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Time to stop blaming NASCAR when drivers, teams break rules

There have been several controversial penalty calls the last few races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and folks seem to be quick to call NASCAR to task for the controversy. When are we going to hold drivers/teams accountable for their actions?

There was one recent non-penalty that I question NASCAR on, and that’s the non-penalty for Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team at Charlotte Motor Speedway when the car received some service outside its pit stall and at least one driver, Kyle Larson, questioned the no-call.

NASCAR officials admitted after that incident that while the No. 48 team was told during a previous similar incident that the move was okay, other teams/drivers may not have known.

That, to me, is on NASCAR. That’s something that should have been mentioned by someone with NASCAR, at the very least, in the drivers’ meeting the weekend following Johnson’s team being told such a move was okay.

Bringing up such topics in drivers’ meetings brings me, at least partly, to my point, here.

Two controversial calls were made at Kansas Speedway during the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday, one involving Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team of Matt Kenseth.

The rule for which Truex was busted —not going below the white line on a restart — was covered during the drivers’ meeting earlier in the day. I get that the No. 78 team were probably, at least somewhat, distracted by the untimely death of a beloved crew member the previous evening. But truth of the matter is, the rule, new or not, was covered in the drivers’ meeting.

Then, there was Kenseth and the No. 20 team’s disqualification when the team had seven men, instead of the maximum allowable six, working on the car while it was on the five-minute, crash-repair clock.

A dejected Kenseth said after the fact that he didn’t know what the rules were anymore. Really? And whose fault is that? And, keep in mind, he can’t even use some kind of “new rule” excuse. Rules relating to the crash clock were announced prior to the start of the season, including the disqualification of teams committing pit-road violations — i.e. too many men over the wall — when cars are on the crash clock.

If Kenseth can’t learn a rule in the amount of time between February and October or his team doesn’t know that seven is greater than six, that’s on them, not NASCAR.

Back to the subject of drivers’ meetings. At least one driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., recently has admitted he doesn’t pay attention in drivers’ meetings. Instead, he zones out. Also, I’ve attended drivers’ meetings over the years, and from what I’ve witnessed, a lack of attention is more the norm than the exception.

Blaming NASCAR for a lack of attention in drivers’ meetings is like blaming a teach for a student not paying attention in class.

Just saying.

Then, there’s the discussion of NASCAR needing to do something to stop the pit-road shenanigans at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, where drivers try to dictate which line they’ll restart in by braking on pit exit. Why can’t we hold drivers responsible and let them suffer the possible consequences of their actions? Say, driver X brakes short on pit road to manipulate the restart order and driver Y gets into him/her. What would be so back about letting drivers X and Y settle it on the race track?

And blaming NASCAR when teams can’t get their cars through inspection? Don’t get me started.

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 October 25, 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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