Amanda Vincent, NASCAR correspondent
NASCAR has caught flack in recent seasons for its practice of issuing "undisclosed fines." These fines have usually been handed out to Sprint Cup Series drivers after they criticized the sport publicly, be it through television interviews or their own Twitter accounts.
The sanctioning body yesterday made a statement on its media site stating that it is discontinuing the practice of not disclosing all its fines.
NASCAR will no longer issue fines that are undisclosed.
"NASCAR will no longer issue fines that are undisclosed," the statement read. "We looked at this issue from every angle and gathered feedback from the industry. While there are always sensitivities related to sponsor relationships and other leagues may continue issuing disclosed and undisclosed fines, NASCAR has decided that all fines moving forward will be made public after the competitor or organization that has been penalized has been informed."
NASCAR has routinely disclosed its fines for competition infractions for illegal parts, cars failing inspections, etc., but fines for negative comments have been made, at least somewhat, in secret.
A few supposed undisclosed penalties issued in the last few seasons that word eventually leaked out about include an incident in 2011 in which Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge, made negative comments on Twitter about NASCAR's move to electronic fuel injection following an on-track test of the system.
The previous season, Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, and Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, were reportedly fined for their criticism of NASCAR, supposedly for comments they made regarding caution periods.
The statement didn't say that there would no longer be fines for comments made by drivers or that the amount of or reasons for fines would change, just that all penalties would be disclosed from here on out.