Sunday, March 11, 2018

A History of Fan Complaints Affecting Race Outcomes in Nascar

After being penalized for a bowed-in roof on his car last weekend, Kevin Harvick has been critical of Nascar’s penalty process all week, claiming that he was only penalized once social media users pointed out his aerodynamic irregularity.  Surprisingly, this is NOT the first time fans have affected Nascar scoring after a race.  Here’s a look back at the times when fans let themselves be heard to the decision makers in Daytona Beach:

1959: An unidentified fan comes forward to “Big” Bill France mere hours after the race with a conclusive image of the race’s famed “photo finish”.  France quickly stuffed the photo into his suit jacket, saying that “its too soon to end the drama—I mean, decide a winner”.

1963: Wendell Scott is waved-off from the win, despite clearly finishing first, after the race promoter finds a fan who claims that Scott was down a lap.  The promoter figures it won’t matter much in the long run, as nobody will remember the results of an obscure race 55 years in the future.

1979: In the first race after the legendary 1979 Daytona 500, hundreds of fans call in to Nascar headquarters complaining that the Carolina 500 finished without a fist fight.

1990: After winning his first (and only) Cup race under controversial circumstances, Brett Bodine received fervent support shortly after the race in the form of a phone call into Nascar scoring.  The caller, claiming to be the President of the Brett Bodine Fan Club, was unable to explain how he got an internal Nascar phone number, why race celebrations could be heard in the background, or why he sounded like Brett Bodine with a kazoo in his mouth.

1995: After a thrilling finish to the Bristol Night Race, numerous Dale Earnhardt fans call Nascar headquarters to explain how Rusty Wallace should be suspended for trying to hurt The Intimidator with a water bottle.  All of the fans were also quick to add that Earnhardt wrecking Terry Labonte was purely a “racing deal”.

2002: The Daytona 500 featured a memorable bonehead move when Sterling Marlin attempted to fix his car under the red flag.  Fans sent a number of emails and made numerous phone calls post-race to ask if Marlin would race the following weekend or simply retire due to embarrassment.

2006-2010: After a number of races won by Jimmie Johnson, Nascar receives a number of phone calls asking to speak to a variety of different officials, namely Mike Hunt, I.P. Freely, and Jacques Strappe.