Forever Flawed: Manipulation Of NASCAR Short Track National Points System Hardly A Surprise

Whelen All American Series LogoIt’s a storyline that has played out through the social media chains of communication with a furor over the past month.

Allegations that at Greenville Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C. Anthony Anders – in cahoots with track management – has been essentially fixing the system to guarantee he will win the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series short track national championship.

Anders has led the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national points for most of the 2014 season, but reports over the past month have alleged that Anders himself is fielding the majority of the cars in the Late Model division at the track and that he’s racking up easy win after easy win after half the field pulls off for each event.

Other stories have alleged that track management has gone so far as to calling phantom disqualifications just to get Anders wins. And there’s been all the regular allegations of a tech inspection issues that have worked all in the favor of Anders.

It has many short track diehards who actually pay attention to the odd system that NASCAR uses to crown a national champion crying foul.

And it begs the question? Why should anybody that really understands how this system works year after year be even the slightest bit stunned?

One should be stunned rather by so many that are educated in the ways of NASCAR’s systems over the years who are so suddenly in disbelief by the shenanigans going on in the chase for a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series short track national championship.

Did they just take their blinders off after decades of wearing them?

Manipulating the NASCAR short track national points system has been rampant for years. It’s been done in Connecticut, it’s been done in the South, it’s been done across the country.

Being shocked that racers and tracks are manipulating and cheating the system is like taking a sip off of a glass of orange juice and being shocked that it tastes like orange juice. Someone has been manipulating or cheating the system every year since the first system was created.

And one of the biggest ironies in play is that 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion Keith Rocco of Wallingford and two-time reigning Whelen All-American Series champion Lee Pulliam from Semora, N.C., have been two of the loudest complaining about the antics of Anders this year.

The reality is what Anders is doing is disgusting when it comes to stripping away the honor of actual competition. Sadly, he’s doing it within the confines of the rules set forth by NASCAR.

Pulliam is currently second in the national standings and Rocco is third. And both at times in their careers have brought cars to the track for the sole purpose of filling fields to chase national championship points at multiple facilities. Neither has done it to the extremes like Anders is doing this year, but both have done it during their careers.

The fact is, whether you hold up the bank with a squirt gun or a bazooka, you’re still holding up the bank, you’re still committing the same crime. Massaging the system is massaging the system, no matter if it’s a foot rub or a full-on deep tissue massage.

But you can’t blame Rocco, or Pulliam or even Anders for what they’ve done in the past or are doing now. It’s in a racer’s DNA to find the loopholes in the rules and pounce on them.

But it’s the reason why NASCAR should just scrap its system of crowning a national champion. There is no fair system one can create to fairly and equally judge racers in North Carolina in Late Models against racers in Connecticut running Modifieds. There’s no fair way to judge racers against each other in any sort of “points system” who are running all under entirely different race procedures and rules at tracks across the country.

The fact is creating a simple system that allows for anything close to fair judgment of apples to oranges to pineapples to grapefruits has to be built with too many parts that can be too easily manipulated. This is a fact that has been proven year after year after year when drivers find the loopholes and exploit them.

Hopefully Anders destruction of any sort of spirit of competition with the system will finally open the eyes of NASCAR that the system can never be fixed and should just be scrapped.

A statement from an anonymous NASCAR employee in a article Monday essentially said that NASCAR defers enforcement of fair competition to the tracks involved.

So essentially NASCAR is basically saying they don’t have the time or manpower to police fairness within the system. So why do it?

Why would you give out an award that is supposed to stand as the greatest of all accolades for a weekly short track racer in the country, and basically not even really police the fairness of how the system is being manipulated?

Give someone like Rocco, who has chased national titles for nearly a decade, tons of credit for his dedication to it, but in a strange way, you have to question the logic of those like Rocco and Pulliam that allow themselves to so passionately invest in chasing the title.

