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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wither Robby Gordon

Robby Gordon has a gray cloud that seems to follow him around. When everyone else sees sunlight, Gordon gets rain dumped on his head. In two races this spring, Atlanta and Texas, he had a fast car capable of strong finishes. He got caught pitting just prior to a caution both times costing him top tens. Then at Darlington he stayed out too long, perhaps wary of incurring another ill-timed yellow flag, and lost too much track position on old tires. Once again, he lost a chance at a top ten finish. So in his latest effort to grab a top ten at an intermediate track, can you really blame him for ensuring that he does everything he can to finish where he deserves? Drivers punt others at short tracks all the time, especially when the leader is coming. Which action is more dangerous?

It is hard enough for a single-car operation to compete, but having bad luck makes it worse. I don't have a strong opinion towards Gordon either way. Plenty of people seem to want to use any chance to tear him down. Is he any more aggressive than Tony Stewart or Carl Edwards? Any more outspoken than Greg Biffle or Kyle Busch? Somehow in a lot of fan's eyes he is some supervillain that can't drive.

So now he is fined for intentionally causing a caution with roll cage padding at Atlanta. No problem with punishing him. There are enough cautions per race, and Nascar had to ensure it didn't start a trend. Still, there are few head-scratching thoughts that rise from this:

-In 2004 at the spring Bristol race, Dale Jr intentionally caused a caution by spinning. Sure no one was around and it was certainly entertaining when he bragged about it on his radio. But again, tell me which is more dangerous of the two? One driver was docked 50 points, the other only 25.

-Gordon was placed on probation until December 31st. What's the point of this? The season is done in three weeks. If Gordon gets rowdy at Thanksgiving and throws his helmet at dinner, does he face additional sanctions? What if he opens Christmas presents and intentionally leaves the wrapping paper on the ground? What say you Nascar? Of course that is the vague umbrella rule known as section 12.4.a.

-Gordon should repeat what he did with his driving helmet after Loudon last year. Auction off some roll-cage padding for charity. What fan wouldn't bid on a piece of greased, ratty foam, that may or may not have flown from the #7 car?