By admin | September 22, 2010
By Richard Allen
The #33 Richard Childress Racing team has been nailed with one of the biggest penalties NASCAR has ever handed down. Crew chief Shane Wilson has been fined $150,000 as well as sent to the sportâ€™s version of a timeout chair for six weeks. Car chief Chad Haney was also suspended for six weeks. And perhaps worst of all, driver Clint Bowyer and owner Richard Childress were docked 150 championship points.
These penalties came after the RCR machine had been taken to NASCARâ€™s R & D Center following the teamâ€™s victory in the Sylvania 300 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The #33 team was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-3 (car body location specifications in reference to the certified chassis did not meet NASCAR-approved specifications) of the 2010 NASCAR Rule Book.
Strangely, the team had been warned following the previous race in Richmond for moving a bit too far into the gray area.
It would seem logical to think that a team having been previously warned would make absolutely certain their car was within the allowed specifications the very next time to the track.
No doubt, NASCAR sent this team a message with their warning the week before. So, only one of two conclusions can really be reached in this case. Either the #33 RCR team was arrogant enough to believe they could get away with something despite the previous scolding, or they were foolish enough to simply not put their car back within allowable tolerances.
There are two sides to every story but in this case the side of the story offered by RCR will be difficult to accept. Had there been no prior warning then the penalty doled out might seem a bit harsh and the possibility of a simple error could be plausible. However, considering what happened just one week before, getting caught doing something illegal is pretty much inexcusable.
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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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