Monday, June 14, 2010

Debris or Not Debris? That Is the Question

The most interesting part of Sunday's race was what did or maybe didn't happen.

With Denny Hamlin running away to victory, NASCAR officials threw a late-race yellow flag for debris. Hamlin still managed to cruise to Victory Lane. And  he then proceeded to give fodder to conspiracy theorists who have long claimed NASCAR uses the "phantom debris" caution all too often to liven things up.

So was there or wasn't there debris on the Michigan track Sunday?

"I understand this is show business," Hamlin said. "I didn't see any debris, if that's what you're asking. I mean, we typically get (a debris caution) every single week. I'm not going to say it's accepted, but what can you do?"


Kasey Kahne said he did see the debris in question, and so did some fans watching Race Buddy.  Others aren't so sure.

Which begs the bigger question - if NASCAR does indeed indulge in the occasional fake caution, is that a good thing or a bad thing for the sport?

Bloggers and fans are divided.  While the Heluva Good! 400 (other than a pseduo-feud between Scott Speed and temp teammate Casey Mears) was a little lackluster and needed some livening up, purists decry anything that makes the sport phony. 

Looks like Logano/Harvick get a pass this week.  The spotlight is now on "Jacques Debris."


  1. I can't beleive you are even asking this question. Maybe the question should be, is Nascar a sport or entertainment? If its a sport, its absolutley unacceptable to control the finish of races with phony debris cautions. If its entertainment and they want to minipulate finishes, then they will need to recruit a whole new different fan base (try wrestling fans) because most race fans will leave this sport behind and not come back.

  2. These debris cautions are nothing more than NA$CAR selling more commercial time, no matter if it changes the outcome of the race or not.

  3. The Day the Dunces In Daytona Beach decided NASCAR was "entertainment" rather than a sanctioning body is when this sport went down the toilet. NASCAR sanctions races and ISC owns race tracks and that's what they should stick to. The racers and competitors are the entertainers. So now NASCAR owns the tracks the dates the CoT the inspection process the TV the winner's circle the race the weather the ads the merchandise and on and on. So there's not an inherent conflict of interest in all that? NASCAR hasn't run a clean race in years. Fixing races? No. Changing the outcome? You bet. Many days at the race track the outcome is changed by a fake caution. No conspiracy theory needed. IT HAPPENS. And don't they know their core fans detest that? 'The core fan will be there no matter what' they might say. Maybe. But for me, a core fan for nearly 50 years, I don't turn on the TV for the pre-race & I mute it often, I don't buy merchandise or race tickets now (and I would NEVER buy their overpriced Americrown Amerislop), I don't watch every race, and I dont watch all of any race. So by taking me for granted and doing these goofy things and catering to casual fans and the 18-34 crowd, they have essentially said they don't need me. But now, and this hasn't nearly always been the case, now I can say I don't need them. And without that strong and older fan base, NASCAR is gonna be like IndyCar and Golf in TV ratings. It's just around the corner guys. And it's guys like me that have told them so the last 5-7 years. And The Chase ain't my problem. Doesn't bother me. It may be a good thing. It's all these other goofy things The Boobs at The Beach have done that drive me away.

  4. Let me say this. I used to work at a track on a safety crew. I wont say that NASCAR has debris cautions for nothing, but they will and DID tell all the safety crews and officials on their radios to take a look around the track for any type of debris when the race had a long green flag run. If someone sees 'something' out comes the yellow.

  5. I think that NASCAR has an obligation to investigate whether or not there is debris on the track at all times. When someone is running away with the race, they probably look a little harder and throw the caution quicker -- instead of waiting to determine if a piece of debris is worth a caution.

    For example, if someone has a five second lead in the closing laps, we might see a caution for a piece of tape or something light and plastic on the track because NASCAR threw it quicker than they would have early in the race.

    I don't think NASCAR would throw a caution for no reason, considering it is relatively easy for fans to know, what with TV cameras and fans at the track.