August 22, 2006

Edwards fined for hitting Earnhardt: About time someone had the guts to bust Earnhardt's bubble. I think NASCAR shows too much favortism toward certain drivers and teams, Earnhardt being one of them.

posted by usroute17 to auto racing at 06:33 PM - 33 comments

I agree that what Carl Edwards did was wrong, he lost his cool and acted inappropiatly. He was disciplined. Case closed. NOW, what about Dale Earnhardt Jr.? The master of all races, the man who is above all rules, the man who can break NASCAR'S aggressive driving rule by intetionally spinning a car out so he could win and not get punished. If anybody else did it, there would be fines and probations. When Earnhardt does it they call it "just racing". Such a double standard.

posted by Psycho at 09:03 PM on August 22, 2006

I don't like how NASCAR handles their rules & punishment. This is the reason I quit watching Nascar a few years back.

posted by jwhite613 at 09:14 PM on August 22, 2006

I think Dale Jr. is using his dads accident as a shield from the NASCAR officials and they're buying it. It's total bullshit!

posted by chicbrs756 at 09:25 PM on August 22, 2006

NASCAR is a farce with it's rules enforcement. I mean Formula One is run by idiots, but they're at least mostly consistent idiots. I think most racing series have their guy who is above the law. Earnhardt is NASCAR's Michael Schumacher. (Though his bubble is starting to burst.) Of course, Earnhardt hasn't fixed races, cheated etc...

posted by Drood at 11:03 PM on August 22, 2006

No, NASCAR does not dole out the punishment equally, I will agree, jwhite613. To say that "E" is using his father's death as a shield is a bit much, I think. Regardless of his last name, if he didn't have some talent, he wouldn't have a ride. I think even Theresa Earnhardt would let him go, stepson or not. If he does catch a break, that's right, that's racing. There is a difference between a bump and a "bump".

posted by steelergirl at 11:06 PM on August 22, 2006

One does not have to be a physicist to know that the "bump" at MIS was intentional. Oh yeah, I know what is said and it is the same bullshit each time, "I didn't mean to spin him." This time, however, Robby Gordon in the 88 car put the nose of the other Earnhardt car against the left rear of Edwards' car for the purpose of causing the air from Edwards' spoiler to push down on his, thus causing the rear of the 60 car to lift and lose rear downforce. We all know that the lack of rear downforce will allow the tail to get a little bit loose, just enough such that when Earnhardt "bumps" him the spin will occur. The incident as we saw it was a well executed, well coordinated event conducted by two people adequately talented to pull it off. I know of no racer and very few fans, even some quite casual ones, who don't know this, and essentially everyone in MIS knew what happened at the time. (Even the people at NASCAR are not so stupid that they didn't know it as well). Earnhardt's spin of Edwards was, therefore, coordinated by two members of a team who knew exactly what they were doing, exactly how to do it. In the real world, this would be a premeditated crime with malice in forethought, punishable by more than fining the victim who over reacted after the fact. Of course, NASCAR ain't the real world. Mears, I believe, summed it up quite well in that it makes "good TV." It is such good TV that NASCAR seems to want to pretend that it was "just racin'." And, I can assure you, had the same thing been done by almost any two other drivers, there would have been "Hell to pay" for the punishment. Go figure!

posted by Bud Lang at 01:54 AM on August 23, 2006

What Jr. done, he should have be fined. What Edwards done was down right idiotic. He almost took Jr's hand off when he t- boned him. And to drive into Jr's. pit area and into victory lane was pure dumbass thinking. I wish Nascar would have docked him points and docked the owner points. There was no reason for his immature actions.

posted by ptluigi at 05:17 AM on August 23, 2006

Well, I wouldn't exactly call it a t-bone. "Is it O.K. for you to win having bumped someone out of the way?" "We got a great core of fans but that probably divides it right down the middle." Huh? Answer the question Dale.

