It seems as though we have this discussion about NASCAR and finishing races more often than Lindsey Lohan has discussions about her drinking and drug problems.
Unfortunately, in both cases, the discussions have resulted in little-to-no progress.
For what is seemingly the 1,000,000,000,000th time, fans of NASCAR feel cheated and enraged at the fact that NASCAR failed to let them witness a long-anticipated, nail-biting finish.
Such was the case on Sunday afternoon, when the 188-lap affair at Talladega was called after 187.25 circuits. That is when a terrifying crash happened behind the leaders after AJ Allmendinger’s car got airborne and went over on his lid. Since the white flag had waved, under NASCAR rule once the caution flag was thrown, the race was over.
After sitting there on our couches for 4 hours, we were forced to witness a finish decided by invisible scoring loops. And it sucked.
At tracks like Talladega, this sort of thing is common. When you have 25 or 30 cars racing in a pack and jockeying for position on the final lap, more often than not an accident is going to happen. There’s nothing anybody can do to stop that; even NASCAR.
But there is something they can do to avoid having to deal with angry fans, as they’ve had to do at restrictor plate tracks like ‘Dega 9 times in the last five seasons.
Let the drivers finish the freaking race.
In most cases, when an accident happens on the last lap, it occurs after the finish line, behind the leaders. When NASCAR throws the caution flag, the leaders have already passed the wreck and won’t pass it again until their cool-down lap. In the case on Sunday, the wrecked cars weren’t even on the racing surface.
When the cars in the accident aren’t in harm’s way, why not let the drivers race back to the line at full speed and give the fans the finish they deserve? Why must NASCAR jump in and end it right then?
And even if the cars are in harm’s way, why not let them race back to the line anyway? These drivers are trained professionals who get paid a lot of money to do something we only wish we could do. Certainly, they are good enough to avoid a stalled car in the middle of the track.
And even if they can’t see the car, isn’t that what the spotter is for?
I understand that safety is a concern. I get it, I do. But come on, can we really go on like this? What happened to the days when the drivers had kahunas and the sport wasn’t afraid to be a little politically incorrect? What happened to the days when we were actually guaranteed to get what we paid for?
What happened to the days when the integrity of the sport actually mattered, and so did the fans?
Come on, NASCAR. Let the drivers finish the freaking race.