Bump & Run: Should NASCAR give out 4-race suspensions for loose wheel penalties?

Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
0 Comments

Parker Kligerman joins Dale Jarrett and Jeff Burton from 5:30 – 7 p.m. on NASCAR America. Kligerman, Nate Ryan and Dustin Long discuss the this week’s hot topics.

The Cup team of Kyle Busch and Truck team of Chase Briscoe face major penalties for losing a wheel this weekend. NASCAR’s Rule Book says it will judge such matters on a case-by-case basis, but also states that a crew chief, tire carrier and tire changer responsible for a tire coming off face a “mandatory minimum” four-race suspension. How should NASCAR rule on these matters?

Parker Kligerman: Exactly as it reads, on a case-by-case basis. To me this allows NASCAR to do exactly what Brad Keselowski asked them to do and that is to measure the intent of the team. This penalty, in my opinion, is a drastic overreaction to the loose wheel problem of the last few years and probably should be re-worked. I believe there is a middle ground here and a four-race suspension of all those crew members is uncalled for. 

Nate Ryan: In this case, NASCAR should rule by the spirit rather than the letter of the law and provide dispensation to both teams. The rule was aimed at pit crews that intentionally put their drivers in riskier situations by skipping lug nuts for faster stops. Neither of these cases met that standard – no one in their right mind would leave a wheel completely unsecured for the purpose of gaining speed. Be lenient on these teams and then rewrite the rulebook to make an exception for a tire that comes off while the car effectively remains in the pits.

Dustin Long: Simple. Do as the rule book states. Four-race suspensions. NASCAR shouldn’t be in the business of trying to determine intent. There’s no doubt the rule can be written more clearly and should be adjusted for next year, but NASCAR should follow its own Rule Book and hand out the penalty spelled out.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. raised the issue of doing away with the overtime line except Daytona and Talladega. Do you agree with him? Why or why not?

Parker Kligerman: Yes, and here is why. I didn’t quite understand the reasoning behind this change in the first place. To me the GWC or overtime rules were introduced to allow races to end under green flag for the fans. But in creating this newest system, I believe there is a higher chance the race ends under caution than before. I haven’t done the research, but I would say in most races that ended up going to multiple GWC attempts, the leader would have been by the overtime line as the crash happened that caused the next attempt. Therefore to me, the solution was just to allow more attempts or unlimited attempts. Or this is the way it is and we leave it. 

Nate Ryan: Yes, and as my notes column suggested this week, I think NASCAR probably shouldn’t stop there. The quest for green-flag finishes has been well-intentioned, but the practice has grown too unwieldy because it’s been retrofitted so many times to account for countless situations that can vary according to the racetrack. At a minimum, Earnhardt is right that the line truly isn’t needed anywhere but the restrictor-plate tracks.

Dustin Long: Yes. Get rid of it. If a race ends under caution so be it.

Since winning at Richmond, Joey Logano has finished 32nd, 37th, 21st and 25th in his last four points races. How concerning is this to you?

Parker Kligerman: The finishes are not as concerning to me as the lack of speed. The 22 team lacked speed at Charlotte in both the All-Star Race and the 600. They lacked speed over the weekend in Dover and blew a tire. It is one thing to have speed and have unfortunate finishes. It is another when you are lacking speed. This team will be seriously evaluating the trends in their setups and feedback from Joey from the last couple weeks to see what may have been going wrong and try and compare that to what were the trends when they were fast. 

Nate Ryan: The first two results weren’t as concerning – Logano led Talladega and seemed to have speed at Kansas Speedway (qualifying second). But it’s been surprising that Logano seemed to struggle so much at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway. Given teammate Brad Keselowski’s early misfortune the past two races, it’s difficult to measure if Team Penske is way off its game, or if Logano’s team is in a mild slump. But noting how he ran the first nine races (eight finishes of sixth or better and a stage win with 82 laps led in a 31st at Phoenix), it’s clear Logano is missing something at the regular season’s midpoint.

Dustin Long: It is puzzling that Logano was off so much at Charlotte and Dover — two tracks in the playoffs. I want to see how this team recovers in the next couple of weeks. If the lack of speed remains, then I’d be very concerned.

Watch Parker Kligerman with Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett and Marty Snider on NASCAR America from 5:30 – 7 p.m. Tuesday on NBCSN.