posted by MrFrisby at 06:21 AM on August 23, 2006

Amazing thoughts- I unlike some of you do not know if MIS was an accident or intentional. I have not driven a car 200mph like some of you so I don't know the effects of the air. For Earnhard and Gordon the coordinate that at that split second is simply amazing. But to the point, Earnhardt is treated the same as everyone. What he did, accident or intentional happens nearly every week. Not always for the win but it still happens. Should Dave Blaney be fined for hitting #8 on straight away a Pocono? How about Stewart flat out turning sideways into Kenesth and Boyer. How about Gordon at Chicago. Where were the fines and suspensions for those incidents, most were far more obvious than the MIS incident

posted by Flip at 06:34 AM on August 23, 2006

I agree with you flip you guys act like this doesnt happen all the time you just wait for the person that does it that you want to exploit. So the hit was intentinal what do you think happens when you have a faster car that has a run up top and the guy in front of you jumps up in your line??? do you expect him to just stop on the last lap.

posted by jon382005 at 07:00 AM on August 23, 2006

I also agree with you Jon & Flip, I can't remember the last race when someone didn't complain about being "run-over" by another driver. Especially when the race in in the last few few laps NO ONE including Carl Edwards is going to lift if another driver gets a lil squirley in front of them, if Jr. had lifted he would have ended up getting into Edwards anyway's and probably would have taken them both out. I'm not an Edwards hater, or a Jr. lover, but "incidental" contact is the norm nowadays, more so on restrictor tracks and short tracks, but there is no reason to take out your aggression on-track. Edwards should have had points taken away, if not for the hit he put on Jr. for going into victory lane and confronting him. I also can't remember the last time I've seen that happen, but it's been years. NASCAR didn't hesitate to take points from Jr. when he said "shit" on camera, and those words didn't near the effect that Edwards could have made if he would have seriously injured another driver by pulling a stupid stunt. One thing is for sure, we haven't heard the last of this event, after all, Bristol is coming up......

posted by ImissDAVEYnAlan at 08:42 AM on August 23, 2006

Earnhardt needs a little of the mean streak his old man posessed to truly be taken serious as major force, I think. He has largely underachieved the last two seaons, and it is apparent that, because of his large fan base, NASCAR would like to see him do well, or, at the very least, have him in the season ending Chase this year. Maybe the villains role will serve Little E better than the nice guy personna he currently has...

posted by mjkredliner at 09:22 AM on August 23, 2006

Bristol and Talladega, the 2 best tracks, imo.

posted by ptluigi at 09:25 AM on August 23, 2006

NASCAR had better do something about Edwards. He needs to learn that when he gets upset he can't use his car as a weapon. This is not the first time he has done it. I am not a stewart fan in the least, but he also spun stewart going into the pits a while back in retaliation. That was after NASCAR had already punished stewart by black flagging him. Once again I am not defending stewart or his actions, but he was already black flagged for his actions. Then along comes Edwards and spins him on pit road. It is a car, not a toy Carl.

posted by jojomfd1 at 09:52 AM on August 23, 2006

I think the real problem is blocking. They need to have a policy that it's either never allowed or it's always allowed. In other words, they need to either state that a leading car may always slide over to cut off a faster challenger and the challenger's only option is to use skill and the extra speed to pass cleanly (fake high, then go around low, or whatever), or that it's never allowed to cut off a faster car to prevent a pass (if a driver behind you has gotten on a better line, and he and his team have got his car in better working order than yours, you cannot weave all over the track to stay in front of him). Any area in between, and you're going to have arguements about who's at fault every time an incident like this happens.

