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 Columns & Editorials

July 8, 2002

NASCAR Red Flag Issues

By Scott Hawkins

First let me say that I'm not a big-time NASCAR fan anymore since the accident and death of Dale Earnhardt. I watch it for the most part, but I could care less who wins.

I pull for Joe Nemechek because I have met him and he is one of the nicest drivers in the series, and he actually remembers me when I get to see him or talk to him! I am an "old school" race fan and therefore my reason for this post.

The red flag in racing is for the safety of the drivers, not for the reason of adding additional laps to the race for the fans enjoyment. It is used when a more serious accident occurs, (example: when a driver needs to be extricated from the car) or when the track becomes completely blocked.

There was never a question about this until very recently when the truck series started doing it. It has been made worse since Helton and his wishy-washy policies have made it so controversial. In years past, it was never a question, and it shouldn't be now.

I have seen literally hundreds of races end under the caution, and the rules should remain the same. And even when they do go "green, white, checker," it's not for the fans...its so NASCAR and TV to get additional advertising revenue.

NASCAR had totally lost its grip on what got them to where they are today...the REAL race fans. This is evident by the children made "Grand Marshall" for the races. Jessica Simpson? You have got to be kidding me! She didn't even get the words right for America the Beautiful, and was awful as a singer.

Plus, I don't even know who she is! Next it will be the "Back Street Boys" or some 10 year old rapping to the Star Spangled Banner. NASCAR likes to act like they promote local racing, but why then so much Saturday night racing?

They care about one thing...lining their pockets as quickly as they can with no regard for the sport itself. Don't worry true race fans. The "Hollywood elite" will soon bore with racing, just as they do with their 3-month marriages, and divorce their "so-called" racing fever. Then perhaps, the racing will return to the people that truly love it for what it is.

As far as throwing things from the stands, there is absolutely no excuse for such behavior. Drunken idiots throwing items that could have hit a youngster, infant, somebody's mom, or anybody is totally asinine.

And if you weren't drunk and threw something anyway, then you REALLY have no excuse for your immature behavior! Jeremy Mayfield said he thought a bottle hit the hood of his car! I can only imagine what I would do to someone that threw a bottle and it hit my daughter. Not even a 200 MHP Cup car would not keep me from running your butt down!

-Scott Hawkins

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