DAYTONA BEACH, FL :: The Inaugural Battle at the Beach at Daytona International Speedway began last night with the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model portion of the three division card.  The final two chapters will be played out tonight but already NASCAR has put themselves in a position not to call down drivers for last lap crashes.

In case you somehow missed it, last night, CE Falk III looked to have the 150-lap Late Model race in hand until Kyle Larson made a late race charge and eventually spun him in turn four coming to the checkered flag.  Actually, he spun him coming off of turn four after the two had both got straight.  Falk maintained a third place finish with Larson taking the checkered flag.

Most fans who follow the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and, in particular, the Late Model Stock Car division, which the top cars in this race were, expected NASCAR’s brass to take the win away from Larson.  That never happened and Larson will forever hold the first UNOH Battle at the Beach Late Model division trophy.  Falk on the other hand showed class and integrity not to retaliate or even speak ill of Larson post-race.

For those of you who are friends of mine on Facebook, you won’t be surprised by the fact that I have no problem with what Larson did.  It was a race that paid $15,000 to win and $4,000 for second.  Larson is a racer.  He did what he thought he had to do to win and he did win.  Falk, on the other hand, did everything he thought he had to do to win and came up short.  It’s just racing.

While I don’t have a problem with what Larson did, I am taking note of what NASCAR didn’t do.  Racers will be racers and they will fight for a win, a trophy and some cash in every imaginable way.  But, NASCAR is the sanctioning body that is supposed to keep these drivers in line when they feel they get out of hand.  However NASCAR didn’t do anything to Larson for the last lap incident.

This event replaced what used to be the Toyota All Star Showdown which was held for several seasons at Irwindale Speedway in California.  In one of those races, a young Joey Logano made a move very similar to the one Larson made last night.  Logano tangled with Peyton Sellers on the final lap of one of the races and, despite crossing the finish line first, the win was taken away.

Last night, that same call might have been appropriate for the situation with Larson and Falk.  Ben Rhodes, who led much of the first half of the race, would have been awarded the victory after he crossed the finish line in second position.  Things didn’t happen that way.  I don’t who was making the calls in the NASCAR Control room.  Maybe it was the head of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Lynn Carroll or maybe someone else.  Either way, it was a particularly bad no call.

Like I said, racers will be racers but someone has to be in charge and someone has to tell them when they’ve crossed the line.  Apparently, in the eyes of NASCAR, that move was alright and it didn’t cross the line.  I’m ok with that too but when it comes back to them over and over in future NASCAR Whelen All-American Series races, they better make the same call and make no call at all.