The Frontstretch: Voices From the Heartland: NASCAR sends harsh message; cheating is ok redux by Jeff Meyer -- Wednesday February 15, 2006

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Ever get that feeling of déjà vu? The above headline (minus the redux part) appeared 11 months ago to the day, on this very space.

Last year, the incident involved Kevin Harvick’s Crew Chief, Todd Berrier. At the March 13th race in Las Vegas, Berrier was busted for altering the fuel cell to appear full during qualifying when in reality it was not. The incident was hailed, at the time, as the most blatant attempt at cheating since an infraction involving Jeremy Mayfield in 2000.

NASCAR’s response last year: "Guys have just got to stop playing games with the rules. We’ve got to do whatever we have to do to protect the integrity of this sport," said NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter. Oh yeah, they suspended Berrier for 4 weeks, fined him 25k and docked both Harvick and Richard Childress 25 points.

If you go back to my March 17th edition of Voices, you will see that I said then that the way to send a message to cheaters was to SEND THE ENTIRE TEAM HOME!

Now we come to the present day. In what NASCAR described as "˜a blatant attempt to break the rules’, Chad Knaus is ejected from all Speedweek activities after it is discovered that the rear window of the #48 has been elevated to deflect air off the rear spoiler.

NASCAR’s response: “This is a new season, a new day, and he (Mike Helton) is determined to get this season started off to where guys get the message that we’re not going to tolerate this,’’ said NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter.

I swear I have never seen a group of people so befitting of running for public office as the group that heads up NASCAR! Same old BS, year after year after year. Anyone want to wager against me that besides Chad’s ejection from Daytona, the rest of his penalties will pretty much mirror what was given to Berrier last year?

I said it last year and I will say it again. IF CAUGHT CHEATING DURING QUALIFYING, SEND THE ENTIRE TEAM HOME! Especially for a race like the Daytona 500, where so many non-locked in, LEGAL teams are vying for so few starting spots.

After I have said that for 2 years in a row now, there appears to be a slight chance that NASCAR officials are beginning the arduous task of pulling their heads out of whatever part of their (or each others) anatomy they have had them stuck in.

NASCAR series director John Darby, in a Tuesday interview, said that while NASCAR will continue to increase penalties to get their message across, they do not rule out the option of one day sending entire teams home for the weekend. Gee, I wish I’d have thought of that.

On a lighter note, I must point out something I found very amusing associated with this incident. Check out the latest "˜Top Ten’ list that I wrote for publication yesterday, specifically #1.

That list was written on Tuesday. The following is a Wednesday quote by Jimmie Johnson. "It’s something he feels terrible about. He’s at home going crazy over this. I would imagine he would come back more conservative."

Life is good!

Stay off the wall (and wave "˜Hello’ to Chad from the in-car camera),

Jeff

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Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

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