Ingenious Cheats In NASCAR: Edition 4 – The Water Bottle Cautions

Published 12/31/2023, 1:51 AM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

NASCAR series are some of the toughest motorsports competitions in the world. Drivers and teams do whatever they can to get the upper hand on their rivals. More often than not, it involves resorting to tactics that may not be considered morally correct. One such event of drivers pushing the rules was water bottle cautions. Before the tactic was outlawed, there were several instances of water bottles lying on the track during a race.

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A lot of these tactics have been made illegal to uphold the spirit of the sport, but let’s face it, those moments sometimes did make a race quite exciting at times. But what were the water bottle cautions? Well, it’s quite simple if you think about it, but ingenious at the same time.

How NASCAR drivers used to manipulate cautions with the simplest of tricks

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Today, NASCAR races run over three stages, but this was not the case back in the day. Back when stage racing wasn’t a thing, NASCAR would often throw in the odd debris caution for pieces of trash or metal on the race track. This was something that a lot of drivers tried to take advantage of.

These debris cautions could be brought out for anything. So drivers decided to throw their water bottles out on the track and see if it would get the yellow flag out. The caution causes the whole pack to get close to one another. If a driver is not having a good run, something like this would massively help them out.

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These events have taken place in the 2000s and 2010s as well. One of the races that saw a lot of water bottles on the track was the one that took place in 2015 in New Hampshire. There were quite some water bottle situations. Since then, NASCAR made the point to not entertain water bottle cautions anymore.

Jeff Burton had jokingly given an effective idea of dealing with the issue of drivers throwing bottles. The bottles should be marked with the number of the respective car so that people immediately know who the culprit is.

The 2015 season really was the final straw for drivers manipulating cautions by throwing their bottles away. The tactic was subject to a lot of criticism and rightfully so. Eminent drivers had spoken up against the practice, including the likes of Dale Earnhardt Jr and Jimmie Johnson.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr had asked drivers to “keep their trash” amid water bottle debates in 2015

Junior and Johnson were both scathing with their criticism of the water bottle penalty. Dale Jr even said that drivers should keep their trash in the car instead of throwing them aside. The former 2-time Xfinity Series champion had commented on a tweet shared by Jimmie Johnson which said, “We all know a caution shouldn’t be thrown for a water bottle.”

“Totally agree. Keep it in the car. Toss it during a pit stop. Not all that difficult people. Worse than water bottles are the visor tear-offs at the events that start late evening. Folks need to keep their trash,” Junior opined. It’s safe to say that the veterans at the time absolutely did not approve of water bottle cautions and NASCAR followed suit.

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These days, purposely throwing a water bottle or anything onto the track can result in severe consequences. While race manipulation is not right, it did make some races entertaining from time to time. What are your views on the matter? Did you like seeing water bottle caution or was it just disruptive? Let us know what you think.

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh

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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath

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