POLL: Fans want NASCAR drivers disqualified instead of encumbering wins – For The Win
Richmond, Va. – When it was announced that both Denny Hamlin’s Cup Series and XFINITY Series wins – plus Joey Logano’s second-place XFINITY finish – from Darlington Raceway last weekend are now encumbered, the debate about the rule’s logic and validity was reignited.
When a win is encumbered, it means the driver loses all the benefits of it – the regular season points and the playoff points, plus his crew chief for two races – but it still counts toward career win totals.
Not everyone loves this rule for a variety of reasons. Retired driver and NBC broadcaster Jeff Burton blasted it and said drivers should be fully disqualified, handing the win to whoever came in second. Driver Matt Kenseth doesn’t care for the severity of the penalty based on fractions of an inch. And a lot of people don’t actually like the word “encumbered” itself.
FTW asked racing fans what they think about Burton’s proposal to disqualify the driver when this situation arises, and as of Saturday morning, nearly 1,700 people responded.
A stunningly huge majority agree with Burton as 94.5 percent said drivers should absolutely be disqualified if their car fails the post-race inspection and is deemed illegal.
A little more than three percent said the encumbered rule makes sense, while two percent don’t quite understand NASCAR’s relatively new rule.
Despite Hamlin being the victim of the encumbered rule this week – although he’s still qualified for the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs from an earlier win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this summer – the No. 11 Toyota driver agrees with the majority of the people who responded to the poll.
Friday at Richmond Raceway before Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400, Hamlin said he’s open to NASCAR taking wins away from drivers, as long as the rule is applied equally among drivers and regardless if it’s in a regular season or playoff race. He also made a pretty good point to anyone calling him a cheater.
“I think we can talk about taking wins away in the future. I think it’s definitely a possibility. As long as it’s the same for everyone – I think that’s key. Make sure that when someone else is in there with the same violation, it gets the same penalty and treatment even if it’s in the playoffs. I think that’s what makes me nervous – is that in the playoffs? Is NASCAR going to do the same things when so much is on the line? Obviously, it’s negative publicity for everyone involved, so I just hope that it’s the same. I’m fine with taking wins away. Nothing wrong with that.”
Maybe this is something NASCAR will re-evaluate in the offseason if enough drivers and teams share Hamlin’s view.