Finley Factor: Hot Dogs on The Track! Debris Caution!

There really isn’t much else to write about the whole debris caution debacle at Auto Club Speedway, but I’ll try anyway.

As has been pointed out by plenty, NASCAR wasn’t trying to screw Kurt Busch out of a victory. If they were, why didn’t they throw the caution as soon as Brad Keselowski passed him on the racetrack, not giving him a chance to take back the lead in the last two turns?

I don’t doubt for a second that some of the debris calls are a little exaggerated. The caution that made me angry was the caution that set up the initial green-white-checkered, where apparently 43 of the world’s greatest drivers couldn’t avoid something that looked to be a soda can or something similar to it for two laps. Then, they called the caution after somebody hit it. It made no sense, and whoever reported the debris to David Hoots, NASCAR’s managing event director, should at least be reprimanded.

Here’s something I don’t think people understand. Hoots doesn’t just sit there in the control tower calling debris cautions. Every single debris caution thrown on Sunday had some manner of debris. The process of getting most debris cautions called is very simple-

  1. Teams must report to NASCAR that there is debris on X part of the racetrack.
  2. One of the many officials around the track will look closer and report if there is any substantial debris at that part of the racetrack.
  3. David Hoots will make the call as to whether or not to “put it out.”

Sometimes, like when Kyle Larson’s bumper was laying on the racetrack during the first GWC, the debris is too obvious not to report.  However, having listened to the official’s audio through Race View during most races this year, I’ve noticed that this typically is not the case.

Rather, it seems the vast majority of the debris cautions called are the result of teams reporting debris. There definitely is stuff on the racetrack. FOX doesn’t care to show it because it’s FOX and they are too busy trying to make a story out of nothing. And don’t say that “They can’t find it,” because how many cameras does FOX have at these racetracks now? How many bodies and how much money do they dump into the sport?  That excuse is only a little better than the tracks saying, “We don’t have the money for an all-SAFER Barrier track,” after FOX/NBC dump a mountain of gold on their doorstep, while spending millions to get rid of their iconic symbols for no real good reason (Cough, Daytona, cough).

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that teams report the majority of these cautions and for some strange reason they seem to report it when it benefits them. With around 20 laps to go, I turned to the official’s radio out of curiosity. What I found was multiple teams reporting debris… constantly, especially those who were short on fuel. A few laps later, the track official in that area finally found something and Hoots called a caution.

Now, it seems to me that the teams seem to be giving NASCAR ample room to call for debris cautions. I’m not going to name names, but certain teams seem to do it, a lot, especially those that happen to have 1s or 2s on the side of their car. If we want to get rid of phantom debris cautions, it starts with the teams. Don’t lie or exaggerate and claim something’s there. It’s that simple.

NASCAR definitely deserves a lot of blame, and I usually am on the side of the teams, but I don’t feel many give the teams any criticism when it comes to this.


Martinsville Preview (Now with 31 percent less tasty hot dogs)

Favorite (Once again, outside of Kevin Harvick)

Jeff Gordon leads almost every category among active drivers in stats at Martinsville. Hopefully he isn’t like last week’s favorite Kurt Busch, who lost the race on the last lap.

One to Watch

Chase Elliott will probably be making his Cup debut at this race. Hopefully he isn’t like last week’s one to watch Kyle Larson, where the only thing to watch was where his rear end was going to land…. literally.

Dark Horse

This is one of A.J. Allmendinger’s better racetracks, where he has finished in the top 15 in all but three of his last 11 starts here. Hopefully he isn’t like last week’s dark horse Paul Menard, who actually had a really good race. Never mind.


Because I’ve been super busy with college stuff, I didn’t find the time to write the second half of the Factor this week. Instead, here are a few random thoughts of mine.

-The top (and only) five differences between Roush Fenway Racing and BK Racing in Cup, because both have no idea what they are doing and are killing driver’s careers:

  1. Roush runs Fords.
  2. Roush has more money.
  3. Roush has a third car.
  4. Roush used to be a great team.
  5. Roush actually pays people.

-With Brett Moffitt being declared eligible for Rookie of the Year honors, there goes the only thing BK Racing and Jeb Burton had going for it this year,  which is a shame because Ward, Jeb’s father, is the man.

-David Ragan needs to learn not to block people on lap 20.

-Chris Buescher spent most of the day ahead of all three Roush drivers and finished 20th in Front Row Motorsports equipment. He had never even climbed into a Sprint Cup car until Friday.

-No doubt, if you ask me, Brian Vickers’ full time Cup career in decent equipment will probably be over as soon as he leaves Michael Waltrip Racing. I just don’t see any team really taking a risk on a driver who didn’t light the world last season and constantly has medical problems. I can definitely see him in a good XFINITY Series car, though. He’s a lot like Regan Smith, in that both are decent to good drivers who have helped build Cup teams from the bottom to decent teams (Furniture Row and Red Bull), but there’s just no room for them in Cup any longer.

-Brad Keselowski wrote a blog a week ago about how big of an “ass” Kyle Busch is, or at least was, off the track. Kyle hasn’t driven like an “ass” since Texas in 2011. Brad has wrecked half the field in the last five years. What is worse, being an “ass” off the track or on the track? Judging by how many friends Brad has in the garage area, I think he does well in both categories anyway.

-Auto Club was an awful, boring race for the first 180 laps, or what felt like 10 hours. I can’t wait for Martinsville. And, I’ll go buy five lottery tickets if what’s in the title of this article actually happens.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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