Should Chasers be treated differently?

Unlike in other sports where playoff participants don’t have the non-title contenders to deal with, competitors in NASCAR’s playoff—the Chase for the Sprint Cup—still have to race with and around other drivers/teams that they’ve been competing against all season long. With that being said, should Chase drivers get or expect special treatment from the non-Chasers they’re sharing the race track with? After all, non-Chasers are looking to log race wins too.

In the 10 races that make up the Chase, on-track incidents that earlier in the season probably wouldn’t garner much attention from those not involved end up being scrutinized in the Chase if they involve a Chase driver. Case in point—the contact between non-Chaser David Reutimann and Chase competitor Kyle Busch during the Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway this past Sunday.

Early in the race, Busch made contact with Reutimann—contact that Busch claimed was unintentional and caused by his inability to check up with Reutimann’s car got loose. Unintentional or not, and Busch being a Chase driver or not, Reutimann believed that a move of retaliation was in order. Several laps later his move of retaliation was carried out as he intentionally hit Busch, causing his car to scrape the wall and eventually finish the race in the 21st position.

After Reutimann’s retalitory move, Busch radioed his crew saying that if NASCAR didn’t penalize Reutimann, there was was going to be a meeting after the race. To my knowledge, the meeting never happened, but the series of events prompted an official statement from Michael Waltrip Racing the following Monday saying:

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Should Chasers be treated differently? Should Chasers be treated differently? Reviewed by Amanda Vincent on Tuesday, October 05, 2010 Rating: 5