The Frontstretch: Voices From the Heartland: It is official! I no Longer Care. NASCAR is a Joke. by Jeff Meyer -- Wednesday February 22, 2006

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I should have known better, but then again, I have always generally been an optimistic type of guy. I truly thought NASCAR might be at a turning point as far as fairness. I was (and this is only the second time I’ve said this in 4 years of writing this column) 100% wrong!

Last week, I said that Chad Knaus’ punishment would mirror that given to Todd Berrier last year for what NASCAR said was a blatant attempt at cheating during qualifying. Technically, I was right. Both were suspended and fined. But that is where the similarity ends. In the Berrier incident, Richard Childress was docked 25 owners points and Kevin Harvick was docked 25 drivers’ points. In the Knaus case, neither owner nor driver was docked points.

I defy ANYONE to explain the difference of the two violations to me. But wait, there is more"¦

In the NFL, there are two types of a facemask penalty. One that is deemed blatant, and one inadvertent. The penalties for said violations are 15 and 5 yards, respectively.

The opposite is true in NASCAR. Apparently an inadvertent violation is way more serious than a blatant attempt at cheating. Case in point, Terry Labonte and Hall of Fame Racing.

Hall of Fame Racing has its engines prepared by Joe Gibbs Racing. All HoF does is put them in the car, as was the case for this year’s Daytona 500 qualifying. Long story short, the prepared engine was found to have an unapproved carburetor and Terry’s qualifying time was disallowed, just as Jimmie Johnson’s was. So far, so good. Fair is fair…but this is where logic ends.

NASCAR fined Philippe Lopez (No. 96 crew chief) the same $25,000 as Chad Knaus AND docked Terry 25 points, as well as 25 points for the car owner!

Now, NASCAR knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that HoF Racing had no knowledge or anything to do with the carburetor. NASCAR also knows that Knaus’ violation was a blatant attempt at cheating! Why doesn’t Jimmie Johnson lose 25 points as well?

The reason, my fair reader, is simple. Terry Labonte and HoF Racing is not a threat (or who NASCAR wants) to be in the Chase.

It is my opinion that ANYONE who sees one bit of logic or fairness in NASCAR’s rulings of these two cases is a complete and utter"¦..well, let’s just say you ate a lot of paint chips as child.

Don’t misunderstand me. Jimmie Johnson won the Daytona 500 with a legal car. I am not denying him the victory. I AM saying that a box of hammers could do a better job of officiating and handing out penalties.

It is sad, but until there is some sort of common sense to come from the "˜powers that be’, NASCAR has officially become a joke in my book. I will still watch, but with the same sense of "˜sport’ as professional wrestling.

Until things change,

Stay off the wall.


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Today on the Frontstretch:
NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment
Truckin’ Thursdays: Top Five All-Time Truck Series Drivers
Going By the Numbers: A Week Without Racing Can Bring Relief But Kill Momentum


©2000 - 2008 Jeff Meyer and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

Colin Baird
02/23/2006 04:05 AM


First of all, I don’t think NASCAR is a joke, jokes are funny, NASCAR is certainly not funny. NASCAR is pathetic. You know as well as I do, NASCAR will come up with some lame assed excuse as to why the 48 car does not get docked any points. NASCAR will let Knaus off easy just like President Clinton left Rick Hendricks off easy. Both are crooked as a dogs hind leg and NASCAR has put themselves in the same category. They all sleep in the same bed.
Charlie D.
02/23/2006 04:24 AM

Haven’t you read NASCAR’s reasoning how the two infractions were different?

Knaus cheated with legal parts, Lopez cheated with illegal parts. Is that not clear to you? Don’t you see the difference?

Nah… me either!

I’ll agree that NASCAR has offically became the WWE of motor sports.

I just wonder how much the pay-per-view will cost.

02/23/2006 04:40 AM

Its very simple the #48 team did not use the illegal part in qualifying…they were caught beforehand….HOF did qualify with the illegal part so points were docked. Points were not docked in the #48’s case because it was caught early. This is constant with past penalties given out by NASCAR… I am no fan of the modern NASCAR but in this case they did what they have done in the past. Does this make it right?.....NO! and I agree that NASCAR would like to see certain teams in the chase. And NASCAR is becoming a big joke no doubt. This is why I will travel to see more sprint car races this year than I will NASCAR races…......Joe

02/23/2006 05:33 AM

I couldn’t agree more.Na$car has done everything they can to ruin racing. How about 35MPH during a green flag pit stop. No racing back to the yellow.The yellow line at Daytona and Tallegdega.etc. I used to be a loyal fan. Now I tape races. Then I fast forward and only watch the wrecks. Because the racing sucks. Lew

02/23/2006 06:01 AM

This is why I like Robby Gordon now, Nascar hates him, so I must pull for him. Unless you drive for one of the top teams you will never get a fair chance in CRAPCAR.

