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Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Wednesday May 10, 2006
As long time readers of this column know, I am a diehard Dale Jarrett supporter. I am not fanatical about Robert Yates Racing, and certainly not a fan at all of Ford…but I like Dale Jarrett.
The news of the penalties levied against Dale Jarrett, crew chief “Slugger” Labbe and Robert Yates this week really caught me by surprise. I might have been more prepared had I not missed the first half of last Saturday’s race, and noticed that Dale was starting at the rear of the field. My absence can be attributed to the fact that I, armed with a beverage, a handgun, and a plastic bag, was out hunting morel mushrooms and wild asparagus. (The beverage, when empty, provides a target for the handgun in case you are wondering.)
In columns past, while I have been very vociferous about certain teams and their tendency to be fined/docked points and suspended, I have also tried to be unbiased and hand down my rulings solely based on fact. Remaining unbiased hasn’t always been easy though because, much to my delight, the teams that seem to garner those headlines are ones that I have no love for anyway. This time however, the shoe is on the other foot. It is my favorite team in the headlines.
So, before some “previously insulted by Jeff Meyer fan” out there starts sending me email saying "Oh yeah!? What you got to say now, big boy?!", I will state my position regarding the No. 88 infractions.
The deduction of 25 driver points, while hard to swallow, is necessary. Same goes for the owner points deduction. Thanks to plenty of precedent pioneered mostly by teams I love to loathe, I’ve got to accept it. The suspension of the crew chief, however, is another thing entirely. All the necessary facts concerning the piece in question (a rear sway bar mounting) are, at this time, unavailable to us mere mortals, making it impossible to render an unbiased judgment. A continuance must be granted.
“Obviously, in this case, we interpreted the rules differently from NASCAR,’’ owner Robert Yates said. “But because of the lack of a clear-cut understanding on our part, we believe we have grounds for appeal and have started that process.’’
If future facts should reveal that this infraction is in fact an attempt at gaining an unfair advantage, (aka cheating!) then the crew chief should definitely be suspended. The real question, to me anyway, is WWRD? (What Will Robert Do?)
“If it was [an infraction] with a clear written rule against it, and he didn’t tell me about it, because I wouldn’t approve that, I’d have fired him, yes,’’ Yates said.
Don’t be misled; Robert isn’t talking about Labbe in the above quote. That is what Yates said in February about crew chiefs in general after Chad Knaus was thrown out of Daytona and suspended for 4 races.
As I said in the beginning, I have no special loyalty to Robert Yates just because he employs Dale Jarrett. I am a fan of the driver, not the organization. In my perfect world, Jarrett drives a Chevy. However the facts pan out, be it cheating or a simple "˜pushing of the envelope’, the proper decision by Robert Yates will go a long way in me becoming not only a Jarrett fan, but also a Yates fan.
I hate it when it’s my team under the gun! Good luck Robert…the NASCAR world is watching.
Stay off the wall,
©2000 - 2008 Jeff Meyer and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I just don’t know how Nascar can do this to DJ and RYR, when they didn’t do it to Jimmie Johnson. Same type penalty, different team. Just like they didn’t do anything to Kyle Busch. Unbelieveable!!!!!!!
We too, are loyal Dale Jarrett fans. I have to say I was a little taken aback with Yates response in regards to appealing considering Yates was one of the “loudest” complainers and Knauss basher’s out there during the “Chad” ordeal. Will he fire Labbe to save face? I hope not. Creative Engineering is how advances in the sport happen, and have been, are, and will continue to be done. “Cheating” is part of the Sport. NASCAR is just looking a little closer and levying fines a little more. Pushing the edge happens on every team. It’s a matter of getting caught. You play, you pay. This isn’t Church. Self rightiousness in Yates case has bit him in the rear. I am glad to see that Yates’s nose is brown like everyone elses. At least someone was trying to help Jarrett’s performance and stability. Dale Jarrett deserves an organization that will help him to perform in the manner he is capable of. Although I have some reservations about Toyota, I would like to see Jarrett go to Toyota at this point…and take UPS with him.
The sway bar was in the wrong position AND the sway bar was too thick. A sway bar is suppost to sway and the increased thinkness does not allow is to sway as much and help a car turn in the corner. This is a BIG no-no (surprised they are appealing-just saving face). Yates has painted himself in a box.
Like Jimmie Johnson, I am sure Dale Jarrett did not know about. A lot of people thought Jimmie Johnson should have sat out a race. Perhaps, Dale Jarrett should not race at Darlington.
I believe pushing the envelope is part of the sport (& fun), but if you piled on Jimmie Johnson during Daytona…let hear speak loudly about parking Dale Jarrett!
These penalties look severe for a PRE-race inspection.
Sway bar not swaying helps car turn the corners. What better place to try and run one on this deal, than Richmond. “We didn’t understand the rule”. Give me a break. I don’t think Jarrett knew though.
Jimmie Johnson’s & Kevin Harvick”s Crew Chief suspension were for PRE-race inspection as well. #48 happened during qualifying for 500. #29 had an altered fuel tank for qualifying at Vegas. HOWEVER, #88 made the change AFTER qualifying before INPOUND race. Another, big NO-NO. #48 & #29 made changes for qualifying while #88 did it for the race itself. Perhaps, it should have been more serve…
The way the sway bar was attached it functioned as a TORSION bar. As all mopar fans know, a torsion bar is actually a spring. This in essence gave a higher spring rate to the left rear tire. This is a clear violation.
Hey Robert…open mouth and insert foot! lets see if you are a man of your word, speak up big boy
Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:
Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
BSNews! NASCAR CEO Given "Special" Award Amidst Lavish Fanfare
Fan Coun-ci-What? Just What Is It That NASCAR Wants To Study?
Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.