23. July 2010 00:55
I've been a NASCAR fan my whole life. I've watched many years worth of highs and lows in the sport. Avid fans surely have an opinion about the events of the last lap during the Nationwide race Saturday night at Gateway International Speedway. For those who aren't familiar here's a recap:
Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards have a history of tangling with each other in both of NASCAR'S top two series. On Saturday night they were messing with each other all night and things got especially heated on the last lap. Brad made contact with Carl in turn 1 of the last lap. He moved Carl out of the way and took the lead. Now most fans (including myself) will tell you that "rubbin is racing" and I agree. Brad's actions did not cause any harm to any driver or spectator and those actions didn't cause any monetary damage to any other team. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for Carl. Moments before taking the checkered flag Carl intentionally wrecked Brad's car and the resulting accident gathered and destroyed many other race cars. Fortunately no one was hurt. Carl won the race.
Three days later NASCAR responded by placing both drivers on probation and Carl was docked 60 driver and owner points and Carl received a $25,000 fine.
Now for my readers who are wondering why am I writing about NASCAR on my blog, here's why:
Let's examine the financial impact of Carl Edwards actions. The recent economic events have not been easy on this sport. It takes tens of millions of dollars per year to fund and compete in one of NASCAR's top series. This money comes from corporate sponsorships and many teams in the Nationwide series are not fully funded and some even have no funding at all. At an apporoximate value of $100,000 for each car, the intentional actions of Carl Edwards caused a tremendous amount of financial loss for many teams. We all know that wrecked race cars are a part of this sport but with no insurance to cover the losses it must be extremely hard for a team owner to sit by and do nothing as Carl (who's team is fully funded by Aflac and Scotts) takes credit for a win that he so shamefully earned. In fact If I were the owner of one of those teams I would be demanding financial retribution from Carl personally.
Or NASCAR could have done the following:
The penalties issued were nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Unfortunately the real victims are the team owners of the other cars. NASCAR should have written the following memo to those owners:
"If you have suffered financial damages as a result of the actions of Carl Edwards on the last lap of the most previous race, please submit an invoice to NASCAR for those damages including parts and labor. We will do our best to pay your invoice in full."
NASCAR then should have totaled these invoices (which I believe would easily have exceeded $1,000,000) and issued the total amount to Carl as a fine. His options would be to pay the fine in full or forfeit his participation privilages in future races. NASCAR would use the money from Carl to pay the invoices.
My takeaway? Yes, rubbin is racing, but a quality race car driver should be able to rub without causing an injury or financial loss to any other driver, spectator or team owner. And if a driver isn't capable of this, well, then they better have a fat wallet.