If you cheat to win a race, as some of the kings of the stock car sport, including Richard Petty, have done over the years, you will be fined and lose points and maybe even hanged (I just made that last bit up) but you will always be listed in the record books as the winner.
This is a paraphrase, but Big Bill France, who invented NASCAR back in the day, said this: “I don’t want the fans to leave a race thinking somebody is the winner and then read in the newspaper the next day that someone else won. ‘Disqualification’ is a word we will never use.’ "
As we all know, NASCAR owns the Grand Am sports car series. Next year, when the sale of the American Le Mans Series to Grand Am becomes final, NASCAR will control all of major-league professional sports car racing on the continent and NASCAR’s rules and philosophy will apply across the board.
I mention this today because of the news (and how come it took so long for this to be announced?) that the third-place-finishing car in last weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, the No. 60 Daytona Prototype of Michael Shank Racing and driven by A.J. Allmendinger, Marcos Ambrose and Justin Wilson, was found — as the result of a post-race tech inspection — to have cheated.
No details, but the engine was illegal.
As a result, the team has been docked 30 points in the Rolex championship and has to give back the $35,000 it won for finishing third. As well, it was fined $15,000. The drivers were all fined 30 championship points, as was the engine manufacturer, Ford.
After all this, however, Michael Shank Racing was allowed to keep its third-place finish.
In my world, Michael Shank Racing would have been disqualified. Cheaters are disqualified in short-track racing, drag racing, F1 racing and IndyCar racing. Why should NASCAR-sanctioned events continue to be different?
I really didn’t know who to cheer for in Sunday’s Super Bowl. Neither of my teams, the Colts or the Giants, is in it so I didn’t care.
But on the USA Today website this week, I was reminded that San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh, who was the Colts’ quarterback before Peyton, once owned a team in the Indy Racing League. In fact, he partnered with John Barnes back in 1998 to start Panther Racing, which had our very own Canadian, Scott Goodyear, as its original driver and has J.R. Hildebrand in the cockpit today.
Jim Harbaugh got interested in racing in the 1970s when he went to Indy 500 qualifying and saw Tom Sneva become the first racer to turn a lap of 200 mph at the Speedway. This interest intensified when he went to Indianapolis to play and the number for the No. 1 Panther car — No. 4 — was selected because it was Harbaugh’s number when he was on the field for the Colts.
So it's settled. I’ll be cheering for the 49ers on Sunday.
More news on the broadcast team for Sportsnet’s coverage of the IZOD IndyCar Series Honda Indy races in Toronto next July.
As I reported first in this week’s web-only Monday Morning Racing Roundup (it’s repeated in this weekend's Toronto Star Wheels section), Paul Tracy will be doing the colour. This was no scoop — Tracy announced it himself during an interview at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
But I’ve since learned that the play-by-play will be handled by Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee Bill Adam, who's a former champion sports car racer, and the pits will be covered by Todd Lewis, who has done a terrific job over the years on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series telecasts.
Or so I've been told . . .
Tyler Walker, a one-time regular on the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series tour who won the 2011 King’s Royal race at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Ohio, has been arrested after leading police on a high-speed chase through three states.
Police originally tried to stop the BMW that Walker was driving in Nevada and, after a pursuit through Arizona and into Utah, officers were forced to use a spike belt. He’s now facing serious jail time after police found marijuana, alcohol, methamphetamines and drug paraphernalia in the car.
Walker once drove in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series but was suspended after failing a drug test.
Oh, speaking of Tony Stewart (we weren't, but he owns the previously mentioned Eldora Speedway), he'll be in Rochester, N.Y., Saturday night, attending a Rochester Knighthawks lacrosse game at the Blue Cross Arena. For $250, you get to attend a pre-game meet and greet with Stewart, an 8X10 photo and a ticket to the game.
The Knighhawks are owned by Curt Styres, brother of Ohsweken Speedway owner Glenn Styres. Glenn promotes a World of Outlaws race every summer and Stewart has won the last two. If you're looking for a tie-in, that's it.
Ferrari and Force India introduced their 2013 cars today. They both look gorgeous — as do the McLaren and Lotus cars unveiled earlier. The proof is in the pudding, though, and despite the good looks, we’ll have to wait till they get out on the track to see whether any of them are anything other than just another pretty car. . .