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« Did you see Indy as half full or half empty? | Main | Will McMurray’s season be counted as a success if he doesn’t make the Chase? »

Why the need for secrecy over NASCAR driver fines?

By admin | July 27, 2010


By Richard Allen

A source has told AP reporter Jenna Fryer that NASCAR has in recent weeks fined at least two of its star competitors for making comments deemed detrimental to the sport and the NASCAR brand. At least one of those fines was reported to have been $50,000.

This type action is nothing new. For that matter, the salaries of several NASCAR officials have probably been paid over the years from Tony Stewart’s past penalties. And other well known drivers have felt the sting of the NASCAR fine machine as well.

And in the sport’s world, virtually every major league has fined players, coaches and owners for detrimental actions or words. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, seemingly needs a separate account to pay the NBA when they deem he has done wrong.

The real question here is not why the fines were issued. The real question is why was everything kept so quiet. Now, NASCAR is a private entity so it isn’t like they have violated the ‘Sunshine Act’ or anythin. But it would seem that in an industry solely driven by fan support, it would be imperative to keep the fans apprised of such goings on.

In my opinion, the hush-hush was applied to this matter in the hopes that those watching NASCAR would not be made aware of its issues. If that’s the case, I have news for the folks in Daytona Beach. The cat has long been out of that bag.

Could it be that NASCAR thinks we have not noticed the vacancies in the grandstands over the past few years? Do they think that if no one told us we would not be aware that the racing has been dull on many occasions? Perhaps, if not told by those on the inside, we would not have been able to figure out that late race debris cautions have been as predictable as summer heat in Georgia. And, we might not have noticed that those exciting race endings are contrived, made for SportsCenter, events.

NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston explains the sanctioning body’s position as one of protecting the brand and controlling actions deemed detrimental to the sport. “It is the sanctioning body’s obligation on behalf of the industry and our fans to protect the sport’s brand,” he said. “Any action taken by NASCAR has nothing to do with the drivers expressing an opinion - it’s focused on actions or comments that materially damage the sport.”

In other words, they were fined for telling the truth if they were not expressing opinions.

Poston also added that drivers had been sufficiently warned. “We have specifically discussed this in meetings with teams, drivers and stakeholders.”

Why were these ‘stakeholders’ warned? Oh yes, because NASCAR is aware of all the issues mentioned above.

So then, why was everything kept so secret? Well, the only answer is that they do not believe those of us watching are smart enough to figure out what we are watching. And as long as no one tells, we’ll remain clueless.

Ivory towers must be a wonderful thing. I wonder the going rate for them is in Daytona Beach these days?

Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter.


Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.

Topics: Articles |

10 Responses to “Why the need for secrecy over NASCAR driver fines?”

  1. SB Says:
    July 28th, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Anyone else find it interesting that the fine for badmouthing Nascar was considerably more than the fine for intentionally wrecking another driver and several other cars?

  2. Bill B Says:
    July 28th, 2010 at 11:33 am

    The sooner NASCAR stops treating fans like idiots the better off they will be. We know “spin” when we hear it. We know when something isn’t working the way it was hoped, we know when there are lots of empty seats, we know when a caution is bogus, and we know when someone is pissing on our heads and telling us it’s raining.
    What I find most absurd is that any organization (or person) that is in the public eye has the audacity to think they can keep anything hidden (for long) in this day and age. Much like ESPN just came out and told us the obvious about attendance at Indy, NASCAR should just be honest. Had they told us the truth there would have been some controversy and questioning by the media and fans but it is ten times worse now that they got caught in a lie. No one likes to be misled and that’s what really upsets people.

  3. JerseyGirl Says:
    July 28th, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Rich, exactly what I’ve been saying. NASCAR thinks the fans are idiots and can’t see for themselves what has been going on with the “manufactured” excitement. So, it’s OK for NASCAR to play games with the end of the race, but the fans are just supposed to believe it was all coincidence and as long as the drivers keep NASCAR’s dirty little secrets, the fans won’t notice. Excuse me? Boy it makes me mad.

    Almost as mad as hearing Kenny Wallace say “listen up, race fans” every week. Wait, except I don’t bother to watch Raceday any more because I’ve become so tired of hearing the propaganda machine of Wallace and Waltrip.

    So I won’t be watching Pocono. I’ll catch the recap on SC afterward once Carl Edwards is done his stint as “guest driver”. I don’t need Eddie Haskell’s opinion on anything. The SC guys can tell me who NASCAR wanted to win this week.

    I’m sitting here with 2 reminders coming up about renewing race tickets. I haven’t done it yet and I’m not sure at this point that I will. I can save my money and vacation days

  4. The Old Guy Says:
    July 28th, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Somehow, I think Bill France and Bill France Jr. must be turning in their graves over the current state of NASCAR.

    I love the current beef some fans have with Carl Edwards. Unlike some drivers, he mans up and tells it like it is. “Yes, I intentionally took him out.” Unlike the current crown prince of NASCAR who took a full week, and then only when coaxed by DW, to admit he took out a driver and half the field.

    And, says for the record, “I will not be pushed around or bullied.” I hope BK figures that out before he really does get hurt!

  5. Fed Up Says:
    July 28th, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Great Comments Rich! I’ve been around this sport
    since the Ralph Earnhardt days and never thought it
    would evolve into such a sorry state as France/Helton/
    Poston have made it. They take the core fans as idiots.
    Until someone changes the regime in Daytona the
    sport is doomed.

  6. Richard in N.C. Says:
    July 28th, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    NASCAR should have known better than to try to keep something secret - almost no one can keep a secret anymore. However, having been a NASCAR fan since the 1960’s and from my experience with the press, I am certain that NASCAR has a far higher opinion of its fans than the press does of the public. Some years ago well-known, award-winning sports columnist Lennox Rawlings wrote and later stated publicly that NASCAR fans are “ignorant and gullible,” and he’s still out there writing. From watching the NASCAR press corps closely the past couple of years, I now realize that what Rawlings wrote is really how the majority in the media center feels about the public. While I may be just an “ignorant” NASCAR fan, I am not gullible enough to read Rawlings anymore, but I understand he still does a few NASCAR columns each year.

  7. mkrcr Says:
    July 28th, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    “Why the need for secrecy over NASCAR driver fines?”
    Because they’re NA$CAR and nothings changed.

  8. Richard in N.C. Says:
    July 28th, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    See where NBC Sports is reporting that EESPN pulled an article about a highly unflattering party LeBron held in LA. The media believes in keeping secrets when it’s to their advantage?

  9. Pat388 Says:
    July 28th, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    “NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston explains the sanctioning body’s position as one of protecting the brand and controlling actions deemed detrimental to the sport.”

    If this is truly the position of Nascar then they should either fine Brian France every time he opens his mouth or just plain get rid of him before he totally wrecks racing.

  10. billyt Says:
    July 28th, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Ramsey Poston commented that no business would tolerate employees, vendors or partners making negative comments..? When did the racers change from INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS to those descriptions..? NASCAR is twisting in the wind looking to blame anyone but themselfs for all the negative things going on this year. Wake up NASCAR and accept responsibility for your own actions..!!!

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