The Restart Debacle: NASCAR Needs to Consider Penalties


By Jared Turner

For the second week in a row, a restart that seemed a little too good to be true raised eyebrows. And for the second week in a row, NASCAR didn’t penalize the driver in question for jumping a restart. Just eight after days after rivals claimed Matt Kenseth jumped the final restart en route to his victory at Richmond, Jeff Gordon faced a similar allegation after scooting away from race leader Kyle Busch on a restart at Chicagoland. Only this time, unlike at Richmond, NASCAR conducted a formal review of the restart to determine if the driver under scrutiny did in fact deserve a penalty. The conclusion, in this case, was the same as at Richmond, but don’t be surprised if more drivers cry foul over restarts in the upcoming weeks. With the rules concerning restarts ambiguous to even some of the sport’s biggest, most talented rivers, more complaining is bound to happen, so it would be better if NASCAR went ahead and made its position crystal clear.

‘Six-Time’ Took The High Road

Kudos to Jimmie Johnson for walking away rather than letting matters escalate to an all-out fisticuffs when Kevin Harvick punched him in the chest after Sunday’s race at Chicagoland. While Johnson clearly was unhappy with Harvick, and refused to take responsibility for their earlier run-in on the track that fueled Harvick’s anger, Johnson did the right thing by simply walking away when confronted after the race. While it might have made for good TV and given NASCAR on NBC a nice ratings boost going forward in the Chase, punching Harvick would not have been a wise thing for Johnson to do. Instead, he can move forward with a clear conscience knowing he was the better man, and instead focus on beating Harvick on the track – which is always the best way to get even.