posted by ctal1999 at 10:12 AM on August 23, 2006

I am looking forward to the Earnhardt/Edwards friendship at Bristol. I LOVE Bristol. If you can't drive, Bristol turns into a demo derby. I don't think Edward will do it, but someone will put Earnhardt into the wall. I don't think Edwards will fair real well either. He has to play nice, he is on probation

posted by Psycho at 10:30 AM on August 23, 2006

Wow, Bud Lang. Do you know who killed Kennedy to. If Jr. and Gordon could plan and execute this in the nano-second it took to unfold, wow they are far better then I thought. What really happened was that three very competitve drivers were going for the win on the last lap and shit happens. I have followed this sport for a long time and this is what used to be expected from drivers. On the last lap you give no quarter. Think back to the very first Daytona 500 on CBS. Bobby , Donny and Cale getting together on the back stretch to talk over what happened. People who have just started following the sport (i.e. the last five to ten years)are seeing a watered down version of what NASCAR used to be. It used to be a sport where the weak had no chance. Guys like Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Robbie Gordon would have done fine in days gone by. However guys like JR. and Carl Edwards would have gotten their asses kicked every week. I watched the race and from what I saw from the replays is Edwards lost the back end of his car and slowed. That was when Jr. got into him and spun him. You can bet your ass if it had been Sr. behind him the same thing would have happened. However if it had been Sr. behind him he would have just flat out run over him. As for Edwards actions after the race, come on Carl, be a man. Go to the garage and kick Jr's as if ya think he did ya wrong.

posted by CB900 at 11:47 AM on August 23, 2006

This is interesting to me. I don't follow NASCAR but it's clearly a situation where "fouls" are *much* more dangerous than in football or basketball, to the point of requiring a different rule set for handling such occurances. Based on only the briefest of google searches I'm finding mostly car construction rules and regulations as far as official rules are concerned. I'd appreciate if anyone with more knowledge would chime in/give me a link to rules regarding driving behavior. Furthermore, in pretty much all sports there are clear strategic reasons for comitting fouls - even though basketball attempts to curb the violence with their intentional foul rules - and I'm a novice at this but it seems pretty clear the same rules apply in NASCAR. Can anyone weigh in/give me a link to the "hard foul" parallel to other sports in NASCAR competition?

posted by chmurray at 01:44 PM on August 23, 2006

My concern is that it's become acceptable for the second-best car to wreck the best one, and that's not why I watch. I want to see the best car win, not the car with the ability to get its bumper under the leader for a split second. Unfortunately, it seems increasingly likely that NASCAR's refusal to penalize any driver for this sort of "win" is going to result in serious injury or death.

posted by mr_crash_davis at 01:52 PM on August 23, 2006

Yes, it is possible to get close enough to a car to take away its "air" (to break the slipstream of air over the car) just see a film of what happened to Davey Allison at Pocono in "92. Darell Waltrip came up on his left rear corner, did NOT hit him, and you can just watch that corner lift and Davey went end or end, side over side for a really horrifying crash. And no, he didn't "walk away." Did E and Gordon plan this, who knows? But teams do work together, so it is possible. I agree with you, Jon, Flip and ImissDAVEYnalan, (great name BTW!) cb900, you are correct, if daddy had been in E's position, the same thing would have happened. They have watered down NASCAR to the point of mediocrety(sp) and it has gotten much worse since Nextel took over. mjkredliner, I agree with you for once, E needs to kick out the jams and drive like I know he can. BTW, none of the Earnhardt childern had anything "handed to them." If his kids wanted to race, Dale made them get their own car, do their own upkeep, and earn the money to do all of the above. When he saw that they could do it on their own, then he did help them. But he made sure they knew what hard work was. You can read about this in any indepth article about him or his biography. And what Carl Edwards did was just wrong! Doesn't matter who the other driver was or what they did.

posted by steelergirl at 05:44 PM on August 23, 2006

Crash, you're making the mistake of linking "leader" and "best car". As often as not, that's not the case, especially late in races. Guys end up in the lead for any number of reasons. They stay out when others pit, or change two tires when everyone else changes four, etc., which gets them up front, but not because they have the best car. A lot of these instances occur when the better car is repeatedly cut off by a slower leader. Eventually, the trailing driver decides the only way around is to get the leader loose. The leader ends up fishtailing and drops back in the pack, or hits the wall or other cars. Regardless, the guy who started it all ends up out front. That's why I said earlier that NASCAR needs to set a black and white policy that either says that a slower car cannot continually cut in front of a faster one to avoid a pass, or that a faster challenger must find a way to get around a slower car cleanly. Any gray area, like there is now, and we'll continue to see these "bumps" with each team blaming the other.

