Let me get this straight.
If you have an oversize engine in your car, NASCAR will fine you $200,000.
But if you are a car owner who attacks a driver from a rival team and punches him at least twice, that’s only worth $150,000?
Oh, I forgot. Plus probation.
In 2009, after the All Star Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway (through which drivers try to be added to the lineup for the All Star Race that follows), an engine was found to have cylinders larger than specified in NASCAR’s rulebook.
For this crime of murder, NASCAR docked driver Carl Long 200 driver points and suspended him for 12 races. Crew chief Charles Swing was fined $200,000 and was also suspended for a dozen starts. The car owner, Danielle Long, was docked 200 owner points and was similarly suspended for 12 races.
Three people were fined $200,000, docked 400 points and suspended for a total of 36 races because they had an engine in their race car that was too big.
I shudder to think what might have happened to those three folks if they'd done something really wrong.
Last weekend in Kansas, Richard Childress, who owns cars in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide, Camping World trucks and ARCA Series, got browned off at Kyle Busch and reportedly punched him at least twice in the head.
For this he gets fined $150,000 (announced Monday afternoon by NASCAR) but he doesn’t lose any points and he’s not suspended from participating in any races.
The message here is that NASCAR doesn’t view physical violence as being as bad as cheating under the hood, which - I suppose - fits right in with their "have at it, boys" mentality.
Every day, this sport of big-league stock car racing moves further and further away from Madison Avenue and back to its jalopy roots in Dogpatch, U.S.A., where L’il Abner and Daisy Mae just loved all that feudin’ n’ fightin’.
But by playing to the Wal-Mart crowd, NASCAR is forgetting something: Wal-Mart isn’t a sponsor of NASCAR racing.
The sponsors that NASCAR has, and presumably wants to keep, include the Bank of America, Camping World, Canadian Tire, Coca-Cola, DirecTV, Kraft, Sprint, Sunoco, UPS, McLaren and Nabisco, none of whom, I suspect, allows brawling in the lobbies of their headquarters.
I suspect that Big Bill and Bill France Jr., who worked so hard and so tirelessly all those years to give their sport respectability, would not be pleased at this turn of events.