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The Phantom Caution

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  NASCAR

The Phantom Caution

Jeremy T. Sellers
Jerm's Joint
March 19, 2007

Indeed I'm not alone in this opinion.  I spend my week listening to driver interviews on the likes of SPEED and XM and wait to compile my information so I don't seem like a complete blubbering idiot.  This is a subject I've been listening intently too over the last three seasons from fans, drivers, and even some team owners.  Granted, I have no direct quotes as I guess I should be more meticulous in my research, but very few can argue the subject of the imaginary caution flag that seems to pop up every time a race is running smoothly.  Now I must admit, I've never been much of a conspiracy theorist whether it be politics, legends, or sports, but NASCAR is really making me want to jump the fence.

It is well known I'm not an advocate for any driver carrying the Hend(p)rick Motorsports name, but it has become ever apparent that when those guys along with the likes of Kennseth and Dale Jr. have any sort of comfortable lead, and the race is running smoothly, NASCAR has to jack it up but the good ol' phantom debris caution.  I've even heard Jeff Gordon state that a debris caution is fine, "just show us" where it is.  How many times have we watched a race on television, one such caution is thrown, and NONE of the cameras covering the track can find the debris where NASCAR says it is, or anywhere else on the track? ...Did I mention that these usually happen later in the race?  Hmmm, are we intentionally trying to gather the field up for an exciting finish? Maybe. Does this work? Probably.  Are good drivers being robbed of a victory they've worked hard in the shop and on the track to obtain in the end? Definitely on several occasions!  I will agree that sometimes, when a car has a several second lead, it makes for a boring race, but even if it is my arch enemy Hend(p)rick Motorsports, THEY'VE done something to earn the victory and NASCAR has no right to take that away from ANY driver by the wave of the yellow flag!

To me, it's the continuation of the constant watering down of the sport that we, as fans, should be outraged. We aren't happy.  Drivers aren't happy, and even owners are expressing their dislike for the actions of NASCAR regarding the "Phantom Caution".  The NASCAR Nazi's still continue to progressively destroy a sport that the "good ol' boys" worked hard to bring to mainstream and that the fans are spending their money to attend. Where does it end?  Poor television coverage, restrictor plates, imaginary cautions...what' s next?  Jake brakes on the cars to slow them down further?

This article originally appeared in the Yahoo! Group NASCAR World Order

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