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

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