Woody: The Poor Get Poorer And The Rich Get Warned
Larry Woody | Senior Writer
I still don’t understand exactly what went down last week when NASCAR warned a couple of championship contenders that they were about to step out of bounds.
But I’ve got a sneaking suspicion.
I think what we saw was yet another case of NASCAR looking out for the rich & famous – the same NASCAR that earlier this year hammered the poor & unknown.
Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson got a “warning” from inspectors that their cars were ‘close to failing inspection.”
I wasn’t aware that NASCAR had an early-warning system. I thought a car was either legal or illegal. I didn’t realize there was a third category, “barely legal.”
“There was no room to breathe,” said Sprint Cup director John Darby about the odd doings. “Both cars passed inspection or we would be having a whole new conversation.”
If the cars were legal, who cares if there was “breathing room?” That’s what mechanics are supposed to do – push the envelope right to the edge. If they go over the edge, then NASCAR is supposed to nail them.
As I read the story I wondered if Carl Long got a similar “warning.” Remember Carl Long? The NASCAR nobody who was given a veritable career death sentence for having an old clunker that narrowly flunked inspection at a non-points race in Charlotte.
Carl Long didn’t get a friendly warning from kindly inspectors. He got nailed.
NASCAR obviously wanted to make darn sure that Martin and Johnson, 1-2 in the standings, didn’t get caught with illegal cars. That would have put officials in an awkward position.
Having penalized Long and parked him for several races – zero tolerance, they said – they couldn’t allow Martin and Johnson to simply skate. NASCAR would have been forced to do SOMETHING.
Yet even the slightest penalty for the two frontrunners would drastically affect the standings and throw the air-tight championship chase into turmoil.
And so NASCAR decided it was better to issue a warning now than to be forced to write a ticket later.
I’m sure Mark and Jimmie are grateful. At the same time, I’ll bet Carl Long wonders what happened to HIS warning.
– Larry Woody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments