Woody: Pothole Whiners Should Put A Plug In It
Larry Woody | Senior Writer
We saw one of the most dramatic Daytona 500s in history last Sunday.
Close racing. A flurry of lead changes. Big pileups. A dramatic late rally by Dale Jr. An emotion-charged victory by charismatic young racer Jamie McMurray. A dramatic finish made possible by a radical new multiple-restart rule that will revolutionize the entire sport
So what have some pundits been jabbering about ever since?
A patch of asphalt came loose on the track and NASCAR had to stop the race to repair it. It came loose again, and again the race had to be interrupted.
There was a lengthy delay. So what? Unless you had a plane to catch, what’s the big deal? The Super Bowl had a halftime that seemed that long.
Granted it was inconvenient for fans who faced a long drive home that night, but they know a delay is possible any time they buy a ticket. Sometimes it’s rain. Sometimes it’s wrecks. Sometimes it’s a pothole.
I’m sure there were some viewers who got bored watching the pothole repairs, drifted away to old Andy Griffith re-runs, and didn’t come back. That’s their loss. They missed a heckuva ending.
Maybe it’s a sign of the times, but it seems that some folks have to find somebody to blame for everything bad that happens. It can’t simply be an accident or an act of nature. It has to be somebody’s fault. The fall guy in this case seems to be NASCAR.
I don’t get it. Is NASCAR supposed to be able to predict potholes?
NASCAR didn’t like the interruption any more than the fans in the stands or the viewers on the sofa. But I don’t see how it could have prevented it. If NASCAR can come up with a way to predict and prevent axle-busting potholes before they occur, I hope they sell their secret to the road crews in my town.
Sometimes NASCAR deserves blame for snafu’s and foul-ups. A classic example is the tire fiasco that occurred a couple of years ago in the Brickyard 400 when cars couldn’t run a dozen laps without a blowout.
Because the tires wouldn’t roll, heads should have. The blame began with Goodyear and stopped on the desk of NASCAR. It was NASCAR’s responsibility to make sure the tire people had done their jobs before the race started.
NASCAR deserved the heat it took for the Brickyard goof. But it doesn’t deserve blame for the asphalt problems at Daytona.
NASCAR can be an easy target and sometimes people can’t resist taking shots. I’ve popped off a few myself over the years when I thought they were deserved. But in general I think the folks in the big paneled office at Daytona do a good job. NASCAR deserves credit for its continued emphasis on safety, and more recently for dynamic rule changes designed to spice up the racing – at fans’ request.
My theory is that Digger was responsible for the hole in the track at Daytona. That makes as much sense as blaming it on NASCAR.
The simple fact is, nobody was to blame.
In racing, as in life, potholes happen.
– Larry Woody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments