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NASCAR made right call on suspensions for ‘runaway wheels’

During this weekend’s NASCAR race weekend that spans Pocono Raceway and Long Pond, Pa., and Texas Motor Speedway near Fort Worth, two teams will embark on four-race suspensions for some key pit crew members — crew chief, a tire changer and a tire carrier — as a result of wheels coming off during races last weekend at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford team of Chase Briscoe in the Camping World Truck Series and the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Ford team of Kyle Busch in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series are facing such fates.
There’s no debate that wheels coming off the aforementioned racing vehicles were accidental results of pit miscues, not the results of attempts to gain positions or time by intentionally not tightening all lug nuts.
What has been highly debated, though, since NASCAR’s Wednesday announcement of the four-race suspensions is said four-race suspensions.
According to the NASCAR rule book, a four-race suspension is the bare-bones minimum suspension for a wheel coming off a race car, but critics of the penalty are crying “foul” because intent was not there in either case.
Still, rules are rules. At least NASCAR gave these teams the minimum penalty called for in the rule book.
Working intent into the equation would open a whole new can of worms, we probably wouldn’t want opened, force us down a road we don’t want to go down, if you will. Sure, sometimes intent, or lack thereof, is obvious. But sometimes, it’s not. How would those murkier situations be judged?
What if intent factored into other portions of the rule book? Using the pit road speed limit makes for an easy hypothetical, so I’ll use it for an example. When drivers speed on pit road, I’m guessing it’s usually not intentional, so should speeding penalties not be issued unless it, somehow, becomes obvious a driver did, indeed, mean to speed? Of course, of speeding penalties weren’t assessed for accidental speeding, drivers would speed on purpose and pretend it was an accident.
I’m guess some of you reading this are probably scoffing at my hypothetical, because pit road speeding doesn’t result in single-race suspensions, let along, multi-race suspensions. I’m talking principle here, though. See, applying intent to the penalty equation is probably not a good idea.
Should a change be made to the related “runaway wheel” rule, during the offseason? Maybe. I think there should, at the very least, be some kind of stiff penalty for wheels coming off on the race track under green. Maybe, if a change is made, it could call for a lesser penalty if said wheel comes off on pit road or under yellow. I have to say, though, if there isn’t a change to this rule, I won’t be disappointed.
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 June 8, 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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