And NASCAR can't take the plates off unless it figures a way to slow the cars, which nobody has been able to do at the two biggest and fastest tracks in the series.
But as Bowyer grumbled about how much idle time he spent at Daytona, where drivers run just a few laps of practice to tune their cars, then turn one lap on qualifying day, then sit and wait for the race to take it easy until the end, it became apparent the whole system is broken.
NASCAR will never cut races from 500 or 400 miles to a 25-lap shootout, but that's basically what they've become. Everybody sat around and waited three days to watch the final 25 laps of Saturday night's race.
At minimum, NASCAR should cut the plate events, excluding the Daytona 500, down to two-day shows for the Sprint Cup Series. No team is using all its practice time, making it pointless for everyone to be at the track all those hours.
As for the race itself? Who knows? There's no incentive to race early, and there's not much NASCAR can do to change that. For now, we know what we're going to watch four times a year. We'll sit and watch for some wrecks, then wait for it to get crazy at the end.
As he left the track with a second-place points on the same night teammates Danica Patrick and Ryan Newman both wrecked, Stewart accepted plate racing for what he's stuck with right now.
"With these things being as crazy as they are, if you can end up with a top-two, you're pretty happy when you leave here," he said. "One out of three isn't bad in the organization. The other two got wadded up pretty good."