Woody: NASCAR Deserves Delay Of Game Penalty
Larry Woody | Senior Writer
This rant is not about whether Clint Bowyer and his team deserved to be penalized for using a cheated-up car to win last Sunday’s race at New Hampshire – I’ve always felt that if someone is caught cheating they should get hammered.
My gripe is that it took NASCAR three days to throw the flag.
For three days the media reported on Bowyer’s stunning upset, fans yapped about it and there was a general buzz about how the Chase for the Championship had been turned upside now. A tingle had been sent down the sport’s spine.
NASCAR’s late call penalized Bowyer 150 points and now he’s right back where he was, buried in last place and also minus a crew chief for the next six races.
Again, maybe it was deserved. If Richard Childress Racing deliberately cheated when it prepared Bowyer’s runaway Chevy, the team deserved what it got. And Clint, although he may be an innocent victim as he claims, knows that a driver and his team are entwined. They win together, lose together and cheat together.
If they indeed cheated, I have no sympathy for them.
I do have sympathy for all the fans who left the track Sunday believing they’d seen a remarkable performance that would have a major impact on this season’s championship battle.
I sympathize for the fans who watched on TV and continued to believe the finish and the point standings that NASCAR posted well into the week.
As for the media, we were bamboozled into filing false reports. Skeptical colleagues who for decades have looked down their noses at NASCAR were chucking in their cornflakes yesterday morning when they heard the news. Suddenly the “fastest-growing sport in America” seems about as well-organized and professional as a backyard softball game.
Don’t tell me NASCAR needed three days to make sure it got it right. If it takes a team of technicians that long to determine if a car is legal or not, it’s too close to call. Let it go.
In the NFL it’s called “lack of indisputable evidence” and the call on the field stands.
One of my pet peeves with local racing used to be that the announced winner often didn’t win the race. His car would be disqualified late that night after a lengthy post-race inspection. Fans left track not knowing who had won.
That might be excusable in some amateurish seat-of-the-pants operation, but not in NASCAR’s top division. Who’s in charge of NASCAR inspection? Goober?
The fans and the sport deserve better than that.
On top of it all – after all the embarrassment, penalties and scrambled standings – Bowyer STILL gets to keep the victory. If the infraction was serious enough to perhaps take away a championship, seems it would be serious enough to take away the win.
So now it’s on to Dover for Chase Race 2 with new, revised point standings.
Denny Hamlin is still the points leader. Or at least he was an hour ago. Who knows? By now NASCAR may have made another late call and kicked him back to last place.
– Larry Woody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments