NASCAR got it right during scoring fiasco at Martinsville
I thought Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway was a pretty darn good race. There’s really nothing I can point to and say I didn’t like.
Mother Nature graced us with unbelievable weather. The grandstands were full and we also saw some very hard racing.
And on top of that, we saw two of the masters of Martinsville, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin, beating and banging on each other. I think that is something we’ve all been pretty thirsty for, especially at a place like Martinsville.
Not that they have to prove anything, but Jimmie, crew chief Chad Knaus and the entire No. 48 team continue to prove how and why they have won 79 races and six championships. They had plenty of occasions on Sunday where they could have imploded with some of the hands they were dealt. They simply remained calm, kept their poise and at the end of the afternoon, Jimmie got his ninth grandfather clock.
I’ve told you this a few times over the last couple weeks that I am not too proud to admit that I didn’t have Jimmie making it into the championship bracket. And I’ll take that a step further.
I didn’t even have the No. 48 moving past the Round of 12. Naturally, I have now torn up my 2016 Chase bracket and thrown it in the trash! I mean really, I should have known better but I was basing everything on their performance, or aptly, their lack of performance over the summer months. Now here he stands on the threshold of his seventh championship.
The one thing that occurred during Sunday’s race is something I am going to stand in NASCAR’s corner for, and of course, I’m talking about the length caution period due to scoring issues. The competitors, teams, fans and even NASCAR officials want to sit through 29 laps of caution while they try and sort the field out.
Even though Mother Nature was cooperative, NASCAR absolutely had the perfect storm. We were at the smallest track we go to, which is basically a conveyor belt of race cars. We only had one or two cars out of the race, so there were still 38 or 39 cars out there on the track. You were in the middle of green flag pit stops and a caution comes out.
The waters got muddy with three cars that had not come down pit road. Then it got even muddier when A.J. Allmendinger ran out of fuel and hit pit road before is was open. And let’s not forget, you had a car on the backstretch that wasn’t running when Jimmie ran out of fuel.
The thing I want to be sure to do is applaud NASCAR for getting it right. Now sure, there may have been one or two guys that were multiple laps down that weren’t exactly in the right spot, but across the board, NASCAR got it right.
I think NASCAR continues to learn from experience. Honestly if they had to do it over again, I would wager they would have red-flagged the race.
The bottom line is NASCAR got it right. And I think it’s a safe bet that 90 percent of the competition feels the same way.