Kurt Busch Offers Solution To Inequities Of Recent Penalties
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – In the wake of the penalties issued this week for the late-lap crimes committed by Michael Waltrip Racing at Richmond on Saturday, there have been loud cries to not just put Ryan Newman into the Chase field, but to add Jeff Gordon as well.
Other people have thought it is not right that Martin Truex Jr. was eliminated from the Chase field to make room for Newman. They say he did nothing wrong.
But, of course, under NASCAR’s system of mathematics – which dictates that the Chase be comprised of 12 drivers – putting all those drivers into the playoff would be impossible.
During a stop at Kansas Speedway on Wednesday, Chase driver Kurt Busch had a solution: implement a new math.
“Why not does NASCAR throw in a bonus of 14 cars this year,” Busch said.
Why would that be a good thing, he was asked? The oldest reason in the world. Well, the second oldest reason – money.
“At the end of the day, this is all a sponsorship-driven world,” Busch said. “Why couldn’t we have NAPA in the Chase with Michael Waltrip Racing. Why couldn’t we have (Gordon’s sponsor) Exalto and DuPont in the Chase. There are huge bonuses. There are huge ramifications internally for the teams that don’t make the Chase.”
Busch also laid out a structure for a one-time expansion of the Chase.
“Two of them get penalized,” he said. “Such as the 15 car (of Clint Bowyer, the MWR driver who appeared to have spun on purpose to get teammate Truex into the Chase) and the 56 car (of Brian Vickers, who pitted late in the race to give Truex a better shot at a berth), who would not be able to win the championship but they would at least get to participate and call themselves Chase contenders.”
Obviously, that is not going to happen, Busch concedes.
Busch was asked if he thought the penalty that did happen represented justice.
Kind of, he said.
“In a perfect world,” Busch, the 2004 Sprint Cup champion who has taken one-car Colorado-based Furniture Row Racing to its first ever playoff this year, said, “could we have put Jeff Gordon back in the Chase just as Newman got in the Chase? I guess so. In an even more perfect world, would Carl Edwards (who won the race) have been black flagged for jumping the restart? That would have put us in Victory Lane. So NASCAR batted 33 percent there. They batted .333.
“I think they made the right call, NASCAR did. Michael Waltrip Racing will have a tough time winning the owners championship.
A lot of fans and media have tried to place what happened at Richmond, and the ensuing issuance of Chase-changing penalties, in a historical context. Some have said what happened at Richmond would just have been considered part of racing back in the day.
Busch, was asked about that. He laughed and said in the day it was “about what Gordon’s going to do to Bowyer later on. You just go and get your payback your own self. You cash that check your own self.”
He also said that the sport has changed in another way in recent years.
“The way I see our sport evolving,” Busch said, “is you have the social media side, you have the scanners, you have all of this information you can get. Track Scan, NASCAR.com. You have all of this information that the fans are privy to it now. NASCAR hasn’t evolved with the amount of information that the fans have. NASCAR should know what’s out there and officiate in a better way. The good old boy system needs to be updated.”
– Jim Pedley can be reached at email@example.com Comments