by Ryan Isley
It looks like the days of letting the boys have at no longer exist in NASCAR. Well, depending on who you are of course.
This past weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, Jeff Gordon intentionally wrecked Clint Bowyer after Gordon felt that Bowyer had wrecked him earlier in the race. What ensued was a fracas that hasn’t been seen in NASCAR in some time.
Bowyer’s crew attacked Gordon’s crew, Bowyer sprinted from the pit road to the garage are like he was qualifying for a spot on the 2016 US Olympic track team and NASCAR had a storyline to rival the championship chase, which Brad Keselowski took over after Jimmie Johnson wrecked.
In the aftermath of the incident, NASCAR has fined Jeff Gordon $100,000 and docked him 25 points in the standings. This fine and docking of points is a complete farce and an embarrassment to the sport of auto racing.
Listen – I am all for NASCAR handing out punishment for drivers intentionally wrecking one another, as it all comes down to the safety of the drivers. It is after all, the drivers who make NASCAR what it is. In all honesty, Gordon should have been fined and suspended for the last race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway this coming weekend. The problem with this is that it would have inconsistent with what NASCAR did just less than a month ago.
That was when Danica Patrick intentionally wrecked Landon Cassill at Kansas Speedway. Danica was not fined nor suspended after Kansas even though it was her second such incident this season (she had one in the Nationwide Series in May). If NASCAR doesn’t reprimand Danica for her on-track incidents, they can’t justify a fine and points docking for Gordon.
If you remember, I was calling for NASCAR to suspend Danica for that incident, just as I would have done with Gordon had the incident with Danica at Kansas never happened.
Now of course the Danica apologists are out in full force saying that it isn’t fair to drag her into this debate and that the incidents are not similar because when Danica wrecked Cassill he wasn’t in the hunt for a championship. Whether the drivers are in the championship chase or not should not be factored into if the driver who created the incident should be fined or suspended.
Either drivers are going to get punished when they intentionally cause a wreck or they aren’t. NASCAR can’t have it both ways and think they can be taken seriously. And if there are going to be two sets of rules, one would think that the driver who owns 86 NASCAR Sprint Cup wins (including three Daytona 500 victories) and four NASCAR Sprint Cup championships would get the benefit of the doubt before a driver who has zero wins and has never finished in the top-15 in a NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
Yet somehow Danica Patrick gets the benefit of the doubt from NASCAR and then Jeff Gordon gets the hammer thrown down on him less than a month later.
The inconsistencies don’t end with the punishments, however.
NASCAR has also been wildly inconsistent with how they feel about the wreck and the fights that ensued. On one hand, they fine Gordon and Clint Bowyer’s crew chief Brian Pattie but on the other hand they allow their tracks to use the incident for promotion.
Pattie basically told ESPN that if Bowyer had nothing to lose at Homestead in the final race, that something might happen. Homestead-Miami Speedway took no time putting that sound bite to good use in preparation for the season finale, tweeting:
As if that wasn’t enough, Las Vegas Motor Speedway is using this to promote their race in March 2013.
So NASCAR wants to act like they are all upset at Gordon and Bowyer for what happened at Phoenix, yet they are allowing their races to be promoted by using the fallout from what happened? Again – no consistency whatsoever from NASCAR.
So it’s up to you NASCAR – should the boys have it or not? We would like a straight answer.
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