Bowyer Says NASCAR Made Example Of Him
By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer
Dover, Del. – Denny Hamlin was socked with a $50,000 secret fine by NASCAR earlier this year for being openly critical of the sanctioning body.
But that seemed to matter little to Clint Bowyer, who showed up at Dover International Speedway Friday morning with a long list of bullet points on why NASCAR erred in hammering his No. 33 team with a huge penalty following his win in New Hampshire on Sunday.
The Kansas native contended that his Shane Wilson-led team went to great lengths to make certain his winning Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet was legal before it left their shop in Welcome, N.C. last week.
After being warned by NASCAR that the No. 33 car was too close to tolerances two weeks ago in Richmond, Bowyer said his team knew in advance his New Hampshire car would be taken by NASCAR to their R&D center in Concord, N.C. for additional inspection.
“We were told by NASCAR they are taking the car after New Hampshire, no matter what,” Bowyer said. “Who in their right mind, knowing that they’re going to take that car, wouldn’t have made triple-sure that the car was right before it went to the race track?
“How can a car pass pre and post-race inspection and three days later get such a huge fine? They took the car complete apart to measure this thing and, in my opinion, that’s not the way the car was raced on the race track.”
Bowyer claimed on Friday that other competitors are pushing the envelope on tolerances. He believes his No. 33 team was used as the scapegoat to send a message to others in the garage.
“Once the rumors started (on Monday), it wasn’t long before the penalty (was issued),” Bowyer said. “I think NASCAR has a lot of problems with a lot of cars on the race track being out of the box and I just think they needed to set an example.
“I don’t think the penalty fit the crime. Sixty-thousands of an inch. Less than the thickness of a quarter resulted in a 150 point fine. Ask yourself if that was a performance-enhancing thing.”
Bowyer stayed with the RCR company line that the push his Chevrolet received from a tow truck on Sunday after running out of fuel while performing burnouts contributed to the height issue.
“My dad owns a towing business. I know a little something about wreckers,” Bowyer said. “About 15 years ago, they took their push bumpers off the front of them for this very reason.
“I remember when we used to push people out of the snow banks. You’d push them out of the snow banks, and two days later they ‘d show up with a body shop bill in their hand wanting you to pay the body shop bill for the damage you did to the back of their car.”
RCR will appeal the penalty, which included a deduction of 150 points, a $150,000 fine and the suspension of the crew chief and car chief.
“I’m angry about the whole thing,” said Bowyer, who now has three career Sprint Cup victories. “This tarnished my win. It’s something you’re very proud of. I’m angry for my fans. I’m angry for my sponsors. I’m angry about it. I think there are a lot of things that people don’t know about, me included.
“I found myself, all week, instead of celebrating a win trying to figure out what the hell (NASCAR) was talking about.”
– Jeff Hood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments