The National Stock Car Racing Commission listened to Carl Long’s appeal of his fines and suspensions that stemmed from the All-Star weekend, and issued a ruling yesterday. While the Commission acknowledged that Long’s testimony was “genuine and heartfelt” and “expressed a strong love of racing and a desire to compete at the highest levels of the sport,” Long was still held responsible for the illegal engine and the fine and suspensions will remain in effect. The last time that someone was found with an illegal engine, in 1991, they were suspended 12 races and fined a substantial amount for that period in time.
There are many people who are fans of the sport, who are expressing outrage that this small team has been hit with such a substantial penalty. They feel as though Long is being persecuted excessively because his is a small organization and cannot absorb such a stiff fine. Some have started a petition, which has already received some 905 signatures (the goal is 50,000) to tell NASCAR their feelings about this fine and suspensions. The petition reads:
I, the undersigned, feel that the penalties levied against Carl Long which include a $200,000 fine for Crew Chief Charles Swing, the loss of 200 Car Owners Points, the loss of 200 Driver Points, confiscation of the engine, a 12-Race Suspension & barring from any NASCAR sanctioned event until August 18, 2009 for Driver: Carl Long, Owner: Danielle Long & Crew Chief: Charles Swing for engine infractions are too severe considering the final finishing position of the car, the prior track record of all parties involved & comparatively low financial resources of the Carl Long Racing team.
I, the undersigned, do hereby REF–USE to buy ANY products associated with the sanctioning body of NASCAR, including all official products, series award sponsors, authorized gear, Television-only advertisers and any race tickets (personal race Team sponsors excluded) until a reasonable solution/fine/penalty is assessed to all parties involved.
There is no question that this fine if very steep, and financially crippling for such a small team. However, NASCAR is not in a position to try and mete out fines for infractions based on the size, success or financial stability of the organization being fined. Fans scream and howl about favoritism and conspiracies and preferential treatment on a nearly daily basis. If the day came around that Richard Childress Racing and Hendrick Motorsports both violated the same rule with the same type of transgression, but the fine amounts were different because Hendrick has bigger sponsorship contracts or higher merchandise sales, it would be all over. The last shreds of credibility that the sanctioning body holds would be completely destroyed. As painful as it may seem, NASCAR does not have a choice with this fine and penalties. They would be playing favorites if they didn’t have a consistent fine, and they do not play favorites, whether fans believe that or not.
With that being said, the outraged fans could make things much easier on Long by stepping up with their wallets. Instead of signing a petition, they should send checks to Carl to help him pay the fine. From his website, donations may be sent to:
156 Painted Bunting Drive
Troutman, NC 28166
There is also a Paypal button on the site that will let fans donate money to his team using that secure service.
Is it a shame that Long has been hit with such a big fine and a suspension that is keeping him from doing his primary job? There’s no question about that, but the simple fact is he broke a rule and the rules have to be enforced equally and consistently, no matter how devastating it is for a given race team. If you’re one of the fans that is upset about this penalty and the impact it has on Carl’s career, send him a few bucks. While you’re at it, let him know the Frontstretch sent ya, cause we care about the little guys.