They know what they’re getting into. Chasing the points is essentially like willingly walking into a darkened backroom of the seediest gin joint in the nastiest section of town and joining the poker game going on there, and then being shocked when the guy next to you at the table robs everybody at gunpoint.

You knew you were putting yourself in position to get used up, because it happens every year, and yet you still somehow possess pipe dreams that fair play will rule over the playing field?

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  1. very well said shawn. i was thinking the same thing when i saw that keith was complaining.

    “…when drivers find the loopholes and exploit them.” i thought that was called racing.

  2. NASCAR doesn’t really care … All they want is the publicity of handing out an award to a short track driver . It makes them look good , they really don’t care who or how .

  3. it aint cheatin till ya get caught

  4. Why didn’t Rocco race at Thompson last week when he would have been the 19th late model in the field and would have gotten the maximum points allowed if he won.

  5. Hmmmmmm,
    The Late Models at Thompson have nothing to do with the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified Division I points. The SK Modifieds are the Division I division at Thompson, along with at Waterford and Stafford.

  6. Can imagine the out of control comments if Keith Rocco protested the leader every time he finished 2nd. Better yet, if elected to start tenth instead of 12th and the track let him. The back lash would be insane. 1 or 2 start and parks are a far cry from 55% of the race field.

    Think about this, people wanted Rocco suspended for a year for no having whee tethers on his car. People would want him banned for life if a car he owned stopped on the track to make a caution so he could win the race.

    Nothing that is happening down there would ever fly up here. They don’t even pay a purse to the start and parks.

    It’s completely embarrassing, but it’s no surprise.

    Btw there was 16 cars at Thompson. Zero start and parks, and Preece left one on the trailer. I don’t think Keith even asked them guys to roll it out there.

  7. it’s definitely a flawed system, I’d love to see NASCAR drop it so that the money could be spread among tracks and paid through the field. That won’t happen though because that may reduce NASCAR’s cut of the funds.

  8. what goes around comes around pay attention the worst is yet to come boys.

  9. kevin trageser says

    The only thing NASCAR cares about is collecting $$$$$$$$$$.end of story.

  10. Josh paradis says

    I mean yes there is a grey area but anders opened up a black hole that is a disgrace to the sport for those who love it and do it for a living and for most of all importantly the fans who come to the track that deserve to see great racing after having to spend their money.

  11. Pulliam should head on down I-95 and do something about this.

  12. Having read the original story and some of the reactions to it, one line stuck out where they said it’s boring to watch the same guy every week. Does this track still have a fan base, or are these actions and snoozer races driving fans out of the stands? Kinda cutting their own throat if they are.

  13. This has happened in CT, both Thompson and Waterford were allowing Sk lites to start Sk feature and we ran 1-2 laps and parked it, when car counts were low they were encouraging it, when they had 20 regular Sk’s we would try to run but it wasn’t allowed even though they would start up to 24 cars, and can anybody guess why? Same reason national champ claims a home track and that track gets a hard on to make it happen.

  14. dlacoursiere says

    I’m a season ticket holder at my local track. I stopped going about 6 weeks ago because I found it a struggle to attend every week and watch the same guy win. But now, reading about all this nonsense, chances are slim, outside of a few special shows, the track will ever get me back on a regular basis. I started to research where our local “champion” starts just about every week, and darn if it isn’t 10th or further back. How does that happen so much? I also noticed over the last few seasons some of the SK lights starting the feature and pulling off after a few laps, plus a couple of regular SKs that do it relatively often. Also, the “champion’s” brother did it a few times. Being just a fan in the stands I would have no real way to know all the things I’ve read about over the last few days, but I feel duped. I’m really disappointed.

  15. Andy Boright says

    I wonder how many people realize that a championship once worth $100,000 is now only worth $25,000?

    NASCAR is about politics, not short track racing.

  16. Rich thanks. Rocco wasnt crying when they put those lights in the field at Thompson to make sure those races counted for National points. Bunch of freaking cry babies these days. Care about the fans and put on a show Rocoo instead of walking around like your Gods gift to the world.

