Note: This was originally posted June 10, 2007.
Is there a conspiracy here? Did Jeff Gordon and Steve Letart command the rain gods today? Does Nascar control the weather? I've seen all these opinions thrown around on the racing message boards today, and I have to say No, Nascar does not control the weather.
Nascar does control when the caution flag is thrown though.
After endless minutes spent watching drivers such as Robby Gordon and Jimmie Johnson drive around a long track with left front tires down, smoking, flaming, and leaving the dreaded debris all over the 2.5 mile triangle which is Pocono Raceway, one has to wonder why Nascar immediately threw the caution, and ultimately the red flag only when the leader's ailing car was about to lose the lead to the second place car?
Ryan Newman was at Jeff's door when the caution flew. Jeff had already been complaining about rain for about 2 laps. The rain was certainly there, but why throw the flag at that instance? Why, why, indeed.
Certainly the rain caused the end of the race. I cannot dispute that. If Nascar had left the yellow flag in it's pocket for about one second longer, Ryan Newman, and not Jeff Gordon would have had the win.
Nascar is all about parity, or used to be. This year Rick Hendrick Racing has won 10 out of 14 Cup races this year. That's TEN out of FOURTEEN! Chevrolet has won 13 out of 14 this year. Back in the day, as they say, Big Bill or Little Bill would have made some rule changes to prevent this from becoming a season dominated by one team, much less one owner. Brian France, take a lesson from your father and your grandfather. Fans of this sport don't like seeing the same 2 or 3 drivers win every race. They begin to turn off the television. The start creating empty seats at the race tracks by the magic of making their bodies invisible, or by not buying tickets. Probably by not buying tickets, but I'm still researching that. I did hear the phrase "butts in the seats" today, and for one, I don't appreciate being thought of as solely a "butt in the seat". If my butt is in that seat, it's because I paid a lot of money to place my butt there. Money is something we make by trading our skills for pay. Butts in the seat are what pay a lot of the bills for Nascar. Butts that buy other goods and services pay the rest of the bills, by supporting the sponsors. If you haven't been to a Cup race lately, I'd invite you to check out the prices for seats. They're not cheap, folks.
Nascar needs to do something soon, because after watching a race like I did today, I'm tempted to go outside and work in the yard next Sunday. As much as I love this sport, and as much as I think of the drivers the put on the show every week, I'm getting tired of a season dominated by drivers and car owners that have perpetual problems, yet seem to win every week.