This Week’s Fast Thoughts by Chris Wilbers | Auto Racing

1 Unfortunately for Richmond Raceway, Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 lived up to its slogan of “Chaos at every corner.” Between the rogue ambulance driver who parked his vehicle in the entrance to pit road and a caution created by Derrike Cope — that eventually led to Martin Truex Jr. steaming as much as his crumpled car — the series has had better moments. Some people took NASCAR to task for not giving Truex his regular-season championship trophy a week earlier at Darlington, because the photo taken after Saturday’s race looked as if Truex had just been served a court summons. A couple of points worth noting:

a) NASCAR changed its scoring rules this year to avoid what happened with Cope. Drivers who finish 36th through 40th receive the same number of points — 1 — so there was no benefit for Cope remaining on the track at that time. He was laps down and couldn’t have gained any more points. Should NASCAR black-flag those drivers at the end of races if the only effect they can make is an incredibly negative one? Perhaps. But that’s also on Cope and his former crew for not recognizing the situation and getting off the track when there was nothing to be gained. (Cope was released from his ride with Premium Motorsports on Sunday.)

b) Had NASCAR awarded Truex his trophy after Darlington’s race, the situation would have been … Truex reacting moments after his car hit the wall and he lost what appeared to be a sure victory only a few laps before. Sound familiar?

Regardless, maybe next year’s slogan at Richmond should be “Where everything unfolds exactly as it’s supposed to.”

2 A few other random thoughts: As large as Truex’s lead is in the playoff points, it could have been significantly larger with a bit more luck the past two weeks. Larson’s victory Saturday essentially served as a…

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