Wednesday, September 26, 2007


My regular reader knows that I am a Tony Stewart fan. Stewart, who finished third at Loudon, last week failed post race inspection for his car being too low at one fender. Under the watchful eyes of top NASCAR officials John Darby and Jim Hunter, the team was allowed to repair the race damage, and the car was reinspected, passing the inspection and resulting in no penalty.
Something similar went on in post-race inspection at Dover with the 99 team of Carl Edwards. His right rear fender was found to be too low, and, even though NASCAR officials found that the infraction was unintentional and not a CoT violation, Edwards was docked 25 championship points, and the team docked 25 owners points. We must be missing something here.
First of all, a low right rear fender would seriously effect the handling of the car, the wrong way. The car would push, meaning it would be difficult to turn in the corners, and would lose rear bite on the straightaways, making it very difficult to pass or avoid hazards. The penalty makes even less sense when considering this.
Right now, it seems like no biggy. It knocks Edwards from third in points to sixth, but still only 28 points behind championship leader The Gordon. As we have seen in the past, 25 points can be huge in the Championship Chase. In 2004, Jimmie Johnson lost the championship by to Kurt Busch by eight points. In 2005, Smoke won the championship by a mere 35 points over the tied second place of Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle.
I have read some comments claiming that the Edwards penalty shows that NASCAR is becoming more consistant, but how is that so? Where do you draw the line between unavoidable race damage and unintentional spec infractions? It now seems possible that NASCAR could use penalties to keep the points chase close, which would seriously compromise the value of the championship. We can only hope that this penalty is overruled by the appeals board. Otherwise, it is very wrong.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nascar has put themselves in this box....there is no allowance in the rule as it's written to cover accidental problems that are caused by wear and tear or crash damage.. the only out they can use is th at nascar's discretion part which they have abused in years past giving them a credibility problem...this is further magnified by the fact that the sanctioning body who does all the promoting etc.. is also the body that appies the rules...The officials of Nascar should be a seperate entity with complete independance....Having people who promote and market the sport should have nothing to do with officiating it..including being in the control tower...It leads to a pandoras box of credibility problems which is what they have now...