There are times that NASCAR simply slaps one’s hand, and at other times, they toss the book at the offending driver(s) and other team members. Today, their decision appears to have been more of what one would call the middle ground on Jeff Gordon.
His action of plowing his Chevrolet into the Toyota of Clint Bowyer was obvious to the spectators, the fans watching from home, and the media. Yet, his fine was a drop in the bucket for one of the top 12 Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers. He has to pay out $100,000. Yes he did get points removed – 25 to be exact. Gordon was placed on probation until the end of the year, and again that just means that he has to behave at the season finale in Homestead-Miami Speedway this coming weekend.
“I take responsibility for my actions on the race track,” Gordon said. “I accept NASCAR’s decision and look forward to ending the season on a high note at Homestead.”
Pretty much that was a lame comment after his original comment after the incident. Gordon said, “Things have gotten escalated over the year and I have just had it. Clint has run into me numerous times, wrecked me and he got into me on the back straightaway, pretty much ruined our day. I have had it, was fed up with it and got him back.”
Team owner Rick Hendrick also lost 25 owner points and said. “I’ve always respected Jeff for standing his ground.”
No doubt the ruling by NASCAR on Gordon’s penalties will continue to heat up the comments by the fans. Many who, of course, wonder why Kyle Busch was suspended for taking out another driver in the Camping World Truck Series last year; but yet Gordon will not miss the season finale in Florida.
Hendrick also stated that the team respects the fact that “NASCAR needs to police the sport and send a message when situations like this occur. It’s been a great year, and we’re going to put our focus on finishing in a positive way this weekend.”
Retaliations on a race track at the speeds the NASCAR drivers turn should never be allowed. NASCAR promised years back to put a stop to it, and yet today, they did not.
As for the brawl after the crash in the waning laps of the 500 mile race on the Phoenix International Raceway one-mile oval, both teams received penalties.
The No. 24 car crew of Jeff Gordon led by Alan Gustafson has been placed on probation until December 31st. So was Brian Pattie, crew chief of the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. Pattie also received a fine of $25,000. The difference of one team’s crew chief paying out a fine and not the other one was due to the fact that Bowyer’s crew guys initiated the fight.
Said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR Vice President of Competition: There’s no doubt that a unique set of circumstances combined with a championship battle on the line resulted in raw emotions coming into play. We consider the penalties appropriate and those involved understand our decision and we expect them to abide by them.”
And to add a bit of humor to the decisions made by NASCAR today. Points leader Brad Keselowski has to pay out $25,000 for having a cell phone with him in his Penske Racing Dodge! Yep, he got caught again! Amazing is the fact that he also has been placed on probation until the end of the year.
Perhaps the free-for-alls and the retaliation contacts that purposely cause a wreck to take someone out of the racing action needs to have total equality. In these cases when even the driver admits immediately what he did, the fines and the punishment needs to be higher than someone having a cell phone in his race car!
NASCAR should also take into account the other racers who are caught up in the crash through no fault of their own. Basically they are innocent bystanders—in this case Joey Logano – and for every other car that is involved in a crash due to one driver’s actions in the heat of the moment, the fine should increase per car by at least $25,000. That extra money should go to the team whose driver just in the wrong place at the wrong moment when someone through a temper-tantrum.