The Frontstretch: Voices From the Heartland: NASCAR sends harsh message; Cheating is ok by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday March 17, 2005

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In light of the penalties handed out to RCR this week, I am convinced that NASCAR is from the same planet and about as credible as Michael Jackson.

Ok, maybe I’m being a little harsh. I shouldn’t insult Michael that way.

In case you’ve been in a beverage induced fog for the last week, Kevin Harvick’s crew chief, Todd Berrier, admitted to intentionally rigging the fuel tank before qualifying last week to appear full, when it actually contained only 5 gallons in it. Had Harvick not qualified as well as he did (4th), the cheaters may have gotten away with it. When the top 5 qualifiers were sent to refuel, it was noticed that the #29 was still full! Busted!

“If I had to do it again, I’d still play it to try to get away with it, because I know how I got caught,” said Berrier.

NASCAR’s initial response, and its first mistake, was to disqualify Harvick’s time and relegate him to the back of the starting grid. NASCAR compounded their incompetence further this last Tuesday when they announced their penalty for this, the most blatant attempt at outright cheating in almost 5 years. But before I get into that, here’s what NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter had to say on NASCAR’s behalf….

“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.”

Yeah right! What integrity? NASCAR, to me anyway, just blew what little integrity I was beginning to believe they had right out the window. Listen up NASCAR, here’s how the situation should have been handled.

Instead of sending the #29 to the back of the pack, the whole team should have been SENT HOME! Had they been sent home, it would send the message that outright cheating would NOT BE TOLERATED! But nooooooo. Then, on Tuesday, in an amazing effort to insure the integrity would not raise its ugly head again in the ranks of NASCAR, they suspend Berrier for 4 weeks, fined him $25,000 and they dock Harvick 25, yes, 25 measly championship points as well as 25 owner points for Richard Childress.

Earlier I said that this incident was the most blatant attempt at cheating in almost 5 years. I am referring to Talledega in April of 2000, when it was found that a fuel additive had been added to the tank of Jeremy Mayfield’s car. Mayfield finished 14th in that race. Do you know how many points he received for his efforts? ZERO! That’s right, NASCAR docked him 151 championship points!

Since they already dropped the ball by letting Harvick race in the first place, had NASCAR wanted to show that they actually had some (ahem, testicle fortitude), they should have, taken away every single point he earned for that particular race. Do you suppose they didn’t because RCR used to be the team The Intimidator drove for? Or maybe because GM is such a big sponsor? Yeah, real tough NASCAR.

Another thing that one can’t help but wonder is, what was going on in Berrier’s mind in the first place? The whole thing was pointless and stupid to even try. They already were assured a spot in the race on owners points, and Harvick drove through the pack twice that day, albeit once was a direct effect of the violation itself. If you can provide a good car for the driver, why try to cheat? And then to act so flippant about the whole thing, maybe Berrier has been sniffing exhaust fumes too long.

Not only are Berrier’s actions highly questionable, there may be evidence to support the theory that exhaust fumes are escaping the garage and reaching the front office at RCR.

“I understand NASCAR’s reasons for imposing a penalty,” said Richard Childress. “However, I think the penalty they have given us is out of line, so we have decided to appeal their ruling.”

Sorry sucker! The people you are appealing to, the National Stock Car Racing Commission, being mostly if not all non-NASCAR top brass, actually have some brains and common sense. They will do the right thing. APPEAL DENIED!

That commission demonstrated their common sense this week by reducing a 4 week suspension by NASCAR, to just probation for Busch Series crew chief Todd Lohse. He had the audacity to add support to a sagging roof flap to make it level with the top of the car for the Busch race in California! Hardly a performance enhancing alteration, I know, but one still worth $10,000 to NASCAR. (The commission left the fine intact.)

One final thought before I go, perhaps, what with Michael Jackson’s legal troubles, NASCAR maybe able to buy and move NASCAR headquarters to Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. After all, Michael and NASCAR do sort of have things in common: one wants to be white, the other one doesn’t, and both have lost touch with reality!

Staying off the wall (but never my stump),

Jeff

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stick1996
03/17/2005 03:43 PM
permalink
Cheating is cheating no matter how you slice it.They need to strip teams of wins if they find them cheating after a race.If they cheat money is no big deal to them with all the big bucks they have.Nascar needs to stop playing games with these guys and tell them point blank “Cheat and you will loose more then money and points,you will sit home for a few races and then let them answer to the sponsors”.

 

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