First off, I just want to thank everyone who stopped by and gave us feedback on our “The State of TNI post.” We aren’t looking at any major changes, but we wanted to get a gauge from you on what you thought we were doing right and wrong. Know that we always hear you loud and clear, and we will probably be implementing a few small changes here to go along with what you said. Thanks again!
On to the post…
Picture for me if you will a normal Friday, Saturday, and/or Sunday at your house. You are posted up on the couch taking in that day’s racing action; be it the Truck Series, Nationwide Series, or Cup Series. The race has been under green for a while and driver X has a huge lead. All of a sudden there is a caution on the speedway, but you don’t see a wreck. Within a few seconds, the broadcast crew announces there is debris on the race track, only you are never shown said debris. Is it a warranted caution, or one called by those circling above in black helicopters?
It seems there has been more attention paid lately to the now infamous “debris” cautions from NASCAR. I’m not sure if it’s the comments from a few drivers or just overall fan frustration that has made this a public issue, but trust me, this isn’t a new problem. These debris cautions have been taking place for years, but until now haven’t really garnered any real press.
Since I’ve been involved in racing at this level, I’ve heard all the stories. One driver is pulling away from the field, and in order to tighten the field back up and create better racing action for the fans, some phantom debris is spotted and a caution is called. The story goes that these calls have come from as high up as those with the France surname.
Whether any of the stories are true, I couldn’t tell you. I’m not inside the heads of the series directors, and I don’t spend much (or any) time in race control. But what I can tell you is that this isn’t a new phenomenon.
What I do think though, is that these cautions aren’t meant to serve a specific driver. If it is indeed true that these cautions are thrown on purpose, it is to create more side by side racing, and not to benefit Jimmie Johnson, Dale Jr., or whatever other driver is mentioned in that day’s conspiracy theory.
I also think that instead of blaming NASCAR for a caution, why aren’t we blaming the TV networks for not showing the cause of the cautions? When a caution is called for debris, NASCAR will say over their radio frequency where the debris is. At least give the fans the opportunity to make the call for themselves. With what is currently happening, the TV networks are setting NASCAR up to look bad. The more information that TV can provide the fans, the better. If NASCAR is indeed calling bogus debris cautions, the fans should be shown the track and allowed to decide for themselves.
And while we are on the subject of cautions, what is with NASCAR letting the drivers keep digging (usually to the checkered) while a car sits wrecked on the track? A few weeks ago it was AJ Allmendinger, and on Sunday it was John Andretti. Andretti was turned coming to the white, and instead of throwing a yellow, NASCAR allowed the drivers to race back to the checkered while the #34 sat broadside to the field right at the start/finish line. Instead of putting the drivers in a very bad spot with these situations, why not just throw the caution and have another green/white/checkered? If they want the drivers to race to the finish, at least do it safely.