The State of NASCAR:Substitute Drivers

NASCAR is a tough man's game. When you are driving a car in a pack of others cars at speeds upwards of 200 MPH then you have to be tough, because you know there is always that chance that you will hurt yourself in a wreck.

NASCAR is a tough man's game. When you are driving a car in a pack of others cars at speeds upwards of 200 MPH then you have to be tough, because you know there is always that chance that you will hurt yourself in a wreck. As long as NASCAR has been a racing organization, there have been injuries to its star drivers. Most recently 2002 & 2005 NASCAR Winston/Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart wrecked hard into the wall at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina. The wrecked fractured the tip of Stewart's shoulder blade forcing him to let way to a substitute driver the following week at Dover.

Because of a NASCAR rule drivers are given full points for starting a race, even if they give way to a substitute driver. Meaning that a NASCAR driver can take the green flag to start the race, complete one lap, give way to a substitute driver, and still receive all the points for wherever the substitute drivers finishes. One of the leading debates between NASCAR fans is whether or not the process of receiving full points for giving way to a substitute driver is right or wrong.

NASCAR drivers should be rewarded for their toughness, and drivers that do not have the toughness to complete a race due to injury should not receive maximum points for giving way to substitute drivers. In the late 1980s Ricky Rudd was in a fairly severe accident that left both of his eyes swollen shut. Rudd didn't give way to a substitute driver the next race despite the fact that his eyes were severely swollen. Rudd did the unthinkable. He duct taped his eyes open so he could complete the entire race, and not only did Rudd complete the entire race, he ended up in Victory Lane.

 In the 1970s Richard Petty ran a good portion of the season with a broken vertebra. Petty did not notify anybody of the injury for fear that they would not let him complete the season. Later news came out that Petty had run with a broken vertebra and could have possibly died had an on-track incident involving him occurred.

These drivers were able to tough out there injuries, however, some drivers are psychically incapable of doing such things. If a driver cannot run the entire race due to injury than giving way to a substitute driver is a reasonable idea, so that the owner can still receive valuable owner's points. However, it is not reasonable that a driver who gives way to a substitute driver gets to earn full points. NASCAR needs to seriously look into changing this rule as it remains one of the strangest rules in all of sports.

By: Julian Spivey

 


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