Originally written on NASCAR Racing Scene  |  Last updated 10/11/14

CONCORD, NC - JANUARY 19: Carl Edwards leans on the #99 Scotts Turf Builder Ford during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway and held at the Embassy Suites on January 19, 2010 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)
It is no secret, NASCAR has had some credibility issues over the years.  Inconsistent calls from officials are almost expected.  On Saturday, NASCAR's credibility came into question once again. 

First, officials apparently gave Carl Edwards' spotter Jason Hedlesky inaccurate information when they supposedly told him that the No. 99 was the leader.  The No. 99 was also shown as the lead on the leaderboard. Therefore, Edwards took off like a rocket ship on the 317 restart while Stewart, the real leader, appeared to have spun his tires.  NASCAR black flagged Edwards, leaving the driver and his team utterly perplexed.  NASCAR stated that Stewart was indeed the leader and Edwards was in violation of jumping the restart.

While I see Edwards' frustration, it did appear that Edwards restarted earlier than he should have, even if he was the leader.  Nevertheless, NASCAR should at least acknowledge that they gave Edwards' spotter incorrect information.  To my knowledge they have not owned up to it.

With 14 laps to go, NASCAR threw a fifth caution flag, this time for debris.  Stewart was the leader and steadily sailing away from second place driver Kyle Busch.   While Stewart could have still won the race had his pit crew not flubbed the final pit stop, the victory was not in the bank as it was prior to the caution.  Busch's crew performed a swift pit stop, putting the No. 18 Toyota in the lead.  He easily won the race. 

Meanwhile, Stewart lost second place to Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Following the race, Stewart was seething, claiming the a water bottle sitting outside the racing groove was the reason for the caution. 

"(We) lost it on a plastic bottle on the backstretch," he said after the race.

While NASCAR officials stated that a piece of sheet metal was the debris, it was not confirmed by the ones who are the most important, and that is the fans. 

I have always said that if NASCAR feels the need to throw a debris caution, they need to alert the camera guys and put it on TV for all to see.  There are many times when the camera does focus on the debris, but all too often, we are left wondering, 'what's the real reason for the caution'?  I mean, how many fans really trust NASCAR's judgement? 

I understand that proof of debris will not fix all of NASCAR's credibility issues, but at least it will erase the notion that they manufacture cautions in order to bunch up the field.  As far as becoming credible with the fans, NASCAR has a steep hill to climb.
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