posted by ctal1999 at 05:53 PM on August 23, 2006

You had a great response CB900 and I cannot argue any point of it. I do, however, need to allow you to understand that a couple of laps under caution is not done in a nano-second. Furthermore, the two Earnhardt cars were not faster than Edwards but could "take him out" on a restart if and only if they could do what they did when they did it. And, yes to the rest of you, Stewart, Gordon, et al, have done the same and have suffered the same result and the same lack of punishment. That does not make it either good or fair. It does not make it right. And, drivers have been punished for the takeout on the last lap or two; Ricky Rudd. He should not be the last one. Also, ctal1999, Edwards did not just "get loose" and was the fastest car, and it was a planned and well executed take-out instead of a "bump." In the scenario that you presented, even Dale Sr. would take out another car. This is not an issue but is a fact, but Sr. would never do what his son did. "It ain't racin'," and I wish he were here to tell us that. By the way, those of you who think I am full of shit may be close to correct, but I have bumped and been bumped more than enough times to know how it is done regardless of who does it. Oh yeah, the last car that I hauled to Bristol Speedway was built by me, owned by me, driven by me and brought home by me and sold to some guy named Allison from Hueytown, Alabama.

posted by Bud Lang at 07:42 PM on August 23, 2006

It used to be a sport where the weak had no chance. Seems to me in the old days, any car had a chance to win on any given weekend. Even the independents with little or no sponsorship. Even guys like Dave Marcus had a chance in the old days. Today, what chance do independents have of winning? Basically, none. Favoritism has taken over NASCAR. Guys like Jeffy, Dale, & Jimmy can get away with quite a bit more than the Michael Waltrips, Robby Gordons, Scott Wimmers, etc. Mike Helton came out a few years back and said NASCAR is about "Entertainment". Gee, what happened to Racing? Does that happen any more? Looks to me like it's become one big IROC (due to one common template) follow-the-leader roundy round.

posted by usroute17 at 08:06 PM on August 23, 2006

Mike Helton came out a few years back and said NASCAR is about "Entertainment". Ge, what happened to Racing? Racing IS about entertainment. The guys who do it, do it because they love it, and before they made it to the big time most did it out of their own pockets as their form of entertainment. The people who go to the races are spending their entertainment dollars to see a race, and there by be entertained. I have over the last few years met a lot of people who are very knowledgeable about NASCAR, but know very little about racing. NASCAR has done a masterful job of marketing their product and have expanded their fan base ten fold. However there is alot more racing then just NASCAR. And that is where the fun starts. A lot of people who drive to Daytona or INDY for a race, don't know there is great racing every weekend in their own back yard. While this may be new to some of you, it goes on at every dirt track and dust bowl every weekend all race season.

posted by CB900 at 11:32 PM on August 23, 2006

Bud Lang, you're right. I wasn't clear enough. I wasn't referring to this incident, but to mr_crash_davis' comment about this type of incident in general. The scenario I laid out isn't always the case, but it is very often. His comment made it sound like it's always slower guys getting an opportunity to wreck a faster car, and that's just not the case. I still say that they need a much clearer rule for these situations.

posted by ctal1999 at 10:41 AM on August 24, 2006

"His comment made it sound like it's always slower guys getting an opportunity to wreck a faster car, and that's just not the case. " My intent was to say this: If the car running in second is faster, then he needs to pass, not wreck the first-place car. NASCAR's indifference to guys wrecking the leader instead of trying to pass is creating an ugly situation.

posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:09 AM on August 24, 2006

