Smart Stewart: A Wreck Could Have Been Costly


Tony Stewart made the right choice to bail out

Considering just how physical Sunday’s race turned out to be, Tony Stewart clearly made the right decision to get out of his car and hand over the wheel to relief driver Ty Dillon under the first caution period. Stewart, who returned the previous weekend at Richmond after missing the season’s first eight races while recouping from a back injury, was advised by his doctors to play it safe at Talladega – where a hard hit could have been a devastating setback to the three-time Sprint Cup Series champion’s efforts to fully heal. Had Stewart remained in his car, there’s a good chance he would have been caught up in one or more of the major accidents that ultimately plagued the proceedings. As it turned out, Dillon steered clear of all the mayhem and finished sixth – a nearly flawless run all things considered. Stewart, by virtue of starting the race, gets the points awarded for Dillon’s finish, so it was mission accomplished at Talladega for the No. 14 team.

The first driver to cross the finish line should be the winner

NASCAR’s decision to turn the caution light on just yards from the finish line on the final lap of Saturday’s XFINITY Series race was at best misguided and at worst downright ridiculous. Not only did NASCAR look like goons by needing several minutes to determine who had actually won the XFINITY race, the absurdity was magnified times 10 when officials ruled in favor of Elliott Sadler, who didn’t cross the finish line in first place. Freezing the field with the checkered flag in sight is a really silly idea, even if done in the name of safety. That’s because freezing the field does nothing to deter a wreck that is already in motion, as was the case on Saturday. It merely creates mass confusion and alters the outcome – just as it did at Talladega when poor Brennan Poole thought he’d won his first race, only to get denied on a technicality that shouldn’t exist in the first place.