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Voices From the Heartland:
Post Race Behavior Modification for Dummies

Jeff Meyer
June 24, 2004
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Please Note:  The voices expressed in this column reside solely in the mind of the writer, and are not necessarily heard by anyone/thing else on this planet. Should anyone find that they vehemently disagree with the voices in his head, PLEASE do not, rob a bank, kick your cat or send hate mail to the editors of Frontstretch.com. Simply send the writer a friendly little email saying something like “….you’re a complete idiot….”. The writer will understand. Now, on to the voices…

Author’s Note: I originally wrote this last year after a series of altercations both on and off the track. Due to reasons that are best not spoken about, it was never published. Recently, while going through some old files, I ran across it and it seemed quite apropos in light of NASCAR’s “We’re still in charge!” rhetoric. I can only pray that this column makes it to Mike’s screen/desk and gives him some guidance. I have left last years cases in as sort of a nostalgic look back. The recent cases of 2004 should still be fresh on everyone’s mind and can be substituted by the reader for any of the ones below. (And it saves me a lot of time and effort, which is good because let’s face it, I’m a guy and I’m lazy.) The main point is how to fix the problem. It would’ve worked then, and it will work today! Enjoy.    

Ok NASCAR, listen up! 

Do you REALLY want to stop all this recent post race nonsense? If you do, then sit down, take notes and spit that gum out! 

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (Home and Office Edition) defines punishment as…
Punishment
 n  1: retributive suffering, pain, or loss : PENALTY   2: rough treatment 

Now that we’ve cleared up the definition of punishment, let’s look at the recent past on a case by case basis.   

Spencer vs. Busch, Aug. 17th, 2003.

K. Busch intentionally (by his own admission) initiates contact with J. Spencer in an attempt to flatten Spencer’s fender.

After the race, Busch, again intentionally (in-car audio and visual tapes reveal) stops his car by Spencer’s trailer and all but begs for Spencer to hit him.

Spencer obliges, causing Busch soft tissue damage and a chipped tooth.

Busch seeks employment as the NEW face for MAD Magazine. (Ok, I made that part up.  Busch does kinda resemble Alfred E. Newman though!) 

NASCAR responds…

Spencer suspended from racing at Bristol, $25,000 fine, probation until Dec. 31st.

Busch placed on probation until Dec. 31st

Harvick vs. Rudd, Sept. 6th, 2003.

Rudd bumps Harvick in an attempt to pass for 2nd place.

Harvick spins and ends up 16th.

After the race, as seen on TV, Harvick hits Rudd’s car in the pits, stands on his own car and engages in a verbal exchange with Rudd using words that made George Carlin famous. (Harvick crewmembers actually damage Rudd’s car by jumping or pounding on it.) 

NASCAR responds…

Rudd gets no penalties. (Crew Chief P. Tryson fined $5,000)

Harvick receives a $35,000 fine, placed on probation until Dec. 31st. (Various crew members fined and/or suspended) 

That wraps up the cases and so-called punishment. Now on to the REAL problems and how to fix them. (This is the note taking part. Wake up!) 

The first problem is the fines. $35,000 is nothing to Kevin Harvick. To me, yes, it’s more than I make in a year. To Harvick its pocket change. You get my point. 

The second problem is Section 9-4-A of the NASCAR rulebook. (9-4-A  The Crew Chief assumes responsibility for the actions of his or her driver, car owner and team members.) 

What the hell is that all about? The Crew Chief isn’t footing any bills. He (the chief) didn’t hire the driver or team members. Let’s use some common sense here and be realistic. 

Hold the car owner responsible for his employee’s actions! Hit them where it hurts (see definition of punishment above).  It’s real simple folks, and it goes something like this… 

Fine the car owner $500,000. If suspension is warranted, suspend the car owner from competition. This would mean the owner and any teams he owned as well.

Its all about teams now days, and we all know there is no ‘I’ in team. 

Imagine if Busch got his owner suspended for week! That would mean no Busch, Biffle, (J) Burton, Martin or Kenseth in the next race! We’re talkin no driver’s points, no owner’s points, etc. on down the line!

If a system such as this were in place, I would bet you my next Fall’s Bristol tickets that we’d see some behavioral modification taking place at the owner’s insistence! 

As a child I learned that there were certain actions that caused me to have a sore butt or a soapy tasting mouth, so I didn’t do that no more!

It’s time to make the parents responsible for the discipline of their own bratty kids!  

Stay of the wall! 

-Jeff

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Copyright, 2004, Frontstretch Enterprises, LLC.

Jeff was born the day after Junior Johnson recorded his 39th career NASCAR win. He currently resides in a small rural community near Cedar Rapids, Iowa with his wife Lora, whom he married six days after Terry Labonte’s 6th career Cup win. Jeff has two teenage daughters; Erin, born just four days before Rusty Wallace recorded his 4th Cup win and Leah, who entered the world four days after Kyle Petty’s 3rd career Cup victory.

His hobbies include NASCAR, hunting, fishing, shooting and outrunning local deputies on his bicycle. Any fan that emails Jeff with the correct dates (and names of the races) mentioned in this bio will receive a autographed, used beverage coaster from the Finish Line Bar and Grill, where Jeff spends a fair amount of time. (the coaster will be thoroughly dried out before shipping.)

You can e-mail Jeff at jeff@frontstretch.com.


 

 

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