The Non-Race at Talladega and Team Orders

The twice a year non-race was held at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, sort of like the non-races held twice a year at Daytona. This bastardization of what stock car racing is all about is about 25 years old and in all that time, no solution has been found for the restrictor plate, the device that robs cars of horsepower and allows the nonsense that lately has two cars working in tandem so they can go faster. Those that refuse to pair up go to the back. Just ask Denny Hamlin. The poor guy didn’t have a partner and until he found one, he was dead in the water. Is this really racing?

[media-credit name=”Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR” align=”alignright” width=”246″][/media-credit]I used to gripe about the long lines that restrictor plate racing brought to the table, but this is worse. It is apparent that nearly everyone had secured a “dancing partner” before the race along with orders to go along with it. Teammates with teammates make a lot of sense. It wasn’t too long ago that Jeff Gordon said, and I reported it, that he was going to work with his teammates and that included Tony Stewart. Everyone knows that Hendrick Motorsports supplies cars for Stewart-Haas Racing, so it was surprising that so much controversy when Trevor Bayne was asked to desert Hendrick Motorsports’ Jeff Gordon in the closing laps of the race. It seems that young Bayne doesn’t really understand how the system works. There’s a championship on the line and helping a competitor, especially pushing him is not accepted.

It’s a shame that it has to come to this, but it has. The monster that has been created rests with antiquated thinking. There probably is a solution, but it’s too easy to ignore what could be done and go along with what has already been done. Maybe it’s the cars. Maybe it’s the tracks. Maybe it’s something else, I don’t know. What I do know is that people love this kind of racing, or at least I thought they did. From the looks of the empty seats at Talladega on Sunday, I’m not so sure.

I blame Jeff Gordon for taking advantage of a young man who may not understand how the system works. It’s especially upsetting to me that he took advantage of that young man. I can just read the comments from fans who want to talk about “mean old Jack Roush ordering young Trevor around,” and not remembering that most of the teams were doing the same thing. I’m sure it was upsetting to Bayne, but he is going to find the same thing all around the garage as long as this kind of racing is permitted. It’s also telling that Gordon admitted as much earlier this year.

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I really cannot wait until this weekend when we go back to real racing. Martinsville has true racing as it was meant to be. There may be team orders, but not to the extent we saw Sunday. I’m going to be frank and admit that I do not know the answer to this problem. My only hope is that we somehow and someday do come up with an answer that will let every competitor race for himself or herself and not have to worry about teammates and what they’re doing. It’s just insane.

5 COMMENTS

  1. One more thing, all this crying about Ford and Jack Roush. I seem to remember year ago Richard Childress putting an extra car in the field because Earnhardt would win the championship if did not finish last and low and behold if that car did not park to allow Earnhardt to win.

    Gordon was denied nothing, nowhere does it say someone had to bump draft him. If anything it would be stupid of Roush and Ford to allow their drivers to help Chevrolet or Toyota.

    It was also Jeff Gordon after the first race with the two car draft who pushed to only work with Hendrick cars giving him 6 cars to work with. Now poor little Jeff Gordon wants to cry because he ran out of team mates?

    To bad so sad.

  2. The answer is real easy. You want the drivers to do the racing right?

    Simple, make a rule “NO BUMP DRAFTING” if you bump draft you get black flagged, both the car pushing and the car being pushed. You sit in your pit box for two laps. Get caught a second time and both cars sit in the pits for five laps, the third time you are caught you are parked for the remainder of the race.

    Make the drivers have to drive. This two car crap is a total joke. You eliminate half the field from contending for the win at the drop of the green flag. No one wants to watch this just look at the empty seats.

  3. Here Here!! Team orders, boring racing… I may as well have been watching F1. NASCAR, this was not “competition” Please Fix It… No the 88 does not always have to win, but make more than 30 laps competitive.

  4. Question..did Paul Menard sandbag during last restart and not push Stewart…or was it a bad restart for one of them? They were in position to at least finish 3rd and 4th??? More team orders from RCR?

  5. Amen brother. Although I can’t agree with the Gordon comment. You use what’s there. Roush cost Bayne a possible win and surely a top 5.

    If they don’t change something, they can put magnet systems and robots in the drivers seat. No thinking, no talent needed.

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