Woody: Secret Fines, And Why Did Kyle Slide?
By Larry Woody | Senior Writer
A couple of things puzzle me about NASCAR’s handling of Richard Childress’ smackdown of Kyle Busch.
How come Childress’ $150,000 fine was made public when, according to reports, NASCAR kept quiet about a $50,000 it issued Ryan Newman for the same punching-a-driver offense?
Also: Why did NASCAR let Busch off Scot-free? There’s no question that he provoked the incident by bumping the RCR truck driven by Joey Coulter. Remember, Busch was on probation for his involvement in another fracas the week before.
Granted, the tap on the cool-down lap at Kansas Speedway wasn’t hard, but it was intentional, and it was hard enough to send the normally mild-mannered Childress over the brink. Since it was obvious that Busch instigated the whole thing, why wasn’t that a violation of his probation?
Back to the secret fine: NASCAR reportedly fined Newman $50,000 for punching Juan Pablo Montoya at Darlington earlier in the season but kept quiet about it – no announcement, no press release, no comment.
Yet it couldn’t wait to announce that it had fined Richard Childress for punching Busch. It even issued a statement.
Neither Newman nor NASCAR would confirm the rumored Newman fine, according to the Associated
Press. But they wouldn’t deny it either, and that makes everyone assume it’s true.
I can understand why Newman remained mum – he was probably ordered to button his lip. But if NASCAR didn’t issue the fine, why not simply say so? It could clear up the matter with one word of denial.
There were a couple of instances last season when fines reportedly were issued in secret. If that’s NASCAR’s policy, fine. But it should be consistent. I don’t understand why it makes public one fine for fighting and keeps quiet about another fine for fighting.
Is the purpose of the fine to punish the offender or to deter further incidents? Either way, you’d think that NASCAR would want to get the message out. I don’t see how secretly issuing a fine sends a message, except to that one individual.
And I don’t buy the suggestion that a team owner like Childress should be held to a higher standard than, say, a driver like Newman. They are both NASCAR competitors and a punch is a punch.
If NASCAR wants to protect its integrity and image it should be just as concerned about team owners who cheat as about a team owner who socks a driver. Some other high-profile owners – or at least their employees – have been repeatedly caught cheating in recent years. They didn’t get hammered like Childress, even though the black eye they gave the sport is a lot worse than anything Richard gave Kyle.
The messages are mixed and the waters are muddled.
– Larry Woody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments