NASCAR robbed Regan Smith at Talladega
A few weeks ago, I wrote that Lewis Hamilton had been robbed when he was unjustly penalized by the stewards at the Belgian Grand Prix. He appealed – but it turned out the penalty was unappealable (shades of Paul Tracy at Indianapolis!)
Yesterday, NASCAR driver Regan Smith was robbed blind at Talladega, and the people who make the rules in the Sprint Cup series had better go back to the drawing board fast before people start getting hurt.
An explanation is in order.
Tony Stewart was in first place yesterday afternoon as the field approached the finish line of the Amp Energy 500. Smith was right on his tail.
Smith faked a move to the right and Stewart went up the track to block him. Smith then dove low and, the way I saw it, had the inside lane fair and square by the time Stewart moved down to block.
We interrupt this narrative to explain the rules.
NASCAR says nobody can drive below the yellow line on the inside of the race track, period.
If a driver goes below the yellow line and makes a pass, that driver must give the place back. However, NASCAR also says that if a driver is forced – repeat: forced – below the yellow line, and makes a pass, the pass shall stand.
We will now resume the narrative.
When Stewart moved down to block Smith, Smith had a choice: He could go below the yellow line to avoid being hit by Stewart and continue his run to the finish line. Or, he could hold station, collide with Stewart and trigger another "Big One" (there were several multi-car pileups in yesterday's race).
So, he opted to avoid crashing, went below the yellow line, passed Stewart, and won the race. Except NASCAR ruled it was an illegal pass (huh? see rule above) and awarded the victory to Stewart.
So, I say he was jobbed. And although he didn't say it, Regan Smith isn't going to allow himself to be forced below the yellow line again because, if there is a next time, he will wreck the guy trying to force him down there. TheStar