02/23/2006 06:50 AM

you were sleeping weren’t you joe, the inspector caught the for lack of a better word “window riser” AFTER qualifying

02/23/2006 07:07 AM

NASCAR’s penalty pattern

Points penalty: In simple terms, here’s the pattern. If you maliciously put something on a car that’s made or machined, and it’s an unapproved piece that can be confiscated, the team will be fined, the crew chief will be suspended and the driver and owner will lose 25 points.

No points penalty: If you take something that’s already on the car and use it to beat the spirit of the rule, then it warrants a suspension and a fine, but it does not warrant the loss of 25 driver and owner points.

There is your explanation. PER Nascar rules the #48 car fell under the “NO POINTS PENALTY” rule

Brad Arthur
02/23/2006 07:39 AM

Hey Joe,
I have a math question for you.
Rick Hendrick+Chad Kanaus+Jeff Gordon+Jimmie Johnson+Nascar=Money And Cheaters.
That is what they want.

02/23/2006 07:42 AM

Just a question. If the 48 was caught BEFORE qualifing and they didn’t use the illegal part why was their qualifing time disallowed and Chad kicked out??????????????
Just wondering how that works.

02/23/2006 08:12 AM

Remeber: It’s all about the money. Fans be damned. The sponsors pay the bills. LOWES = BIG $$$$$$

Bob Uss
02/23/2006 08:17 AM

Wonder why Stewart wasn’t fined or disqualified for intentionally taking Kenseth out? That looked to me like attempted manslaughter at 190 mph. And he ADMITTED IT!
Money talks. NASCAR has favorites.

02/23/2006 08:20 AM

So putting a sleeve on the trackbar adjusting bolt is considered a “legal” part? Then why any penalty at all? Get real! It was not considered an illegal part because it was a Hendrick car. Colin made a good point about Rick Hendrick. His teams will always cheat because he is a crook.

02/23/2006 08:24 AM

What a sad commentary on a sport that used to be racing. Ol Curtis Turner must be turning 10 grand in his grave. What you have is a bright young MBA graduate who sees the bottom line more than he sees racing. In the old days, it was innovation and intelligence ie Smokey Yunik, Lee Petty, The Woods, Jr. Johnson, who took innovation and the rule book and made cars that would whup the opposition. Back then it was exciting, it was innovative and a guy with guts and yes balls could win. As far as the 48 car, jim summed it up pretty well, Lowes=$$$$$ for the France family. Who ever said that cheaters never prosper. Either enforce the rules equally to all, or throw the damn book away and run whut ya brung.

David Stoll
02/23/2006 08:41 AM

You’ve said your piece. NASCAR is a joke. You no longer care. Now quit writing about it and go away.
I hear the sport of Curling can use a few good writers.

02/23/2006 08:44 AM

If you think the 48 team cheats, let Lowes know how you feel. They are the ones providing the money that enables it.

hazel proctor
02/23/2006 09:25 AM

i too agree with every thing you said in fact i wrote to to tell him how i felt about the cheating ,it’s not like this is the first time he was caught, but this ron seems to be the only guy that thinks punishment was right.nascar picks and choose and it will not be any hendricks team that will be punish

02/23/2006 09:26 AM

Well i think you need to find a different line of work then and all these others out here that are crying need to find a new sport out there but i bet they won’t so they can keep crying,go away if you are unhappy with nascar.

02/23/2006 10:11 AM

DAVY AND CRAIG you don’t have to read his article if you dont like it. You guys must be YIMMY fans.

02/23/2006 10:27 AM

Hey Lew
You would think that someone would get Robbie’s comments after every race. Tell it like it is no doubt. Now that would be fair and balanced comments.

02/23/2006 10:57 AM

Amen brother!!
next year = “WTF is nascar?” for me after 30 years following it.

Mad Mikie
02/23/2006 11:59 AM

Since the new regime came to power, racing has taken back seat to making money. The France family has been partial towards one make of car over the years. And they’ve also been partial to certain drivers, providing those drivers are helping to fill the family treasure chest with dubloons and pieces of eight. We’ve all seen drivers/teams that should’ve been penalized and weren’t. We’ve also seen teams who were penalized for no apparent reason. There is no fair and balanced assessment of the penalties. It’s mainly judgement calls in a lot of cases. Unless a driver comes out and says “Yes, I did it” and fans raise hell about it like they did with Jr and his intentional spin, the boys down in Daytona will keep taking care of their chosen ones and putting the screws to the ones on their bad boy list or the ones who aren’t filling the company coffers. It’s all about the Benjamins.

02/23/2006 12:27 PM

Let me throw another log on this fire. How fair is it that if you are found to be guilty of aggressive driving under green. it’s a pass down pit road (definitely going a lap down). But if your aggressive driving causes a caution, then your panalty is the end of the longest line (still on the lead lap). So drivers should learn a lesson from NA$CAR’s ruling on Sunday… If you’re gonnna be aggressive, be aggressive enough that it causes a caution.

02/23/2006 12:49 PM

Craig, you must be in marketing with that attitude. Remember this, when all the fly by night fans and spur of the moment fans no longer follow Nascar because it’s not the THING to do anymore, the old and long time fans will be able to say ” you should have cared a little less about the cash and cared a little more about what got you here. THE FANS” So today I raise my finger tall and straight to you and the NEW nascar.

02/23/2006 01:45 PM


02/23/2006 01:52 PM

Amen! Oh and big fat hairy deal if they didn’t make it out on to the track to qualify or not. The intent to cheat was there on a team that has been busted for it 8 times in the past. Enough is enough.

After Helton’s redneck comments, it let’s us know exactly what NASCAR, the entity, thinks of it’s paying fans.

I’ve had about all I can stand!

02/23/2006 02:16 PM

We can’t do anything about it so quit bitching and go racing. If any one of you people owned a business, you would run it the way you want. You wouldn’t let anybody tell you how to run it. Like any business, NASCAR is in business to make $$$. Last time I checked, that’s the reason for being in business. If you don’t like it, don’t watch !!

02/23/2006 02:32 PM

an explanation

J. Meyer
02/23/2006 02:53 PM

In response to the above explanation…...
If NASCAR higher ups were judges, by NASCAR logic, if I shoot my neighbor with my LEGAL handgun, that is ok. I used a LEGAL firearm.
If I shoot my neighbor with a sawed-off shotgun, that is murder because the firearm in question is ILLEGAL.
What a CROCK!

Thank you ALL for your responses! No matter what side of the fence you fall on.

02/23/2006 04:00 PM

In every sport bad calls are made. Things do even out. Despite all the crying Nascar will grow and grow and grow.They must be doing something right.

02/23/2006 05:47 PM

Rick Hendrick is a convicted felon and encourages such. He learned how to cheat and make money and now teaches it. Some $ goes to NASCAR as a way of reducing fines. No question about it.

02/23/2006 07:07 PM


I think we all share the same view, and that is Dollars and Power equals a blank check in todays Nascar, Lowes should be livid the word cheaters is associated with their name. I know i would want to know what the hell is going on if i was puting my millions out there and i would demand the crew chief be removed from the car i was sponsoring, but like everything else Nascar does if they wanted some else to win they make sure they would but they are in bed with Hendrick and i guess the lip service is good cause they are really screwing the loyal fans
02/23/2006 08:05 PM

As longgggg time was always interesting to see who could get away with what..was it cheating??? or finding loopholes in the rules book. Should the 48 car had been penalized more.YES..Should the 96 car had been penalized even though they got the engine from JGR..of course…even if it was to say thats what you get for not going thru what you bought from someone else. Do the Lords of Daytona Beach play favorites??..probably, but it would be very hard to prove it Lets face it old timers…the racing we knew from decades past is gone forever, just as it is in openwheel racing…As I cant afford my own racecar, I still go,but the days of being a Kool-aid drinking (Jonestown reference) fan are gone for me. Look alike cars…look alike tracks…lets face it. Like the France family did to road racing with the bogus Daytona prototype cars…they have created a 36 week IROC schedule…a sport where more care about the drivers than the cars or where they race

Fat Brad
02/24/2006 12:16 AM

The 48 didn’t run with the illegal rear window contraption in qualifying? huh? If they had caught it before qualifying they would have made them fix the car and if they couldn’t get it done in time then they would not have a qualifying run.

What’s so fantastic about it is that Knaus obviously made the change AFTER the car went through the garage for pre-qualifying inspection and prior to Johnson’s run.

HoF Racing never even looked at their carb (supplied by Joe Gibbs, with the engine). They get a $25,000 fine and 25 points docked. Knaus changes his car in a clear attempt to circumvent the rules between inspection and the 48’s qualifying laps, het gets the same fine, a suspension, but no points docked.

Never before have 2 penalties been so reversed.

Knaus knew what he was doing, just like he has every other time he’s been caught, but Knaus apparently has compromising photos of someone in the France family so he escapes with all of his points.

It’s like the famous Jerry Tarkanian quote about the NCAA: “They (the NCAA) are so mad at what’s going on at Kentucky that they slapped Cleveland State with 2 years probation”

I love NASCAR, but it’s blatantly obvious that they have 2 sets of rules.

02/24/2006 09:34 AM

Another case of Earnhardt syndrome. Yes Dale was good but how often did he get points taken away. NASCAR has found a new poster child who can do no wrong. As for Lowes I think it’s time for them to step up like Home Depot did and fine the team, it is their rep on the line. Also if Chad and Hendrick keep cheating NASCAR should park the team for a few races. Look @ what that did to Harvick.

02/24/2006 11:05 PM

Points should have been taken. Period. That’s the standard that NASCAR set in the past…but once again, they blew it.


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

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