Diecast Crazy Forums banner

Hallman: Caution for debris? Well, let's see it, NASCAR

244 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  Keselowski2Wallace

Cars drive around the track during a yellow flag at a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race Sunday, March 6, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

BY RANDY HALLMAN Special correspondent
I have four words of advice for NASCAR.
Show me the debris.
It’s that simple. When debris on the track is cause for a caution flag, dispel the mystery. Show it to me.
NASCAR races frequently are slowed for caution periods because, the announcers and broadcasters tell us, “there’s debris on the backstretch” or some other portion of the track. Invariably, a caution period will be a blessing for some drivers, a curse for others.
Sometimes the reason for the caution is obvious. Some luckless driver has scraped the wall and dislodged a piece of his or her car. It’s on the track. It’s dangerous. It needs to be cleaned up.
Or perhaps a well-fortified fan has — on purpose or by accident — heaved a beer can over the fence and onto the racing surface. Again, there’s a legitimate need for the caution flag. (And, if the fan hasn’t lost consciousness, he or she should be escorted away from the action.)
Other times, the reason for the caution flag is not so obvious. Fans at the track or watching the TV broadcast are told there’s debris, but they don’t see it.
Not surprisingly, fans swing into conspiracy-theory mode. Who gets a break because of the yellow flag? Who was almost a lap down and is saved by the opportunity to make a pit stop for fresh tires?
Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway had a couple of debris cautions, and NASCAR treated them differently.
The first came not quite 100 laps into the 267-lap event. Television cameras found a plastic water bottle near the grass on the frontstretch. That seemed like a borderline call — not exactly a lethal object.
But NASCAR officials did something they rarely do — if they’ve ever done it before. They got word to the broadcast booth that no, the plastic bottle wasn’t the reason. There was a piece of metal on the backstretch.
And I thought: Show me the debris.
It wasn’t that I didn’t believe what was said. I just wanted to see the offending piece of metal. Where did it come from? Was it something that might mean a car was crippled? Show me.
The TV audience didn’t get to see the debris in question. The race went on.
Later, another debris-caused caution was allowed to remain a complete mystery. TV cameras didn’t show us anything. NASCAR didn’t provide specifics. It seemed race leader Jimmie Johnson might benefit, since second-place Joey Logano was closing the gap at the time.
This is hardly a new phenomenon. When I was a motor sports beat writer in the 1970s and ’80s, the press box professionals got a great kick out of mysterious debris cautions, especially the ones that tightened a race that was starting to put people to sleep.
Some of the sports writers had their own routine for such occasions.
“Sacre bleu!” one would say in a woeful attempt at French.
“Zut alors!” another would say, “the great French driver, Monsieur Debris, has spun out once again. What terrible misfortune!”
Reporters and fans everywhere, then and now, regard the cautions with skepticism, if not contempt.
But Sunday’s first debris-caused yellow flag made something clear. NASCAR doesn’t have to suffer the skepticism. Show me the debris.
If the TV cameras don’t have the right angle, no problem. Just take a photo with a cell phone. Send it to the TV crew, tweet it, Instagram it, Snapchat it, Facebook it (what am I leaving out?).
I asked a NASCAR operative familiar with the process about this. Who makes the debris caution calls? And why not have photo proof of the debris?
The guys in the race-control tower make the call, I was told. NASCAR has spotters around the track on the lookout for debris, among other things. Sometimes drivers call in, lamenting there’s debris that needs to be tended to. NASCAR weighs such calls. Does the driver need the caution, and is the debris a mere hot dog wrapper?
I also was told the clean-up crews in their pickup trucks are on a mission to clear the track as quickly as possible, making it safe to return to racing. They don’t have time for selfies with a piece of metal.
To which I replied, add a teenager with a smart phone to every crew. Within five minutes, the teen will have the image available to the TV broadcast team and posted on every significant social media platform.
Show me the debris.

Hallman: Caution for debris? Well, let's see it, NASCAR
See less See more
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
NASCAR has spotters around the track on the lookout for debris, among other things.

That is completely BS statement. I looked all over turn 4 at Atlanta and did not see one by the outside wall, or inside wall. I did happen to see 3 officials on the Outside fence just into turn 3 that stayed there the entire race. so from what I saw AT atlanta, there was no Spotter in turn 4.
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.