Friday, February 14, 2014

COMMENTARY: Statement Needed From NASCAR In Second "UNOH Battle at the Beach"

Larson set a standard last year
NASCAR’s finest short track stars are set to converge on Daytona International Speedway Tuesday night for the Second Annual “UNOH Battle at the Beach.”

Hopefully, this year’s version will be different than the first.

One year ago, in front of a nationwide television audience, the inaugural “UNOH Battle At The Beach” began with a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series duel between Kyle Larson and C.E. Falk that saw Larson wreck leader Falk coming off the final turn. At most short tracks across the country, Larson’s jack`em up tactics would have warranted an immediate black flag. NASCAR allowed the finish to stand, however, setting a precedent that would haunt them for the remainder of the two-night event.

The following night, both the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR K&N Pro Series events were afflicted with similarly violent finishes. Cameron Hayley picked up the K&N Pro Series checkers after Gray Gaulding harpooned Michael Self out of the lead on the final lap, then drifted up the race track, opening the door for Hayley. The Modified race went to veteran Steve Park, but only after leader Mike Stefanik spun on the final lap courtesy of contact with both Park and eventual second-place finisher Eric Goodale.

Stefanik was not amused...
After allowing Larson’s dump job to stand on Monday night, NASCAR had no choice but to rubber-stamp similar results on Tuesday, making Self and Stefanik little more than ducks in a 600-horsepower shooting gallery. An event designed to showcase the best of American short track racing instead became a display of Neanderthal knuckle-busting at its lowest, least skillful level.

Hopefully, NASCAR now realizes the error of its ways.

A newly designed race course has been mapped-out on the backstretch at Daytona International Speedway, with shorter straightaways and wider, more sweeping turns. The new layout should allow drivers to take a more conservative approach to Tuesday evening’s events, rather than resorting to the “stab and steer” tactics of a season ago.

NASCAR will also have an opportunity to turn thumbs-down on rough riding in this year’s event, warning competitors in pre-race driver’s meetings that overzealous use of front bumpers – on the final lap, or at any other time – will result in an immediate black flag, a trip to the back of the pack, or even disqualification from the event.

NASCAR cannot afford to swallow the whistle again Tuesday night. Competitors and fans alike deserve better.


  1. Anonymous2:26 PM

    I don't think NASCAR will do anything differently. Instead they are encouraging the same kind of behavior in Sprint Cup racing. They think this is just good racing. They apparently have forgotten 13 years ago when Dale was killed, and want even the main race to be violent. They will certainly rue this kind of officiating.

  2. Dale just lost control no one touched him....get over it I was Dale fan and even I know the diffence

    1. Anonymous9:21 AM

      Amen..Dale was blocking for 3rd place..trying to hold off Sterling and Ken Schrader..No one dumped Dale..

  3. Anonymous4:05 PM

    So it sounds like they reconfigured it to stop "dive bombing". It wont matter. The only choice anyone has on that layout is either ride where you are or use the front bumper to move somebody.
    Kevin F - Lewiston, ME


  5. I just don't think the track is big enough for these high powered well handling cars. And not enough slope in the turns which causes them to drive in hard and hope to make the turn. Needs to be longer straights and more banking. Just not a large enough layout. Should let run them the whole track.

  6. You are absolutely correct and I hope they do. But I'm not counting on it. Comments made by Mr. France when describing new chase format indicate they want more of that not less. Too bad.

  7. Anonymous4:38 PM

    Cmon Dave everything does! Dont you listen to your own show?

    Regardless - they need to run this deal over at New Smyrna where it belongs!

  8. Ethan Williams7:45 PM

    I agree totally Dave they have to reign it in this year because if this year is like last year then in the future even more teams will choose to stay home. It should be that if someone spins as a result of contact with your racecar you should go to the back period end of story, that gets the job done at the CT short tracks.

  9. I went and watched the Whelens at New Smyrna last fall, it was unbelievable! I agree, lets do this at NSB!

  10. It will be interesting to see if NASCAR can officiate green flag racing avoidable contact. They have not done it in the past at numerous opportunities (just ask Terry LaBonte). Their new 'win is everything' format is ripe for the lame wreck him/her to win mentality, as well as wreck em during the race. Desperate drivers mean desperate actions.