Thursday, June 18, 2009

Carl Long’s penalty reduced to 8-race suspension, but NASCAR still in danger water.

Welcome back ladies and gentleman, well I guess third time is a charm, the reason why I say that is this is the third time I have written on this Carl Long penalty from the first article I wrote here on RaceDriven called “NASCAR: Should we expect that this record penalty against Carl Long will be the normal penalty for everybody?”, then at the beginning of the month (June 2009) after the NASCAR appeals board heard the penalty and only reduced the suspension to the Cup Series, I wrote on this for a second time in an article I called “NASCAR and the appeals board gets it wrong with the Carl Long penalty.

So here we are again for the third and last installment because there’s no other options, since then after an unsuccessful appeal with the appeals board, Carl Long filed a final appeal with the Stock Car Racing commissioner Charles Strang and that final appeal was heard on Monday in Chicago, yesterday, the commissioner ruled and only reduced the suspension from 12-races to eight races, but the fine of $200,000 remains.

After hearing everything and reading the appeals stuff, here is where I stand as NASCAR fan:

First to me it doesn’t matter who the driver and team is, so Carl Long was just that person who made a mistake. NASCAR can’t play favorites, every driver and owner should be treated the same (we will see how true that is later).

Long’s engine was too big, even though it was only .17 cubic inches over, that still is too big and ultimately it is his responsible for his car and that includes the used engine that he purchased back in January, not the engine builder and it’s his job to make sure everything including the engine is correct with the rule book.

Second the penalty, a penalty that was and is warranted here, however not this extreme. Looking back at the penalties over the past year, NASCAR hit the mark on most of penalty from the $200,000 fine (NASCAR had fines the #66 and #70 teams $150k), so $200k fine is right in line. Docking the driver and owner 200 points each is right in line too, however here’s where the penalty goes wrong, the 12-race suspension that has been reduced to 8-races, that suspension includes the driver and owner, not just the crew chief and that’s where I am having a problem with it.

That brings me to my third point, the suspension in my opinion to include both the driver and the owner is very dangerous for NASCAR, if another team does this, NASCAR could have a serious problem on their hands 9what am I talking about, they already do), like it was mentioned before, if Chad Knaus for example makes a mistake, you could see (and will most likely see) not only Chad Knaus suspended for 8-races plus, but also the driver Jimmie Johnson and owner Jeff Gordon. NASCAR hasn’t suspended the driver and owner before and they shouldn’t have started here either.

This is a ticking problem (I would have used other words, but this is post 911, however you know what I am saying), I just hope NASCAR fans don’t see this result if another team does it.

Fourth, in light of this, NASCAR should be more transparent and before someone does something wrong again, we know that will sometime in the future, NASCAR should release what the penalties are going to be period, no surprises, just black and white.

Now finally in my opinion, the penalty should have been: $200k fine, docked 200 driver and owner points and 6-race suspension for the crew chief, not the driver or owner.

Now as for Carl Long, there are no more appeals, also the $200k fine is right on, so now it’s time to accept the penalty and move on.

To NASCAR, you have made your bed, now it’s time to lie in it and next time, I wonder who is going to get this penalty next, on the other hand don’t want to know.

And NASCAR wonders why they have a drop in TV ratings and attentions, NASCAR fans can’t stand this closed policy, fans just want NASCAR to be clear and fix a few things including these penalties and the ugly COT car just to name two.