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Woody: Secret Fines, And Why Did Kyle Slide?

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, June 9 2011

Ryan Newman has been at the center of talk about super-secret fines being issued by NASCAR. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Sharon Ellman)

By Larry Woody | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

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

Richard Childress will talk to the media on Friday at Pocono about what happened last weekend at Kansas. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Gregg Ellman)

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 lwoody@racintoday.com

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, June 9 2011
7 Comments

7 Comments »

  • John says:

    So Kyle gets assaulted on pit road and pushes away Harvick’s car that was blocking him in. This gives him probation and 50K fine. Then Kyle gets assaulted near his hauler. Sucker punched no less. Why not have Childress arrested? It would have been a pisser seeing Childress in handcuffs. That’s a image Nascar would love.

  • Terry says:

    1. NEWMAN double secret pinky swear fine….per Mike Helton.
    2. Kyle slides just like Dale Sr. did…..no rules them
    ( per ESPN-SPEEDFOX- whoever writing checks )…..
    and rules for everyone else.

  • Kevin says:

    Simple answers.
    Newman vs Montoya happened in the NASCAR hauler where NASCAR has a policy. ‘What happens in the trailer stays in the trailer’ which is why people who have been called to the trailer never have anything substantial to say about what happened in it.

    Because there is only speculation about Newman punching Montoya the fine was secret. If NASCAR publicly fined Newman, they would have to state why and therefore break their own policies.

    Busch was let off scott free because he didn’t violate his probation. NASCAR has the ‘have at it boys’ rule in effect. Thereby, anything that happens on the track is not punishable. NASCAR has only handed out fines, probations for things that have happened on pit road or in the garage since they instituted the policy. Usually only when the safety of others is jeopardized. They have not weighed in on events occuring away from the track unless it is a violation of the substance abuse policy.

    I don’t see any mixed messages or muddy waters.

    • larry woody says:

      Kevin, thanks for clearing it up.

      If Childress had dragged Busch inside the NASCAR hauler and whaled the daylights out of him, that would have been OK, right?

      And I wasn’t aware that a race driver’s probation didn’t include anything that he did on a race track …

      Larry Woody

  • CloudDog23 says:

    Surely the alleged Newman incident took place in private, so the alleged fine was private.
    The Childless incident was public, therefore so was the fine.
    Seems simple to understand from here.

  • David Lessmann says:

    I’m glad Mike Helton is not my dad otherwise I’d be one screwed up kid based on the way he (NASCAR) doles out punishment. ;-)