|DIBENNEDETTO NASCAR'S ROCKY BALBOA
|FROM JOURNEYMAN DRIVER TO HALL OF FAMER
|WINNERS NOT ADDING UP
|THE 600 IS STILL A CROWN JEWEL
|NEXT TWO WEEKS COULD BE TOO GOOD
|WALTRIP A TWO-WAY HALL OF FAMER
DID NASCAR LISTEN TO TOO MANY VOICES?
After demolishing the competition in Las Vegas, pictures started popping up on Twitter and other social media platforms showing how Kevin Harvick's rear windshield was buckling because of a broken brace and the commentary became heated whether it did or did not give the California driver an unfair advantage.
Three days later, NASCAR nailed Harvick's team with a big penalty, encumbering (yes I used the word we're not supposed to use) the win by taking away all the playoff points garnered by that victory, fining crew chief Rodney Childers $50,000 and suspending their car chief. To prove they could still get the job done with an unbroken brace, an admittedly mad Harvick sped to his third straight Monster Energy Series checkered flag at Phoenix, feeling the whole while his team would have never been punished if not for all the attention stirred up by Twitter Trolls.
Joey Logano, however, disagreed. "It obviously stood out and a lot of things were talked about afterward. I wouldn't assume NASCAR makes calls off of social media. I wouldn't think that's the case. I would think NASCAR is bigger than that."
"You know I think it just makes the story bigger when you see it all over social media," Logano added. "It's not like a secret penalty or something that's underneath the car and we're all trying to figure out what's that really do. You can't really see it. You don't know what it does. But you know when it's on the outside of the car it's pretty blatantly obvious something's different right? You can see something different."
Does that mean though a driver and team should be punished for something like that after they've made it through the post-race Optical Scanning Station? Kyle Busch is concerned what NASCAR sees on the internet will impact the way they are inspecting the cars and the punishment they hand out. "Absolutely, I think what they see in social media also goes based off driver penalties and other things as well too."
Busch also believes NASCAR needs to know when to either lower the volume or completely tune out all the noise after a race. "I think
Kyle Larson, in the meantime, hopes NASCAR doesn't let the fans get in involved in policing their rules as they have in another sport. "It sucks that fans can point stuff out because it seems like with golf the last few years a lot of fans you know 'slo-mo' their own broadcast and show them that a player
For current Monster Energy Cup Champion Martin Truex, Jr. NASCAR needs to filter what they pull off of social media if they want to strike the right balance in their pursuit to bring the sport back to its glory days. "Certainly Twitter, especially, is a huge knee-jerk reaction not only from people reacting to it, but just talk on there in general. It's everybody's thoughts as they are pissed off or fired up about something, their initial thoughts, and they can say them to the world. So, I think you have to understand how to take those comments and those kinds of things that come out."
Like Logano, however, Truex has faith NASCAR didn't hammer Harvick based on social media,
Yes, it is. Sometimes it can feel like the old wild west where anything goes and the only law of the land is that there are no laws. Yet, it can be a valuable tool for NASCAR just not in the technical areas they have to regulate.
I don't think NASCAR punished Harvick over a photo or video found on the internet of his rear windshield being contorted by the wind flowing over it at 190 mph, but, if they weren't already aware of the pictures, it did give them cause to investigate. The question then becomes should they have just left it alone?
My answer is yes. Unless NASCAR is willing in the future to take the win completely away, no leaving it as a "W" in the record book in one place but not another, then let that sleeping dog lie so we don't have to try and explain to the fans a victory that wasn't really a victory. The Playoff points should go to somebody and all the numbers should add up at the end of the season. How about we drop points penalties in favor HUGE financial ones?
NASCAR dropped the word "encumbered" to describe a win like Harvick's at Las Vegas, but it's the only way to label it now. It also means we are talking about stuff in which the on-track competition is totally blotted out by, in this case, a crumb of a controversy.
Something like a fistfight on pit road following the checkered flag is a worthy distraction, not this.