Kyle Busch. Debris. Kyle Busch. Debris. Anything else on your mind in this week's mailbag? Uhhh, let's see …
NASCAR blew this one (Brickyard 400)! NASCAR threw the caution when Kyle brushed the wall and set in motion the race outcome. How many times have we seen a caution flag for something that does not exist? What was the purpose of throwing the caution flag as there was no danger on the track? Kyle kept going without missing a beat and was in no way impeding traffic and still finished top 10.
Moments before Kyle Busch brushed the wall in Turn 2 on Lap 115, several drivers keyed in over their radios to say they saw debris on the track. I know this because we talked about it during our weekly raceday chat. Here's the transcript:
3:18 p.m. ET: Jay Hart: Talking about debris
3:18: Jay Hart: Possibly in Turn 4
3:18: Geoffrey Miller: CAUTION DEBRIS TURN 4
3:19: Geoffrey Miller: Kyle Busch hit the wall in T2 at the same time
So … lawyered.
Though you're wrong in this case Will, the fact that you wrote in to complain is evidence that there does exist a sentiment that NASCAR throws caution flags when it's convenient for the show they're trying to put on. (And it should be noted, this is hardly the first email of this kind that I've received.) But is that a bad thing – NASCAR throwing convenient debris cautions?
They way I look at it, the "phantom debris caution" is like getting socks for Christmas. As a gift, socks stink, but you need 'em, right? And you'll definitely use them.
No one wants a phantom debris caution, but when the leader has an eight-second advantage over the field and a yellow comes out, tell me you're not happy it did.
Now, more debris talk involving, oddly enough, Kyle Busch …
Jay, once again just saw Kyle Bush throw out a water bottle onto the track which caused a caution and that action will change the outcome of the race and should be a penalty of not money but the car causing this action should have to go to the back of the pack for the re-start.
Any driver could cause this to happen just to bunch up the cars and it appears that NASCAR will not do anything about this because I have written about this before. This action is just a blatant act to allow cars to go to the pits for repairs or whatever and is just not fair.
In this case, Kyle drove down toward the apron, threw out a water bottle which, instead of coming to rest in the infield where it would have gone unnoticed, bounced back onto the track bringing out a caution. Again, Kyle tried to discard the bottle without bringing out the caution, unfortunately he failed.
I'm a stickler for keeping my car clean, except when it comes to a rental. Then the backseat becomes a giant garbage can.
Drivers, however, don't like any excess debris inside their race cars – ever – because anything not bolted down can become a distraction. Can you image a water bottle rolling around the floor under their feet? Not a good situation at 200 mph.
I am curious as to how NASCAR decides how many laps there are in a yellow caution … what determines the amount of laps that they need to say clear debris … why does it take 5 laps sometimes?
Once the track is cleaned up of whatever it needs to be cleaned up from, NASCAR then goes about determining the running order and getting the cars lined up correctly.
So, in the case of Kyle Busch's water bottle, which took all of about 15 seconds to clean up, the caution stayed out for two more laps – one for NASCAR to sort the field out and get them lined up correctly, the next to set up a fair restart.
This is known as a quickie caution, a close relative to the "TV caution" in which it takes 10 laps to clean a hot dog wrapper off the track while the broadcast partner crams in as many commercials as possible.
I just saw your video about whether NASCAR is playing fair and I have to ask: What does the phrase "Boys have at it" mean to you? I don't mean to sound smug (and yes I'm a Harvick fan), but warning a driver to stay away from another or to watch how he races around a specific driver doesn't sound like "Boys have at it" to me. I can't even fathom how you can justify this as fair.
NASCAR has never done this in the "Boys have at it" era, why now? And head games isn't an answer, it's a cop out. Every driver plays head games.
There are numerous interpretations of "Boys have at it," one of which is not do any freaking thing you want.
In his attempt to get inside Kyle Busch's head – have we talked about Kyle enough in this week's mailbag? – Harvick overplayed his hand and exposed himself as an instigator for no real reason, the no real reason being the salient point here.
NASCAR isn't opposed to letting drivers settle their scores when one needs to be settled. But in this case, Harvick was just being a bully. If NASCAR didn't step in, it would have been sending a message that anything goes.
My interpretation of "Boys have at it" is this: if someone wrongs you, go ahead and push back, but don't go picking fights.
The Brickyard is a boring race, but so are 90% of the races. NASCAR has oversaturated the Midwest races that are too close in proximity and in scheduling. 120,000 fans in a sport trying to keep itself relevant is nothing to sneeze at. NASCAR needs some good news for a change, not another debacle like Kentucky.
So, you're saying the Midwest is the new Southeast?
I'd argue that NASCAR hasn't so much oversaturated any particular area as it has oversaturated too many areas with cookie-cutter tracks. If one were different from another, would you go to both? But when they're not, why would you go to Atlanta when you can see a similar race in Charlotte? And instead of either selling out, are the two tracks splitting the fan base?
This is one of those topics that's not going away until the tracks are changed, which isn't happening for a long, long time.
Seems with all the tech support from Hendrick Motorsports, that it's clear that Jr. has lost all of his driving skills. All of Hendrick's other drivers are doing great!! Maybe it's time to drop Jr. and give all their support to the good drivers. What say??
Since Rick Hendrick went to four full-time cars in 2001, only three times has he placed as many as three cars in the top 10 and never all four. Only four times since he put together a top-notch lineup in 2001 has Jack Roush placed three drivers in the top 10 and only once, in 2005, has he had more than three in the Chase. And only once since going to three teams in 2005 has Joe Gibbs had all three in the top 10.
So it may not be so much Junior holding HMS back as it is difficult to field four title-contending teams. And besides, Junior may still make the Chase yet.