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Woody: NASCAR Deserves Delay Of Game Penalty

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, September 24 2010

Clint Bowyer takes tires and fuel en route to winning Sunday's Chase-opening race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. (Photo by Tom Whitmore/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Larry Woody | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

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.

How absurd.

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.

Never mind.

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 lwoody@racintoday.com

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, September 24 2010
5 Comments

5 Comments »

  • SB says:

    There is something inherently wrong when it takes 3 days and an entire teardown to determine if a car is ‘illegal’ or not. Either Nascar needs to loosen up their rules, or they should have to ship all their equipment to the track to make the determination there. If a car passes pre and post race inspection, then to me that should be it.

  • Marybeth says:

    Larry,
    I watched Speed’s coverage this morning during practice. They played parts of Clint’s interview. Clint referred, a couple of times, to the fact that he was Ok until “rumors” were going around. He did not explain what the rumors were or who started them. Do you know…? Thanks, Marybeth

  • Rory says:

    Why even have a race these days…
    NA$CAR can’t get out of their own way.
    Just have a “NA$CAR Car Show”.
    Have all the cars come to the track and be inspected, who ever is closest to inspection rules and regulations without going over tolerances that day wins.
    Just think of all the money teams could save on fuel and tire costs.

    I think Bowyer is right about NA$CAR using him as a scapegoat and made an example of, just like they did to Mayfield for the bogus test results of him being a METH addict.

    It was so nice of NA$CAR informing them they were close to tolerances…
    Isn’t that what the fab shop gets’ paid to do? Get as close as possible?

    In my opinion – tolerances should not be the same for pre-race and post-race inspection. DUH.

    Give me a break NA$CAR!

  • mrclause says:

    Nascar doesn’t get it and they never have where the fans are concerned. They have always been dictators and had agendas that they believed in filling. NASCAR comes first, excuse me, dollars come first! They put people in place like Pemberton who oozes arrogance and who I have never seen admitting to a single incorrect thought or action since being given his current title.

    For what is supposed to be the preeminent racing series in the country to have to take a race car to another inspection in the middle of the week following any race and then to announce it failed there after passing inspection at the track, after the race, is pathetic. Fans can’t help feeling there is major BS or favoritism being played out. Credibility? NASCAR has none!

    Odd that NASCAR can’t see the declining TV ratings, the track attendance falling, as a direct result of their in house stupidity. I find it very difficult to believe that RCR took a car to any race where they have been warned that no matter where it finishes, it’s going to the R&D center to be torn down and inspected again and not be certain that it is as it’s supposed to be.

    But then RCR does get a chance at an appeal process!!!! Oh wow! This will be heard by people chosen by who? NASCAR of course! No chance of a lop sided decision there!! Here’s a thought, why can’t NASCAR pick a rotating group made up of car chiefs, engineers, crew chiefs, determined over the winter and printed up for all to see then have those people be the deciding factor of any appeal? But then NASCAR would have to produce actual proof of their claim of cheating instead as Pemberton stated about RCR, it was up to them to prove they had it right. NASCAR has always favored themselves in any decision and haven’t been concerned with how the teams or fans viewed it.

    This Bowyer win was a bright spot for NASCAR and they blew it. If a car passes inspection two or three times at the track that should be the end of it. To find fault three days later at their R&D center is unfair at best. Nothing they found at the R&D center couldn’t have been found at the track, especially when they knew exactly what they were looking for!!! This almost smacks of being something personal between NASCAR and RCR. Then add the refusal of NASCAR to give specifics of the infraction. The show stinks NASCAR and Bill Elliot didn’t have anything to do with it!