A week after NASCAR's reluctance to call a caution for an oiled track at Watkins Glen cost him a top-10 finish, Jeff Gordon pleaded for more consistency from NASCAR officials.
Gordon – an avid sports fan – equated the non-call to a referee swallowing his whistle in the closing moments of an NBA game. So if that's the practice NASCAR wants to follow going forward, he said, the policy needs to stay the same from week-to-week.
"... One week it's ‘Let's throw a caution' and the next is, 'Don't throw a caution,'" he said. "I think that's the only thing that's discouraging at times is the lack of consistency."
What makes it challenging for race officials going forward is that their decision – or in this case, indecision – led to what was one of the more exciting finishes of the year.
"That was a fantastic finish to the race; very entertaining," he said. "It was great for the sport; great for Marcos (Ambrose) and even for Brad (Keselowski). That was cool."
However, what's good for some isn't necessarily good for others and in this case, Gordon came out on the short end of the stick. A balance needs to be struck between letting the race play out and officials intervening, he said.
"Somebody pays the price and those guys are not going to be happy with that and that's the way racing is," he said. "Not everyone is going to be happy with the way things ended up and I was one of those.
"But if I'm not a competitor out there, then I want to see these races not be controlled."
Gordon said he was unaware the track was oiled down because his team didn't tell him; his crew said later they didn't want to interrupt his concentration on the final lap.
"I can't change the outcome; if I felt there was a way to change the outcome and take back that last corner, I certainly would," Gordon said. "I was as dejected at the fact that it happened, as I was that they (NASCAR) allowed a car out there (leaking oil) without throwing a caution.
"...But that's racing. Yeah, I'm going to be mad about it at the time. I felt like I could have been a little more conservative in that last corner and come home eighth or ninth and that would have been a pretty solid day for us. But I was racing hard –probably harder than I should have been."