The Frontstretch: Relax! The Ever Benevolent NASCAR Has Everything Under Control ... Or Do They? by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday February 5, 2009

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Relax! The Ever Benevolent NASCAR Has Everything Under Control ... Or Do They?

Voices From The Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday February 5, 2009


While NASCAR’s CEO Brian France has been accused of being many things, no one can say that he — and the many minions that surround him — are lazy. After all, running a profit mill, saving the economy, making our skies safer, and adding to the problem of global warming every time he opens his mouth is a full-time job! As Brian said himself last Fall…

“Running the sport from a policy standpoint and interacting with our partners to make sure we are doing everything we can, that really happens during the week. So if you saw me every day, that wouldn’t — that’s not going to change what happens Monday through Friday. That’s when you really need to see me. And it’s impossible for you to see me.”

Well, even though Brian has been busy not being seen when he should be seen, here is what he and NASCAR have been up to these last few months, even though we couldn’t see him.

First off, last May I reported that NASCAR had become involved in the investigations of airplane crashes. Yes, it was one of their own planes; but nonetheless, NASCAR decided that they could figure out who to blame for it a lot better than the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), who usually handles such matters.

Brian France has been busy during the NASCAR offseason, giving Jeff Meyer fodder for another column.

Without rehashing the whole story again at this time (yes, that means go back and hit the link provided!), NASCAR quite promptly blamed the manufacturer of the plane (Cessna) for using sub-standard wiring. Meanwhile, even though NASCAR found no fault towards its own personnel for causing the crash, they did instruct their insurance company to “settle” with a few of the families who tragically lost loved ones in the whole ordeal. After all, they do have a big heart.

“Certainly, no one wanted to make the families on the ground wait for payment,” said NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston when asked why a claim of “no fault” still led to an out-of-court settlement with those involved. “It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to make payment and then seek reimbursement later.”

That “reimbursement” was sought this last November, when NASCAR sued Cessna, claiming that the airplane was “unreasonably dangerous and defective” while Cessna’s instructions, warnings, inspections, and repairs for the aircraft were inadequate.

In fact, that lawsuit goes on to say… “The incident was entirely due to the negligence or fault of (Cessna), and not the negligence or fault of (Competitor Liaison Bureau, Inc.) or NASCAR.”

Well, that certainly is a surprise, ain’t it!? NASCAR’s aviation wing did no wrong!

So, imagine the sanctioning body’s surprise (and their insurance company’s) when the NTSB released their summary findings about the entire incident last month. Well, I guess no one at the NTSB is as stupid as NASCAR thinks the rest of us are, because they came to 13 conclusions regarding the incident — most of which were radically different from what NASCAR initially presented.

Here’s some quick highlights from what they found: (1) The weather radar system anomaly that was experienced and formally documented by the NASCAR company pilot the day before the accident could have developed at that time into a significant in‑flight smoke and fire event; however, the anomaly was temporarily alleviated when the company pilot pulled the related circuit breaker.

(3) Without examining the weather radar system, and then either removing the airplane from service or placarding the airplane and collaring the circuit breaker, as well as making a maintenance records entry, it was not permissible to fly the airplane under Federal regulations.

(4) The pilots accepted the airplane as made available by NASCAR management and maintenance personnel, despite the fact that no diagnostic, corrective, or interim maintenance action had been taken to address the discrepancy, and

(12) Although the NASCAR’s corporate aviation division’s standard operating procedures included procedures designed to ensure that airplane maintenance discrepancies would be properly addressed and airplane airworthiness maintained, there was no formal method for determining and ensuring that an airplane was safe for flight; thus management, maintenance, and flight operations personnel allowed the operation of an airplane with a known and unaddressed discrepancy.

That led to the NTSB’s final findings: “…that the probable causes of this accident were the actions and decisions by (emphasis mine) NASCAR’s corporate aviation division’s management and maintenance personnel to allow the accident airplane to be released for flight with a known and unresolved discrepancy, and the accident pilots’ decision to operate the airplane with that known discrepancy — a discrepancy that likely resulted in an in-flight fire.”

“This accident is especially tragic not only because lives were lost and people were grievously injured, but because it could have been so easily avoided,” NTSB Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker said.

Shortly after the release of the report, spokesman Ramsey Poston largely downplayed NASCAR’s previous discrepancies with the board, saying that the probe “was largely about finding ways to make aviation safer, and we support that effort. We have worked closely with aviation industry experts to improve our safety management systems so as to prevent an accident like this from occurring in the future. Our thoughts continue to be with those whose lives were affected that day.”

Meanwhile, back at Daytona in the France’s ivory tower, Brian was busy trying to convince our government to save the auto industry — thus saving the rest of us. The following are some excerpts of Brian’s letter to Congress.

“I’m writing you as a concerned American who wants what is best for our general country. Of course, the domestic automobile manufacturers play a very important part of the heritage of NASCAR; but more importantly, it is vital for all of America.”

