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NASCAR penalty for Kyle Busch must be carefully thought out

By admin | June 12, 2011



By Richard Allen


For the first time in the 2011 season it appears as if NASCAR is in the position of having to impose a points penalty on a serious championship contender. After the 5 Hour Energy 500 at the Pocono Raceway on Sunday it was determined that the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driven by Kyle Busch came in under the allowable height tolerances on the left front of the car.

Reports have it that the left front fender was only 1/16 of an inch too low but NASCAR Director of Competition Robin Pemberton said, “It doesn’t matter, it was too low.” That statement is correct. It doesn’t matter how small the measurement, an infraction is an infraction.

So now that the infraction has been found, what is to be done?

Again, it doesn’t matter how small the amount, the car was out of the tolerances so there has to be a penalty. And, the penalty should be the same whether that measurement was 1/16 of and inch or greater. However, the penalty levied must be very carefully considered.

Over the most recent off season NASCAR announced a change in what had been a long time used points system. Not only did that system reduce the number of points awarded per race, it must also reduce the number of points taken away when a team is penalized.

So, with this first of all penalties under the new system for a Chase for the Championship contender, NASCAR must very carefully consider what they do. They are setting a precedent for something that will almost certainly happen again this season and beyond.

If the sanctioning body issues a penalty that is too harsh, and they later realize it is too harsh, they can not very well come back and lighten the penalty for the next driver and team. The same is true of issuing a penalty that may later prove to be too light. The next driver and team can’t be hit with a steeper penalty a few races from now.

After his 3rd place finish in Pocono, Busch is currently positioned 5th in the Sprint Cup standings, 25 points behind leader Carl Edwards. That is going to change, but by how much?

After the Camping World Truck Series race earlier this season in Charlotte, driver Ron Hornaday and his team were docked 25 points for using an unapproved gear ratio for that race. Twenty-five points is a very significant punishment and perhaps NASCAR was so harsh in that situation because there was either an obvious intent to break the rules or obvious incompetence, either of which has to be dealt with severely.

Consider that 25 points is more than half the total that can be scored by winning a NASCAR race. Rarely did NASCAR ever issue a penalty of more than half the total for winning under the old system. Typically when such heavy punishments were issued it was in cases where there was clear intent to break the rules.

In one of the more recent cases of a car’s body being out of sorts, Clint Bowyer and his Richard Childress Racing team were hit with a devastating 150 penalty after last year’s race in New Hampshire. The potential difference between that situation and this is that Bowyer’s team had been warned previously that their cars were getting too close to the allowable limits and yet they went ahead and stepped over the line.

The instance of Busch’s left front fender is almost certainly not such a situation, unless we find out later they had been previously warned. It is likely just a car that simply didn’t measure up after the race. That taken into consideration, this penalty must be carefully considered because it will set a new standard for punishments under this new points system. Too harsh or too light will not be easily adjusted later.

To just randomly throw out a number this coming Tuesday would not be the appropriate thing to do. Hopefully the leadership of NASCAR considered what they would do in such instances well before now.

Topics: Articles |

15 Responses to “NASCAR penalty for Kyle Busch must be carefully thought out”

  1. Bill B Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 7:14 am

    I have been waiting for this since NASCAR announced the change to the points system. I am very interested to see what a points penalty will be like under this new system. I would think somewhere between 10 and 25 points would be likely.

  2. Randy Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 7:25 am

    The warning for everyone was sent last year at New Hampshire. Message was delivered even thought RCR claimed damage from the push truck. Either way, the warning was sent then.

    Of course NASCAR should consider the change in the point system to make the punishment equal %-wise.

  3. jerseygirl Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 7:46 am

    You give NASCAR too much credit. I haven’t seen many examples of a real though process being used in any of their decisions.

    However, I agree that it would be a good idea for them to do it.

  4. Al Torney Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 8:15 am

    Because of the bad press and fan opinions on NASCAR not doing anything to Kyle for the truck incident they are going to use this to punish Kyle. Just a thought I have. If you’ll recall a couple of years ago Jeff Gordon’s car had a rear shock absorber mounted incorrectly and they only made Jeff start at the end of the line in 150 miler.

