Consider our Takeaways feature to be the home of our random and sometimes intelligent musings. Sometimes the post may have a theme. Sometimes it may just be a mess of unrelated thoughts. Make sure you tweet us your thoughts after the race or email your post-race rants via the link in the signature line below.
• Let’s repeat this sentence for the millionth time: The only thing consistent in NASCAR is inconsistency.
Saturday night in the Xfinity Series, Michael Annett spun late in the race in front of oncoming cars. He didn’t hit anything, but it seemed reasonable that Annett would draw a caution from race control. After all, he could have gotten clobbered and a bunch of cars had to slow to avoid him.
But it wasn’t a caution.
If Annett had spun ahead of no one, the decision makes a ton of sense. But he didn’t, and NASCAR race control elected to keep the race — won by Alex Bowman — going. OK, great. Was this a harbinger of things to come in Sunday’s Cup Series race?
Kyle Busch clipped the wall and didn’t even do a 90-degree turn in the first half of Sunday’s race and NASCAR called a caution.
Then with about 50 laps to go, Busch spun in a similar fashion to Annett while not as close to other cars as Annett was.
Race control called a caution.
Look, we get that officiating a race is a hard job. But it’s sure looking like it’s become too hard of a job for the people that are paid to do the officiating.
It’s entirely possible that Busch’s first incident was worthy of a caution. He could have sprayed debris on the track. And that’s worthy of a yellow flag for sure. But it looks ridiculous when officials made a point of holding off on a yellow flag less than 24 hours before. What if someone had clobbered into the driver’s side of Annett’s car because NASCAR had waited on a caution flag?
No one was in danger of hitting Busch as he slid on lap 280 Sunday. Yet his incident was a caution for reasons we’re not sure of.
This is where NASCAR has to do a better job at being transparent. Much like football broadcasts have former officials available to explain decisions by game officials, a former or current NASCAR executive needs to be on retainer to explain the sanctioning body’s decisions.
It would help clear up a lot of perceived inconsistencies. Or perhaps reveal a lot of real ones. Either way, the NASCAR fans that are still watching the sport deserve a sanctioning body willing to offer explanations in real time. Not the one that apologizes two days later for rogue ambulances.
• Busch laid down beside his car after the race after feeling ill. According to the driver of the No. 18, the right-side damage his car sustained when he hit the wall in the first half of the race made the car hotter because the crush panels were knocked out of it.
“Of course, they said my [carbon monoxide] was in the double digits and I’m fighting some of that too,” Busch said. “That was just the hottest I’ve been in the car. I didn’t feel sick from the CO or anything like that, but I felt heat stroke and I’ve had that before. Living in Vegas, you have that a few times when you’re playing outside in the summer as a kid. I knew what it was, I knew what it felt like, but the only way to do it is to just get out and get cooled down.”
Perhaps the next NASCAR safety measure should be to prevent a driver from being exposed to increased levels of carbon monoxide (and heat) after hitting the wall. Given the known danger of carbon monoxide exposure, this should be something that should be mitigated as much as possible.
“For sure I didn’t see him,” Newman said. “I know I got tight underneath him and I washed up, but I checked-up and when you check-up sometimes you wash up even more, but never the less, I don’t know if he turned me on purpose or not he probably had a right to, but it was early in the race and we had a good car.”
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