Iopinion:/I Brickyard Blues
July 28, 2008 | 3:19 P.M. EST
In 2005 only six cars took to the grid in the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix in the wake of a perceived tire problem with Michelin rubber.
Not to be outdone, NASCAR and Goodyear teamed up to present the Brickyard 7 on Sunday.
Because really after the myriad of competition caution flags that added up to more than 50 laps run under the yellow flag, the race boiled down to a seven lap shootout between Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards.
But unlike what the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Michelin did in 1995, fans shouldn't expect a refund anytime soon.
Nor do they deserve one.
Call Sunday whatever you like - a travesty, debacle, farce or joke - any such word applies.
But given the cards that it was dealt, NASCAR did the best it could in managing the difficult situation.
The last thing the sanctioning body wanted to happen was to stop and start the second biggest race of the year all afternoon.
But given the alternatives, there wasn't anything else NASCAR could have done.
Pull the plug on the race? Ridiculous.
How could that event possibly have been rescheduled anytime this season?
Let the drivers run at their own risk? Criminal.
The fact that there wasn't an injury on Sunday, not counting a couple of pit road incidents, is a credit to NASCAR holding safety in high regard.
Sure the call could have been to put the situation into the hands of crew chiefs and drivers and let them manage the excessive tire wear at their own risk.
I guarantee the outcome would have been something similar to the 22 caution flags at Charlotte in 2005 and instead of a plea for Goodyear to bring in more tires there would have been a call for medical personnel reinforcement.
NASCAR did the right thing Sunday, as much as that may be a bitter pill for some fans to swallow.
Maybe the words of the sport's most popular figure will sway some.
"The truth of the deal is that was the best show we could put on today, NASCAR did everything right," Dale Earnhardt, Jr. "It's all we could do aside from loading up and going home and not running at all. Yeah, it wasn't quite the race everybody expected, but shoot it was better than some of the races you've probably seen here."
But because NASCAR did the best it could to make lemonade out of the embarrassing lemons it was handed Sunday doesn't mean there isn't enough blame to fill up the Goodyear blimp.
Not having an open test at Indianapolis knowing full well the new Sprint Cup car was making its debut here this year was about the biggest bonehead move of the year.
A three car test in April, when conditions are oh maybe 50 degrees cooler than they are in the dead of summer, was a colossal waste of time.
The tire manufacturer needs to be held responsible for dropping the ball and not just at Indy. There have been several other issues when races were marred because Goodyear seemed unprepared including that 2005 Charlotte fiasco and at Atlanta earlier this year.
Maybe NASCAR should reconsider its tire supplier and tear up that exclusive contract with Good, opening the door for someone like Bridgestone/Firestone to come in.
Sunday was the low point of the season and maybe of the last five. The only hope is that some lesson was learned and for NASCAR's sake, fans can forgive and forget in what is certainly a volatile time in the sport's history.