My intent was to say this: If the car in second is faster, then he needs to pass, not wreck the first place car. Just how would you go about doing this? You have three or four cars running nose to tail and side by side, how do you stop one car from taking the air off another. NASCAR is not willing to take the steps that would solve the real problem. Insted they are going to come out with a kit car and make everyone drive it. If NASCAR would just mandate a smaller motor with bigger carburetors, the cars would regain throttle response while still running at a slower speeds. Then some of the spoiler and other down force rules could be changed so the cars are more stable in traffic. If the cars still ran to fast, all that they would have to do lower the compression. The main reason for not doing this? Sound, the cars would not sound the same. A small block motor turned at the same rpm's would have a higher pitch and not the rumble they have now.

posted by CB900 at 12:54 PM on August 24, 2006

I'm a huge race fan. But one thing I do Hate about NASCAR is the blind loyalty that fans of certain teams aspire to. Face it Johnson's team cheats, Gordon, Stewart, Dale Jr, Busch, and damn near every other driver will spin someone with victory in sight. Every driver gets pissed at times and all/most retailiate when the opportunity arises. Who should be fined? All of those who do stupid moves and endanger the lives of others. Anyone who sits back and blames "everyone but mine", is a lemming that only see's things from one perspective. Grow up and watch the race. It's great to be a fan.... but at least be honest with yourself.

posted by BSUJIM at 01:05 PM on August 24, 2006

While this may be new to some of you, it goes on at every dirt track and dust bowl every weekend all race season. I agree there. If I want to see real racing, I'll head to the local track.

posted by usroute17 at 06:26 PM on August 24, 2006

mr_crash_davis: If the car running in second is faster, then he needs to pass, not wreck the first place car. I see where you're coming from, and I'm tempted to agree, but I don't see it as realistic. One option I proposed earlier was to mandate exactly that. The rule would state that the trailing driver MUST pass cleanly. Only problem is that it's damned near impossible to pull off a pass on a car that's 95% as good as yours (even if you're not in traffic), if the other driver is allowed to continually cut you off. That means the leader can't run quite as fast or on quite as tight a line, but he's close enough to be able to slide in front of the challenger every time he makes a run. The challenger ends up frustrated, and his spotter is telling him that the rest of the pack is catching up while he's busy dueling with the leader. He eventually gets to the point where it's either get around right now or end up surrounded by slower cars. Right now, the most common response is to get the leader loose enough to get by him (which may wreck him or just spin or fishtail him). If you want to make that illegal, which NASCAR could do, you'll have two problems. One, where do you draw the line? Does the trailing driver actually have to bump the leader, or just get into position to change air flow enough to loosen up the leader's back end? Two, you'll see a lot more cars blocking aggressively if they know they're allowed to weave in front of the challengers continuously with impunity. It would be easier to tell the drivers that they aren't allowed to block a faster car. Either outrun them, or get out of the way. Of course, there're downsides to that approach, too.

posted by ctal1999 at 07:00 PM on August 24, 2006

As I said before, the answer is to change the motor specs. to to give the cars more throttle response. Had Edwards been able to put his foot down and power out of the slide he would not have gotten hit by Jr.. The problem is people want to see these big packs of twenty or thirty cars running inchs apart. NASCAR gives this to there fans by making sure no one car can pull away from the rest of the pack. Days gone by it was not unusual for ten or less cars to finish on the lead lap.Now unless a car has a problem or a penalty, all the cars finish on the lead lap. The only thing left for drivers to do when they get loose is to lift off the gas and hope to catch the car with steering. As soon as the driver lifts, the car that is just five inches behind him is going to catch up real quick. Yea the drivers get pissed about it, but who is really to blame. Three cars running that close, a lap or two to go, how long do you think the driver that lifts is going to kep his job?

posted by CB900 at 11:37 PM on August 24, 2006

Lots of valid points CB. I think it's safe to say that you have more set up knowledge than I do. If there's a mechanical fix to this problem, I'd be all for it (even if the cars did end up sounding more like open wheelers).

posted by ctal1999 at 12:01 AM on August 25, 2006

NASCAR has turned into a more grand version of IROC. In their attempt to make all cars "suppossedly equal", NASCAR has become more interested in the fans and the bottom line and somehow has forgotten the driver and crew.

posted by usroute17 at 09:04 PM on August 25, 2006

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