Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I walk the (yellow) line

Great win by Kyle Busch over the weekend. Too bad he cheated.

With 5 laps to go at Talladega, Busch dove underneath Jimmie Johnson and his tires went below the yellow line. Great move, but it’s a clear violation of NASCAR rules at restrictor plate tracks. The FOX commentators suggested he was forced below the line, which may be an acceptable excuse. But I find that highly doubtful.

It’s very simple: He went low to make the pass, Johnson didn't give him any room and Busch continued below the yellow line anyway. He could have backed off and made another run at it. NASCAR should have black flagged him. If you don’t believe me, see for yourself at about 1 minute 25 seconds into the video clip.

When NASCAR officials first formulated the yellow line rule in 2001, they had a zero tolerance policy. I would suggest it was too strict at the time, but they were fair by punishing everyone. Remember when Tony Stewart was pushed below the yellow line at the 2001 Pepsi 400? He argued he was forced below and defiantly finished the race anyway. NASCAR disqualified his finishing position and dropped him to the last spot on the lead lap. Then he punched a photographer.

Now, the yellow line rule rarely is exercised because drivers have learned to keep their cars on the racing groove. But every so often you have a driver who bends the rules. And he should be punished accordingly.

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