The Plot Thickens In South Carolina
The cat is finally out of the bag in the terms of Late Model Stock Car racing in the mid atlantic region. Recently our friend over at Race22 have started to uncover some pretty interesting facts about what is really going on in this “National points race,” if thats what you can call it!
Anthony Anders has been your National points leader since NASCAR officially released the standings after about the fifth week of competition this season. Lee Pulliam – the two-time defending National champion who started this season running in the K&N Pro Series East division – only sits thirteen points behind Anders in what I am calling a farce of a title run.
If you remember a story I posted closer to the beginning of the year stating the changes NASCAR made to the points system (NASCAR Makes Changes to Whelen Series) you will recall how I said this is going to cause some issues this season, and here they are finally coming out of the wood work. First off let me say I am all for an athlete coming right up front and being honest in hunting a national title. That’s great, and shows you mean business, which is exactly what Anders did at the start of this year.
What is going on down there in Greenville to make this happens is what make it almost embarrassing to say that I am a fan of the Whelen All-American Series. All of this really started becoming relevant when a few weeks ago Lee Pulliam and Travis Kiker decided to load their hauler up and take the competition right into Anders back yard. Mind you Anders running most of his races this year at Greenville, while Pulliam has been on the road just a little bit more.
This is when all the talks about start and parks (S&P) came up. For the few who may not know what or why this is a thing, a S&P is a car who grids up, takes one lap and pulls into the pits. Why do they do this you ask? Well NASCAR said to get “full field points” 18 cars must start the race, they don’t really care how many finish the event. They are used to pad the field, kind of like imitation crab meat. Talk around the town is that Anders is helping to fund about five or six of these cars so he can gain maximum points.
Another bit of controversy down there, and though it may be in their rule book but I find it to be down right stupid. Track officials allow truck’s to count towards to official field! From what I have read these are Late Model chassis and engines with truck bodies, please if I am wrong on this let us know! That still doesn’t make it right in my book, if that’s the case ladies and gentleman lets combine the Late Models and Grandstocks at Langley Speedway and start 24-26 cars on a weekly basis. How about combining the Late Models & Limited Late Models at East Carolina and give those drivers a chance at the national title. Hell lets put the LMSC & Limited Sportsman together at SoBo and have a 40 car field. There are different divisions for a reason, track officials and owners need to keep that in mind.
Not enough evidence to throw a red flag in your book, how about protest? I have heard of more protests from Anthony Anders these past two months than I have heard from SoBo, East Carolina, and Langley Combined…. FROM ALL THEIR DIVISIONS. Come on dude you get beat by another car or truck and you immediately think someone is cheating? What do you think you are gods given gift to asphalt short track racing? Of course track owners are going to let this kinda crap continue because its money in their pockets. Wait there is more! Just when you thought the protest game was over they add a twist…
Apparently down south you cannot protest the car behind you, only those who finished ahead of you. Sounds pretty fair to me, no point in challenging someone you beat. What happened that night however was well bizarre. According to Race22 Pulliam finished second to Anders and wanted to protest Anders win. Here is another little rule at Greenville, if you refuse to the protest you are disqualified. Reports were that Anders had his son protest/buy Pulliam’s motor. Of course Pulliam and Travis Kiker said no, I would have done the same thing.
Now we have Anders using the system to his advantage (electing to start 10th to receive an extra 5 points), booting cars out of the way to move to the front, and when all that fails just protest the winner. I am not writing this from a Lee Pulliam fan perspective, I am writing this from a race fan perspective. What is going on down at that race track from both the driver and owners is a disgrace to the sport. NASCAR may not have the time or resources to police every local short track around the nation but you as race fans sure can help this.
It is going to be pretty interesting to see how this plays out with Anders doing what ever he does down south. Pulliam working at multiple tracks around the region working hard to earn every point possible. Keith Rocco, currently sitting third thirty-seven points behind Anders working to get everything there is to get each week. “This is a disgrace,” Rocco said. “It makes NASCAR look bad. Makes the track look bad. It makes Anders look like a sore loser. You finished second and protested the guy who won. That’s poor sportsmanship if you ask me.” (Quote courtesy of Race22 // Keith Rocco Reacts to Greenville Controversy). Rocco also understands the stigma of start and parks, but much like my opinions that’s only if you are on the cusp (16 to 17 car field), having five or more is just crazy!
NASCAR did release a statement to the guys at Race22, for the full statement in its pure form Click Here, but lets wrap this up in a manner that is normal to The Weekly Racer shall we. The release practically said that a rule book is given to each track as a guide to help them along the way. From those rules the competition director and/or owner can enforce rules as they see fit to help run their operation and those people do not need to consult NASCAR when enforcing a penalty or rule infraction. To me the release pretty much said the following;
”NASCAR does not have the time or the resources to watch over and govern each individual track and leaves the day-to-day operation to the track owners. As long as you pay into the system we will allow you place the NASCAR name on your facility.”
Sure NASCAR does not have the time to have one or two people watch over all the weekly racing series tracks in the country that would be crazy, but when something of this magnitude is brought to your attention with the potential to hurt your name, drive car owners and drivers away from a race track, than yeah I think its time for someone to get involved.
I want to hear from you fans. This is an open and honest page, mind you to keep the language to a TV-14 rating! Do you feel that what Anthony Anders is doing down in South Carolina has corrupted the 2014 points chase, or do you think what he is doing is great with his Win The Title At All Cost mentality? Leave your comment bellow!