  5. Justin Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Or NASCAR could simply give him a lame 4 race suspension, or ignore it completely like going 135mph on a public road….lol

    All joking aside, I agree that somewhere in the ball park of 20-25 points. If they were previously warned (like RCR/Bowyer) I think you are talking about 35 points

  6. Bill B Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 9:04 am

    There should always be a difference when penalties are assessed between a points race and a non-points race.
    So if you want to make a case that NASCAR will be unfairly penalizing Kyle and you want to use past precedence to support that argument, please take that precedence from a points race. Otherwise you are grabbing at straws.

  7. Steve Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 9:24 am

    It would seem to me that this infraction is similar to the Bowyer infraction last year. So if Bowyer lost 150 points using the old points system, then Busch should be docked somewhere between 35 and 40 points if Nascar was consist. But since they are not, and he is one of their favorites, my guess is significantly less points will be taken away.

  8. Glen H Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 9:27 am

    First it’ll be intersting to see why his fender was to low - damage, broken part, deliberate; we need to see that first. Then I’d suspect a penalty somewhere in the 15-25 point range with NA$CAR going for about 20 depening on why the car was low.

  9. Rachel Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Sorry, folks, no harshly punitive damages here. A six point penalty and $25,000 fine for Dave Rogers.

  10. Bill B Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    6 point penalty. BFD.

    A precedent has been set.

    So let it be written, so let it be done.

  11. Larry Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Surprise, surprise! Busch only got a six point penalty. His point penalty should have been a little more if it was to be the same as Bowyer’s and it should have. Wasn’t RCR only warned that he was getting close not that he had violated the penalty if I recall? And, Busch has had this happen before too so that’s why I was surprised at Kyle only getting a six point penalty. Anyway, same ole consistency Nascar has always shown when dishing out penalties.

  12. Justin Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Shocker, Busch got fined a mamoth 6 points…Seriously, 6 points, and yet Busch fans continue to act as if their driver is getting picked on, LMFAO, he gets away with more than anyone

  13. David Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Basically dropped him from a 3rd place points to 9th place points. How much advantage running 1/16th low? Doesn’t seem very costly these days to chance being low at end of race. What was old points system 185 for win, Bowyer got 150 for same infraction. Gotta take care of the Sponsors.

    June 13th, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    I think that last week,grampa got fined for his part in the tussel with Kyle….now I read on Jayski…that keven isn’t going to stop harrasing Kyle….well..well.

    Kyle got a six point penelty today…you should be happy with that…maybe he should of ‘goten away with it’…no

    To me harvick is the instigater…grammpa got finded for his actions…and Kyle is a selfish spoiled get away with everything brat?
    No, I bet my money on Kyle…let them act like the idiots..maybe Kyle grew up….and this is his way to show the world.

    racing needs some entertainment to help it now….let harvick do it…I think Kyle wants no part of it and will not stoop to harvicks ploys…

    maybe one day they will so called fight..but I don’t think so, seems like harvick runs away after he starts stuff…and Kyle wants to win so he’ll be good.

    look at who is running nascrap now…there is your answer to why things ae going the way they are….

    I saw a cute reply today…
    JJ is taking notes for his congaduatory speech at the end of the year….so go figure….

  15. Jeff Says:
    June 14th, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Here’s how the penalties seem to work to me this year. Hornaday got 25 pts. earlier as Rich said. That’s like taking a 1st place finish and dropping the driver to 26th place for this year’s pts. 1st is worth 43 pts(no bonus pts.) and 26th is worth 18 pts. Last year 1st was worth 185 pts(no bonus pts.) and 26th was 85 pts. So I equate Hornaday’s loss of 25 pts. this year to mean it would have been worth 100 pts. last year.

    So Kyle was docked 6 pts this year and that means last year it would have been a 25 pt. penalty for this offense.
    A penalty you see this year would simply be 4 times higher last year or so it appears to me.