Monday, 28 November 2022

 

Teammates help each other out. 

It’s part of racing, and always has been.

When Jeff Gordon was trying to wrap up his first title back in the 1990s, Rick Hendrick would enter an extra car in the race just so it could drop out and guarantee Gordon another spot. When stages are about to end, drivers often don’t lap their teammates even if they are able to do so, out of respect for their overall team goals. Every team on the grid, from Hendrick to Gibbs to SHR and beyond, has told its drivers to support their teammates in one way or another, often explicitly on the radio. 

So the decision to punish Cole Custer and the 41 team for alleged improper action to help teammate Chase Briscoe at the end of the Roval race is quite dishonest in my view. This wasn’t a Clint Bowyer itchy arm situation and there was no blatant manipulation. Briscoe was going to dive bomb into that corner regardless of what Custer did, and likely make the pass anyway, so overanalyzing the 41 car’s actions is unnecessary. 

What’s most bothersome is the inconsistency. In recent years, Chase Elliott did a playoff favor for Kyle Larson by holding up Kevin Harvick, and Erik Jones was told explicitly to not pass teammate Denny Hamlin. But nobody was punished in those instances.

Let’s not get into the habit of over-policing, which is the complete opposite of “boys, have at it” and not the direction we need to go in as a sport.

Published in NASCAR
Friday, 27 December 2019 23:14

5 key NASCAR stories to watch in 2020

While it seems like the 2019 season just ended, the start of NASCAR racing in 2020 is just weeks away.

As fans anticipate the new season, here are a handful of stories to keep in the back of your mind that will be worth watching as the year unfolds.

Cup Rookie of the Year Battle
There’s a larger crowd than usual battling for this honor in 2020.

  • Christopher Bell in the 95 car (as a temporary stopover until a Gibbs car is vacant)
  • Cole Custer in Stewart-Haas Racing’s 41 car
  • Tyler Reddick replacing Daniel Hemric in the 8 car for RCR.

Rounding out the ROTY contenders (battling for 4th, in all honesty, with inferior equipment) are:

  • Quin Houff (#00 car — StarCom)
  • Brennan Poole (#15 car — Premium)
  • John Hunter Nemechek (#38 car — Front Row)

So how will this battle finish up? The way I see it, Custer has the best equipment out the gate; Reddick has a chance at ROTY if he can avoid the wrecks Hemric had; Bell has the most talent of the bunch and ability to get the win that seemed close but eluded Matt DiBenedetto in the 95 in 2019. 

Published in NASCAR

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