FENWICK: Spinning Wheels


CONCORD, N.C. — Formula One and NASCAR clearly have different ideas in regard to what requires a caution flag.

In NASCAR, the slightest bit of debris (or perhaps phantom debris) will result in a yellow flag. In most cases fans are waiting to see the caution flag to bunch fields back up and make the racing more exciting. That isn’t always the case, but the argument could be made that more often than not the caution flag is a welcome sight.

Meanwhile, in Formula One, a disabled race car in the middle of the racing circuit didn’t require a caution flag. It just required a few brave marshals who were willing to run across the track and push the race car off the circuit.

Now let’s be clear, we don’t recommend anyone run across a race track in the middle of a race. The brave marshals during the German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring on Sunday risked their lives to remove the damaged machine of Adrian Sutil rather than F-1 officials wave a caution flag to remove the car.

Is it just us, or isn’t that exactly the reason the yellow flag was created? A car was disabled in the middle of the track and created a dangerous situation for competitors. That should have immediately resulted in a caution flag instead of sending marshals on track in the middle of a race to push the car out of the way.

Let’s get real here. Under no circumstances should safety workers be sent on track without a caution flag. Sure, there was a local yellow flag to warn drivers of danger in that area of the circuit, but cars were still driving around the track and one wrong move or mistake could have resulted in tragedy.

The world’s most popular form of motorsports should be doing a better job.

– Are we really that surprised that Tony Stewart won in his first night back in a sprint car?

Stewart has always been a wheelman, a modern day A.J. Foyt if you will. If anyone is capable of just jumping in a sprinter and winning a race on any given night, Stewart would certainly be the one that could do it.

Oh wait, he did that on Friday night at Tri-City Motor Speedway in Auburn, Mich.

That leads us to another veteran wheelman, Ken Schrader. The former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner is not only racing in Wednesday’s Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, but he is also competing in Thursday’s USAC Silver Crown Series J.D. Byrider Rich Vogler Classic at Lucas Oil Raceway.

It has been more than 20 years since Schrader raced a Silver Crown car and the series has changed so much in that time. Schrader, who will be driving a car co-owned by Stewart, will likely have some catching up to do if he hopes to compete with the likes of Bobby Santos, Tanner Swanson, Tracy Hines and Ryan Newman.

If anybody can do it, Schrader certainly can.