NASCAR’s 3 Most Cringe-Worthy Decisions (or Non-Decisions) of 2022
NASCAR officials and managers are like everyone else: they are human beings who don’t do everything right all the time and are therefore prone to making mistakes, big and small.
While NASCAR has certainly made some good decisions in 2022, other actions by the sanctioning body have had their heads scratching and wondering how it was really going.
In the next few minutes, we’ll look at three situations where NASCAR completely dropped the ball last season – and how those lapses in judgment marred what was, in many ways, one of the best seasons in NASCAR history. sport.
NASCAR handily laid its biggest egg of 2022 by dragging its proverbial feet to address safety issues with the Next Generation Cup Series car that debuted at the start of the season.
Due to NASCAR’s slow response, three drivers – Kurt Busch, Alex Bowman and Cody Ware – suffered injuries that could have been avoided with quicker decision-making from the sanctioning body.
Two of those injuries were concussions suffered by Busch and Bowman after each of the two drivers backed into the wall at high speed, ultimately forcing them to miss several races as concussion-like symptoms persisted.
After five weeks away, Bowman was fortunately able to return for the season finale in Phoenix, but Busch was not so lucky. the 2004 Cup Series champion missed the final 16 races of the season and in mid-October announced his retirement from full-time racing due to the lingering effects of the concussion he suffered during a qualifying crash at Pocono in July.
As you hear Andy Petree say in this interview when he talks about the industry “I don’t know about pilots” is very telling as to who has a say in these processes. NASCAR and the teams. #pick up the beat https://t.co/AQCb1DG8Mr
— Kevin Harvick (@KevinHarvick) September 30, 2022
But despite losing two of its best-known drivers to injuries and facing mounting criticism over driver safety from Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and others, NASCAR has sat on its hands. and did nothing tangible to address the concerns until it crash tested at an undisclosed location. Place in Ohio the first week of October. NASCAR then convened a closed meeting of all Cup Series drivers a few days later to reveal its crash test results and discuss some off-season changes to the Next Gen car’s bumper design, in the purpose of making pilots less inclined. concussions from rear impacts.
By the time NASCAR announced the plan, however, several drivers had already suffered injuries that could have been avoided had the sanctioning body simply acted faster or been more thorough in its initial testing of the next-gen car. .
NASCAR ruined everything at the end of the All-Star Race
For the second year in a row, the All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway was a true encore of a contest as the drivers struggled to pass and the field spent most of the event very scattered, creating a very dull on-track product that hardly anyone watching on TV or in the stands could enjoy.
However, unlike 2021, NASCAR took liberties to spice up the show a bit by throwing an unnecessary warning flag just a second before Ryan Blaney crossed the finish line to take the checkered flag and victory. Thinking the race was over, Blaney dropped his window net – only to be informed by his crew moments later that the race was under caution and a green and white checkered finish was imminent.
Unwilling to give up the lead to come onto pit road and have his crew re-up his window net, Blaney opted to re-attach the window net himself – while driving down the track with caution. With the window net barely snagged and unsecured despite Blaney’s best efforts, the Team Penske driver could have been seriously injured had he been involved in an accident as the race restarted.
Should never have been a yellow in the first place. They put Blaney in the situation he was in. To make up for that, they let him break a rule. 2 wrongs do not make a right.
Blaney W, NASCAR L
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) May 23, 2022
But, thankfully, Blaney was able to hold on to the win without incident, and NASCAR avoided the inevitable public relations disaster that would have followed if things had gone terribly wrong for the race leader.
For the record, NASCAR spokesman Scott Miller actually admitted after the race that NASCAR threw up the final warning flag in a hurry. Translation: The sanctioning body was trying to manufacture a close finish on a night when the race had been downright dismal. Talk about a bad look for sports. It doesn’t get any worse than that.
NASCAR was far too slow to wave the warning flag when rain fell at Daytona in August
Almost as blatant as NASCAR’s decision to throw a warning flag on the scheduled final lap of the All-Star Race was its decision not to wave yellow when rain began to hit the track during the final of the Cup Series regular season at Daytona.
By the time NASCAR finally displayed the warning flag at Daytona, the rain had been pouring for more than 30 seconds, leading to a massive multi-car crash when many cars lost traction at around the same time due to of the wet running surface. .
Thanks to NASCAR waiting too long to wave the flag of caution, a number of drivers who had cars capable of fighting for victory saw their day end prematurely.
Like the situation in Texas earlier in the season, what happened in Daytona at the end of August was not a good preview of the sport, but unlike Texas – where no one ultimately suffered because of the poor grip of NASCAR’s decision – failure to act at Daytona cost a lot of teams a lot of money to fix race cars that might otherwise have made it to the checkered flag unscathed.