Race Weekend Central

Conspiracy Theorists Unite! A NASCAR Nation Call to Action

Whose idea was it anyway?

It wasn’t a very rewarding way to spend a Saturday night, scratching your head and trying to decipher what should have been fairly obvious twists in the usual NASCAR parade.  Granted the cars always look pretty under the lights with the sparks flying out from underneath the speed machines, but it certainly did not dull the knife that cut open the rules book and turned it into confetti.

It seemed fairly obvious that when Matt Kenseth was penalized in the first segment for failing to stop under the green flag for his mandatory tire change that he would be put a lap down.  Yes, that made sense.  However, in the second segment when cars who had completed their green flag stops got caught out with a sudden caution flag, the expected did not happen.  For some reason that NASCAR has been unable to explain, nobody was given the wave around.  I’m sure if we sent the mythical rules book off to a cryptographer, there would be some kind of reason given, but I still don’t think anybody who has watched the sport for more than a minute would believe it.  Instead of having  eleven cars with fresh tires starting behind the other half of the field on old tires, only two cars got in the way of the restart.  In short, nothing much happened due to the shenanigans attributable to the All-Star race.

In 2015 I believe I fell asleep during our annual party in Charlotte.  The segments ran much like any other cookie-cutter event.  Something had to happen!  Changes had to be made. (Can anybody hear the echo of a political ad?)  So, Mr. Self-Appointed Spokesman made some suggestions.  It was Brad Keselowski that came up with many of the concepts incorporated in the 2016 iteration of the event.

Bad Brad.  Mr. Twitter. The new voice of NASCAR. Call him what you will, but when there is a hint of dissatisfaction among the drivers and fans, Keselowski is usually the kid with his hand in the air first.  Bizarrely enough, Mr. France and Co. actually listened.

Huh. So…we can’t entirely blame the head office in Daytona for this one? Well, that’s a bit of a let down.

Well then, what about that silly bit at the beginning of segment 2 and segment 3 where the cars had to come down pit road so their lug nuts could be checked?  That was surely just a little bit over enthusiastic officiating on the part of Mr. France, wasn’t it? Or was it.

If you will recall just a few short weeks ago, it was a grumpy Tony Stewart who got fined for saying something not too terribly awful about the fact that somebody ought to be checking the lug nuts again.  It wasn’t safe.  Some driver was going to get hurt.  So, the last minute adjustment to the All-Star evening included checking on those pesky lug nuts, like checking that your shoe laces are tied before going out to recess in kindergarten.  Not NASCAR’s idea.

Again, our desire to blame the usual suspects was thwarted.

Or was it?  Am I beginning to smell the stench of a conspiracy?  I ask because nobody has been singing that particular tune of late, and I feel some responsibility in making sure NASCAR Nation hasn’t forgotten how to do this.  Wouldn’t it make sense after all the belly-aching we’ve done in the past five years over the inept management of the sport that NASCAR would go and implement some of those ideas the rest of the world has been spouting and then make sure those ideas fail?

Yeah, I know.  The room just went silent.  Our eager little brains are turning over this new piece of jerky.  Do we like it?  Oh, hell yeah.  This means the officials over at NASCAR headquarters are still the bad guys, it wasn’t actually Tony Stewart or Brad Keseklowski’s mouth that destroyed an otherwise pleasant Saturday night, and life can continue on in its usual muddled and frustrating manner.  Great!

It’s settled then.  Next year’s annual attempt at creating a Saturday Night Shootout under the stars in Charlotte will probably be just as messed up as the 2016 event, simply because we all know who really mucked up the works, Brian France Jr.


I actually laughed out loud.  Chris Myers and Michael Waltrip were discussing how many cars would be inverted for the final segment.  They held up three envelopes which contained the results.  Myers then mentioned that the envelopes had been, “hermetically sealed in the rear axle housing of CooCoo Marlins’ No. 14 Monte Carlo.”

Ah, Carnac the Magnificent, you have not been forgotten.



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