardown, easy peasy; give the win to the driver and team to whom that car belongs. But what if that car’s “illegal,” too? What’s to say the third-place car would’ve passed that inspection at the R&D Center? It also wouldn’t be fair to pass the win along to a third-place car that didn’t get as thorough an inspection, now, would it?

That’s the sticking point for me when it comes to stripping wins. If the second-place car passes the teardown inspection, fine, no problem. But what if it doesn’t? Should the win go to the next car in line, even though it didn’t get as thorough a look-over?

In my heart, I feel wins with “illegal” cars should be stripped, but for that to be done fairly, the post-race inspection process needs to be modified, somehow.

I don’t buy the arguments of “that’s the way it’s always been done” and we want fans to know who the winner was before they leave the track” in defending “encumbering,” not stripping, wins.

If we always did things the way they were always done, how would anything ever progress? And with the social media, immediate new environment we live in today, fans aren’t waiting until mid-week to get their racing news after they leave the race track.

It’s the inspection issue that, for me, puts a wrinkle in the idea of stripping wins.

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on August 17, 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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