Tuesday, September 10, 2013

In another era...


That's a term my grandfather used to use when he ascertained that a job wasn't done correctly or had been done incompletely.   In a way - NASCAR and its competitors have finally achieved some consistency that fans have been wanting for years.  Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) put on a botchie-kook performance on Saturday night and NASCAR followed it up 48 hours later with a botchie-kook response as announced Monday night.

I appreciate and applaud the realization on NASCAR's part that actions needed to be unprecedented and taken quickly to regain, if possible, some of the integrity that was lost on Saturday night.  The sanctioning body was put in an impossible position to try and analyze and decipher a lot of information in a short amount of time, and was expected to do so correctly.  I wouldn't want the job.  Everyone appreciates the effort. 

I just think the penalties came up a little short.  Botchie-kook.

Specifically, here's where I think they should have sharpened their pencils and done some more work:

- "Cars spin out."  That's what NASCAR President Mike Helton said when asked by Jim Utter of the Charlotte Observer why the #15 car of Clint Bowyer wasn't given a penalty that would impact his seeding within the Chase lineup.  Mr. Helton claimed that it wasn't possible to decipher that the spin was intentional.   Botchie-kook.

- Marty Smith of ESPN asked why the resulting injustice to Jeff Gordon seemingly wasn't addressed at all, and was told that NASCAR doesn't react to the "ripple-effect" of actions, just the actions themselves.  Botchie-kook.

- In response to a question from Nate Ryan of USA Today, Mr. Helton exclaimed that is isn't possible for NASCAR to monitor all the conversations between driver, crew chief and spotter of all 43 teams simultaneously and their possible intentions.  Really?   Hire 43 people, train them as NASCAR officials, and equip them with 43 scanners.  Assign each one to a single car for the entire race.  Anything less is botchie-kook.

 In short, I don't think the penalties went far enough.  Circumstantial evidence is still evidence nonetheless, and the biggest inequity now is that Clint Bowyer begins the Chase with the same seeding he had before.  This was also an opportunity for NASCAR to react in such a way as to deter another team in the future from manipulating the outcome of an event for their benefit.  I'm not sure these penalties accomplish that objective.  Botchie-kook if they don't.

Maybe NASCAR's best reaction to this mess should have been to freeze the running order from the lap immediately prior to Bowyer's suspicious spin and declared that as the official order of finish and then set the Chase field based on those standings.   That would have eliminated the controversy from the #15's spin, the instructions given to the #55 team and their resulting impact on the race's outcome and the #99's "catch me if you can" restart.  That's what grandpa would have done.  Botchie-kook no more!


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