On Sunday, August 12, 2012, the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers raced in the Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen. This race was held at Watkins Glen International in New York. This race is one of the last few races before the annual Chase for the Cup begins. Though the road course race was a good one in general, it was the last lap that is creating some controversy.
Going into that last lap, Bobby Labonte was pushing his car as hard as it could go. Unfortunately, at this point his car was leaking oil and the track began to get slippery. Other drivers slipped around the track but most managed to finish. The slippery conditions may have helped Marcos Ambrose get his first victory of the season and slide past Brad Keselowski just before the finish line.
Some drivers believe that the race should have been stopped to allow for clean up of the oil or ended under a caution flag. Jeff Gordon blamed his late wreck on the oil. Dale Earnhardt Jr. admits that he could have driven his car better, but also believes that the track should have been cleaned. Gordon and Earnhardt both lost out big in the points. Earnhardt lost the lead and Gordon fell out of the wildcard spot he had held. NASCAR officials claim that the race would have been stopped if there were any safety issues and that those in charge did not realize that there was oil on the track.
As a fan of NASCAR, sometimes it feels that there are too many precautions taken. Too often the races are manipulated, whether it is by excessive or purposeful cautions or by forcing the race to end on a green flag. If the oil slick was too dangerous or not widely known to drivers, I could see stopping the race. However, the drivers seemed to know about the danger and that is a common road hazard. Though safety must come first, the sport is inherently dangerous and I do not think that the race should be stopped for every minor problem. As it is, the drivers do not race in the rain. I would not want to see the races stopped more than is absolutely necessary.
Kristin Watt has been a NASCAR Winston Cup, now Sprint Cup, fan for as long as she can remember starting way back when she was a little girl and her mother would sit on the couch with her every Sunday during the season to watch the races. Back then, they were fans of Bill Elliott and newcomer Davey Allison.
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