Was Marcos Ambrose's Penalty Wrong?

Here we go again.

Jimmie Johnson returns to Victory Lane, and suddenly NASCAR’s rule book comes under attack. This isn’t the first time it’s happened, and probably won’t be the last.

It may not seem fair. But due to past instances, I have to raise this question: Was the penalty that NASCAR handed out to Marcos Ambrose on Sunday at Infineon Raceway wrong?

For those of you who don’t know what happened, let me bring you up to speed. Ambrose was leading with 5 laps to go on Sunday at Sonoma when a caution came out. When he shut down his engine in a fuel-saving maneuver, Ambrose’s car stalled on the track. According to NASCAR “rules”, if you are unable to maintain pace car speed, you forfeit your position and are scored wherever you resumed pace car speed.

While that may seem pretty cut and dry, past instances have allowed exceptions to be made.

A very infamous instance came two years ago at Michigan, when Dale Earnhardt Jr., in an effort to save fuel, shut down his engine and coasted past the pace car(which is illegal in itself). When his coasting car slowed down to a speed slower than that of the pace car, several other cars on the track passed him as well. But Earnhardt was allowed to retain his position as the leader, and went on to win the race.

There have also been several cases in which cars have stalled following a red flag, and are passed by several cars that are going pace car speed.  Those cars have always been allowed a push from a push-truck to get them re-fired, and are allowed to retain their position.

So if the drivers in these cars were allowed to retain their position while not maintaining pace car speed, why wasn’t Ambrose allowed to do the same? If these drivers have gone without penalty, doesn’t that mean that Marcos Ambrose’s penalty was wrong?

Tags: Dale Earnhardt Jr Infineon Jimmie Johnson Marcos Ambrose

  • jordan

    that really stinks. Nascar needs to take a look at the rules and see which arent being enforced. I think jr. got away because he is a fan faviorite and hadnt got a win oh well that’s just my opinion!

  • Jeff Burton…no, not that one

    NASCAR’s problem (or at least one of them) is they are not consistent with decisions they make. This got old years ago. It does appear that they hand down decisions that may lean in favor of a certain driver (or drivers) from time to time. Credibility and NASCAR are two words that no longer belong in the same sentence.

  • hunter

    the first thing i thought of when they penalized ambrose was Michigan and Dale Jr. Nascar has done it again,penalize the little guys, let the big name guys roll

  • hunter

    nascar doesn’t need to publish their rulebook, they just need someone to read it and understand it and have the balls to enforce it

  • Bill

    It seems Nascar has seperate rules for Hendrick drivers. This is the second time Jimmy Johnson was handed a victory, that didn’t seem fair. I think the Hendricks drivers are good, but they get all the advantages, earned or not.

    • http://FACEBOOK Windy

      Check out my outlook on the decision….

  • Jason

    there, their, they’re. Just pick your favorite one and stick with it…

  • jim

    No he was a dumb bum to stop.

  • http://FACEBOOK Windy

    All of the comments about the decision are correct. Both pro and con. The thing that has escaped everyone it seems, is that by making their decision to penalize Marcos, they took away the race that fans had sat there and waited for all day long. Again we wanted to see who was best, 47 or 48. The rule is, like all of their rules, flexible. Wake up NASCAR… If I had been at the track and had a sore butt and sun tired, I would have been really p..oed. Of course that is just the opinion of a 70 year old white man…

  • dave w

    I am a huge Jimmie Johnson fan. was the penalty wrong? idk..but i would have rather have seen the dual for the win! win or lose, thats what i watch races for.