“For these manufacturers to survive, your assistance is urgently needed. By immediately supporting America’s automobile industry, you can help our nation avoid a devastating economic blow. We urge the Administration and Congress to support the bridge loan package under deliberation. As unattractive as the idea of corporate federal bailouts can be to many Americans, including me, there appears to be no alternative. Federal aid is in the best interest of the entire country.”

Can you believe that Brian France wrote that? Who’d have thunk that the man who has been quoted so many times in this very column, just for the sake of making fun of his gibberish, nonsensical speech, could actually WRITE so eloquently!!

Perhaps we could get him to write for us!

Stay off the wall!

Jeff Meyer

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02/05/2009 08:23 AM



I have stated before that NA$CRAP expects ALL TEAMS, CREWS, DRIVERS, to totally obey without question the “rules” of the game! (whatever they may be on any given date).

And Brian and the rest of the NA$CRAP brain far*s have no hesitation to ruining a crew members reputation, by fining, by suspending, by escorting out of a speedway, by placing on probation, by taking away their licences, and by deducting points for the minutest of infractions!

But Brian himself, is apparently above and beyond ANY penalties being the “person-in-charge of NA$CRAP flight services!

And then LIES about the true circumstances of the crash!

MMMM, wonder what he really does Monday thru Friday? Simply count his money and grab another drink?

He sure isn’t paying attention to business! The business we all lust for!

02/05/2009 09:55 AM

Brian France continues to amaze me – it is rather sick that someone who is so ineffectual as a human being was chosen by a very astute man to ‘run’ NASCAR – and the evidence lies not only in his ‘live speak’ but also in his ‘written speak’so its patently obvious he did not write the letter urging the gov. to back the car industry. NASCAR’s investigation into the crash? Big bloody mistake – so now he has to backpeddle. He always looks so befuddled when on TV or in pictures and even though looks should have nothing to do with a person or a person’s character, in this case what you see is what you get. Amazing that the Brd. of Directors doesn’t remove him from his post and let him continue his relaxing and ineffective life. Oh well, here we go again! Thanks Jeff!

02/05/2009 10:31 AM

It would seem like NA$CAR knew who was to blame for this horrible accident, and I quote from Jeff’s May 15, 2008 article:

“Mike Klemm, (one of the fatalities) — someone who did hold an ATP, was also personally told by NASCAR Aviation Chief Pilot Van Brendle about the problem with the radar that had occurred the day before.

Mike Klemm, when told by Aircraft Technician Juan Solis that there was a discrepancy with the aircraft before the flight, was quoted as telling Solis: “I know about the radar, I don’t give a shit about that, I’m taking the airplane.”

It appears to me that all NA$CAR was interested in doing was covering their collective asses. I sure as hell hope the families and the survivors on the ground that were involved in this tragedy have secured the best lawyers in the land to take NA$CAR to the cleaners.

Brian France is an idiot and a huge liability. He has virtually single handedly destroyed NA$CAR. I have a sneaking suspicion the final results of this catastrophe will be yet another huge nail in the coffin for a once great sport.

02/05/2009 01:33 PM

Nascar PR reminds me of the now defunct Soviet Union.
You can’t believe a word they say about anything and the story changes and becomes more unbelievable over time.

It is basically all BS, all the time.

None of us should be surprised or caught off guard by Brian’s appearance and actions.

One can go into any drug or alcohol rehab clinic and witness displays of the same confusion and befuddlement that Brian has.

And excuses.

It does make one wonder what Bill France was thinking; I mean, by all accounts he put the wrong kid in charge.

Could Lesa do any worse?

don mei
02/05/2009 04:23 PM

Will I watch Daytona this year? Probably; its still cold in Connecticut this time of year and my garage is unheated so I might as well curl up on the sofa with the Sunday Times and kind of glance over at the TV set now and then to see whats happening. And after Daytona? To be honest, after being a NASCAR fan for 30 plus years my interest is waning. The chase, the generic and boring COT, the lack of leadership at the highest levels all contribute to my declining interest. Maybe the last straw is all the jockeying and gamesmanship to acquire a spot in the top 35. This is racing? This is sport? Spare me.
Oh Ill watch Sonoma and The Glen because I’m an old road racer myself and I have raced at both those tracks. Might watch Bristol too…but after last year’s farce, I might not. I sure do hope someone with a brain takes over the running of Nascar soon, before it sinks to the level of a Saturday night shorttrack. Too bad..It was fun once.

02/05/2009 04:29 PM

Hey Don Mei!

Meet another “old” road racer. Been to the Glen, but not Sonoma, but have raced at Laguna Seca.

Just information, nice to meet ya!

Master Braytak
02/05/2009 10:39 PM

I think Brian France hangs out with Michael Phelps Monday through Friday.


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
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Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.