NASCAR

Ward Burton waits for ride; Newman penalized for waiting on track

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Larry McReynolds

Larry McReynolds has more than 30 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, Daytona 500-winning crew chief and broadcaster. He earned 23 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, including two victories in the prestigious Daytona 500, as well as a pair of non-points victories in the annual all-star race. Follow him on Twitter.

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Jeff from Beaumont, Texas: COULDN'T AGREE MORE WITH YOU ON THE EMOTION PENALTIES AND HARVICK. I like "Happy," but Kurt Busch is a champion and deserves a little respect. Any word, any hope at all, rumor even, that Ward Burton will ever drive in NASCAR again? Or is it time for Ward Burton fans to "turn out the lights, the party's over?" Larry McReynolds: Two solid racecar drivers and family people who have won Nextel Cup and Busch races are unfortunately on the sidelines right now: Ward Burton and Ricky Craven. I hate it for both of them. Never say never. You don't know what might come to fruition, but I don't see anything even being rumored about either one of those guys. Obviously, as we know with our sport, age doesn't work to a driver's advantage. It's unfortunate, but it's a fact of life. Someone may hire them for a Busch or Truck ride. God forbid a Nextel Cup driver gets injured, but Burton or Craven might be able to fill in for that driver. That's what happened to Mike Skinner and Joe Nemechek in 2003 when they filled in for Jerry Nadeau.

I want to follow up all of the e-mails that I received about Jeff Gordon's fine. Darrell Waltrip put it best on Sunday's broadcast. NASCAR was consistent, and one of my gripes over the years has been the sanctioning body's inconsistency so, in a small way, I applaud that part of the ruling. But I just don't want NASCAR to let the emotion get away from our sport. It's tough because we don't want hockey brawls to start breaking out, but if a guy wants to show some emotion short of hitting somebody with a fist or driving into the side of somebody with a racecar, it's not bad for our sport. It's much more detrimental not to let these guys have emotion and show feeling. I felt a little better with my decision to criticize the ruling when Matt Kenseth said he didn't think Gordon should have been fined. Whether fans and other drivers agreed with me or disagreed with me, it almost sounds like the man that he pushed did agree with me.

Speed Mail Larry

Making your luck

Debbie from Middletown, Ohio: Can you explain to me how NASCAR determined that Ryan Newman intentionally caused his own flat tire and penalized him a lap? Larry McReynolds: Newman didn't get penalized for causing his own flat tire. He got penalized for stopping on the racetrack until the caution flag waved. When the caution came out, he started moving. He had two options that would have kept him out of trouble. He could have kept moving, gone to pit road and changed the tire. Under green-flag racing, it would have put him three or four laps down, or he could have stayed still even after the caution came out. Drivers might get by with that move every once in a while. Don't blame him for trying it because they still were ahead of the game. If he kept going, limped to pit road under green, came down pit road at 30 mph and changed two tires, he would have been three or four laps down. Even though they got penalized, they still took the better of two evils.


FOX race analyst Larry McReynolds has more than 25 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, crew chief and broadcaster. He and his fellow Crew Chief Club members take you behind the wall at www.crewchiefclub.com.

"How to Become a Winning Crew Chief" is on bookstore shelves, or you may order your own autographed copy from www.DWStore.com.

Tagged: Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman

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