Hot Laps

Thankfully NASCAR's road racing season has come to an end. Granted the weekend's races at Watkins Glen provided some pretty good flashes of exciting racing. But overall the road course events gave everyone a little time to doze off on a lazy summer weekend.

From where I sat, NASCAR needs to sharpen up on just how to officiate a road course event. Kurt Busch's penalty should not have happened and officials should have informed Busch by radio what had happened and given him the opportunity to drive thru pit road and avoid the penalty he was assessed for stopping.

Replays showed it would have been impossible for Busch to veer back on the track when the red warning light came on closing pit road. In my mind, he got a raw deal that will probably be changed in the future but most likely cost Busch a win.

It's also time to eliminate the ridiculous "lucky dog" rule, which was a bad idea from the start that has gotten worse through the inane schilling of Michael Waltrip and one of his many sponsors.

Kyle Busch made up five laps Sunday through the rule, getting a lap back every time the race went under yellow. Jeff Gordon got three back at Indy last week via the rule. Either get rid of it or put a limit on how many times a driver can use it during a race.

And finally the last lap crash Sunday (which NBC again failed to show properly, as the network did the week ago in the Brickyard's final lap accident) played havoc with the finishing order of the race, which NASCAR inexplicably released via television, radio and online before correcting it twice hours later. Ryan Newman went from finishing 9th to 31st to 8th in the span of two hours.

Imagine the NFL giving out a final score to the media only to change it later on. Forget "unofficial results," if NASCAR wants to be a major league sport, it needs to have the results of events right first before releasing it to the media.

Other than that, it was a fine weekend in upstate New York.

• Adding to the weekend bore at The Glen was the record number of caution flags on Sunday and the unbelievably long process by NASCAR to clean the track and go back racing. "This is a long race track and NASCAR could do a better job of getting the track under good conditions for us to be able to go back to racing sooner," said Dale Earnhardt, Jr. "We don't have to run all those laps under caution, and I don't think the fans like to see them either."

• Kasey Kahn'e last two weekends have been marred by last lap accidents. It is unreal to think that only a few weeks ago Kahne was third in the standings and that he has now dropped out of the Top 10.

• Jeremy Mayfield's future appears to be with Bill Davis Racing now that Michael Waltrip has eliminated him as a candidate to join his new three-car operation next season. And if things don't work out at BDR, Mayfield can just bad mouth owner Bill Davis and go to a new team, which seems to be standard operating procedure these days for NEXTEL Cup drivers.

• Sunday's IRL race at Kentucky Speedway had more action in 25 laps than four hours of NASCAR road racing on Sunday. Although the stands looked to be very empty, the IndyCar set put on a good show.

• More Champ Car fisticuffs over the weekend, which is about the only way the series can make any sports highlights shows. This time Paul Tracy squared off with Sebastien Bourdais, only a couple weeks after his bout with Alex Tagliani. Tracy won't be suspended though, the series can't afford to lose any cars for its next race in Montreal. What's the over/under by the way that the Champ Car field will make it through the first turn at its next race?

• The Knoxville Nationals are in the book after a wild and sad four days in Iowa. The event was marred by the death of Steve King on the opening night and then moved into the weird-zone with the Danny Lasoski outburst on Saturday. I've said it before and I'll say it again, winged sprint car racing puts on a great show but it just doesn't work on live television. Red flags, push starts and delays don't make for a riveting telecast.

• That said, great to see the World of Outlaws take the initiative and release its 2007 schedule. Reports have a major TV deal with possible coverage of some major events on NBC of all places next year. Other reports have an offer on the table for Steve Kinser to return to the WoO for a major retirement and farewell tour next season. Stay tuned.

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2006

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