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October 1, 2014

Mark Edwards' In My Opinion: NASCAR races that end early are no fun at all

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Posted: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 12:01 am | Updated: 1:02 pm, Tue May 6, 2014.

Another day of NASCAR at Talladega, another unfinished race.

Talladega Superspeedway has given us some of the best racing that sports fans will see, but it also has given us some of the most maddening, frustrating finishes, including Sunday.

Midway through the final lap, the caution flag came out beause of debris near the start-finish line. Officials froze the field, which gave the victory to Denny Hamlin.

It happened in October, too, when an accident back in the pack brought out the caution flag and froze the field, as the leaders were starting the final lap. Jamie McMurray was credited with the victory.

NASCAR officials deserve no blame for either situation. They made the right call for safety’s sake. We’re not blaming them for following the rules and using basic common sense.

But in the last two trips to Talladega, we had two incomplete races, and that’s incredibly frustrating.

It’s like going to a baseball game, where a fan runs on the field with two outs in the bottom of the ninth -- and they call it right there. The team that’s leading wins.

It’s like calling off a football game just as a team is trying to drive for a last-minute touchdown to win. It’s like ... well, any other game where we can imagine one side or person winning without having to finish the actual event completely.

Maybe I’m missing the big picture of NASCAR, but I just don’t see how what we saw Sunday and in last October is satisfying. Is there not a rule change NASCAR could make to resolve this?

NASCAR runs 36 Sprint Cup races a year, so maybe it isn’t that big a deal to the organization’s leadership if the occasional race ends unfinished. But for those of us who get to see Sprint Cup racing in person only twice a year, an unfinished race is a problem.

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