SONOMA, California – Fans watching the Bennett Lane Winery 200 saw one of the most exciting car somersaults in the NASCAR West Series’ history.
In the closing laps of the race Kevin O’Connell (in 7th position) and Jeff Jefferson (in 8th position) were coming out of a turn, when they were greeted with two wildly spinning cars. A chain reaction began as both drivers dodged the pirouetting cars and lost their road course rhythm which resulted in the spectacle of Jefferson’s airborne car and that led to a split decision among the West Series fans on which driver was right.
On the one side you have the Jefferson supporters that claim O’Connell was blocking. While the O’Connell supporters claim Jefferson refused to lift.
Both drivers' fans make a good argument with very strong support. But would they have the same opinion should the roles have been reversed, a few perhaps, but the majority would most likely still be defending their drivers.
Did either Jefferson or O’Connell do anything wrong? Not in the eyes of NASCAR. These drivers were guilty of hard racing, that's all--two drivers racing hard for the same spot at the same time.
…and the general consensus is with only a few laps left, aggressive racing for a good finish is fine.
As far as the arguments O’Connell should not have been racing that hard with a regular, well how is O’Connell going to have a chance at a top-five or a win if he can’t race a regular?
There have been plenty of crashes among regulars this season,….think Roseville, think Phoenix….or if you like think…Infineon!
Had O’Connell given Jefferson more room, had Jefferson lifted and let O’Connell by…sure it would have been a different ending. But in every accident there is responsibility by the driver for where they put their car, what they trusted. Dodging bullets is as important as being a bullet.
Infineon is known for dramatic racing and that is what the fans came to see. And as sorry as the fans are to see the cars of O’Connell and Jefferson torn up, the “Jefferson Airplane” gave fans a bit of excitement during the caution rich event, because they certainly didn’t see much racing.
Love it or hate it that is what it comes down to, entertainment. And that is what the fans pay to see or sit in front of the TV to watch…a race they will remember preferably with good passing and an exciting finish…but when that doesn’t happen…a car taking an Olympic high dive off a curb complete with flipping and twisting, may just be the next best thing.