  17. I do know what Rich is talking about BUT I would venture to guess those sk lights included in the feature were not owned by rocco. That’s probably the biggest hang up I have with what is going on at that track. Thompson did allow sk lights to run with the sks but they did not allow pro 4s or anything else they could find to fill the field. They run there late model division down there like it’s an outlaw division. Anders runs all these cars so he can protest whoever he wants. While none of the contenders are devoid of having start and parks this is over the top. If pulliam or Rocco went down there any beat him he would protest , if they finished second to him he would protest. To me he’s nothing more than a rich boy that if he doesn’t get his way he goes crying to his mama. At this point it would be worth it togo down there with a bunch crew members and wreck him on the first lap.

  18. Tony Membrino says

    Here’s my $0.02 on this whole controversy with the NWAAS D1 National Championship and the responses that followed:

    1.) I think the policies around protesting/claiming down South is just a crutch certain teams with high budgets can use to eliminate their competition because they know well enough that refusal to comply with protests/claims result in disqualifications. If you ask me, what gets inspected after a protest or complaint is at the discretion of the NASCAR officials and inspectors, and that policy should be outlawed altogether.

    2.) It should not be allowed for a driver down South to qualify their car up towards the front of the field, and elect to start 10th in the feature to gain points. If you don’t want to start where you qualified, go to the rear instead of screwing with the starting positions of those who had to earn that 10th place starting position. Either that, or take the gamble and sandbag your qualifying efforts.

    3.) The policy on “Start & Park” cars should be handled the same way ruling a race that was affected by the weather official. If the driver didn’t run to the halfway point of the advertised distance of the race, then that driver shouldn’t receive points and shouldn’t be included in the car count that goes towards national points. That would be tricky, though. It would have to be proven that the car had no damage or mechanical failures, but then again, that can’t be too hard to figure out either.

    4.) Everyone knew about the start & park field filling going on down South, so the way I see, the Northern tracks/teams were fighting fire with fire. The biggest difference with that is, Thompson and Waterford didn’t stick Mini Stocks, Trucks, or Super Late Models in their SK Modified events, they stuck in SK Light Modifieds which can essentially be classified as under-powered SK Modifieds. Also, a good portion of those SK Light teams ran the entirety of those SK Modified events and even beat some SK teams. So yeah, there were some start & parks, but it definitely cannot be compared to what’s reportedly going on down South. So to put a simply response to those trying to bash Keith Rocco, Thompson/Waterford, or other Northern teams for supposedly “doing the same thing” as the “boys” down South – save it.

    Here’s another food for thought, some of the antics going on down South has Lee Pulliam shaking his head with disbelief. What kind of message does that send about integrity of the currently discussed Southern-based teams and race tracks?

  19. Mark Mockovak says

    I understand NASCAR has no interest in this. The sole purpose of the original Short Track National Champion back in the Winston Racing Series days was for the local track to use the marketing power of R.J. Reynolds and the collect some of the cash which poured into NASCAR, the tracks and the competitors. It never had anything to really do with trying to crown a champion. What I do find interesting now is Whelen’s silence on this. If you are going to give NASCAR money in order to “market” your product you’d think the folks in Chester would like to see someone in Daytona actually show a little concern about this. Brian France was outraged over the Michael Waltrip Chase fiasco. Integrity of the sport……. blah blah blah. For Whelen this is reflection on the “stakeholder” too.

  20. dlacoursiere, are you complaining that the guy that wins most of the time has to start 10th or worse? Don’t you think that because of the handicapping system that’s the way it works? Would you rather him start on the pole? That’s how it’s been for years. I’m assuming your a season ticket holder at the speedbowl. So let me ask you what sk lights or sk’s for that matter have been starting and parking all season? The 3 did it last season for the reason that he got whatever money that team was able to make for just starting the race. No reason to run 35 laps when the car can’t compete but can make a little cash.

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