[media-credit name=”Brad Keppel” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]What happened at Richmond on Saturday night was typical when circumstances get out of control. Why? It’s pretty obvious. Let’s forget for a second how the race played out. The top two drivers were Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards. After a caution, they were lined up alongside each other. Everyone assumed that Stewart was the leader including NASCAR. Trouble was NASCAR officials as well as the track python showed Edwards as the leader, according to various sources. NASCAR official Robin Pemberton said it has a lot to do with electronics. Edwards had been scuffing his tires and the pylon showed him the leader, so the scoreboard was erroneous. Interesting.
I’ve attended hundreds of races over the last 40 years. I can tell you that once in those years have I seen a scoring python change over cars moving to warm tires during cautions. Never. It may have happened, but never on my watch. The confusion from the official who supposedly told both spotters that saying that Edwards was the leader to the so-called electronics that put Edwards as the leader has to be investigated. Would a caution or a re-start been more appropriate? Not being a rules guru, but knowing what I’ve seen, bad starts have always been stopped with a caution. Some say that since it was the second place car (with the driver not knowing it), is a different situation, but I don’t know. If an official tells you that you are in the lead, you’re going to go for it. Misinformation is a terrible thing. Why doesn’t NASCAR have a plan to let drivers know who is the leader?
Compounding the problem was that no one, from the driver to the crew chief to apparently the track really knew what was going on. That troubles me. Given that information, shouldn’t the respective teams been given official information? Also, given the information Carl was given, shouldn’t have someone not been asleep at the switch to correct things? It’s a mess and I hope it doesn’t decide the title come November. I don’t for a minute think that Carl Edwards would have won that race, but one thing you cannot predict is events that happen later after a call NASCAR dropped the ball in this case,
One more thing. The final caution will forever be considered a makeup for that call. I don’t believe that. And yet, the damage is done. Kyle Busch is the winner and Carl Edwards finished tenth. If we had boring races the last few weeks, this evens the score somewhat. And yet, some weaknesses in the system have been exposed and it’s up to NASCAR to correct this. Will they?