By admin | December 11, 2011
By Richard Allen
For as long as there has been a NASCAR there have been people who believe the sanctioning body has been up to something. According to these theorists, the ‘man behind the curtain’ is quite busy pulling all the right stings to make sure things work out for the best of the organization, but not necessarily in the interest of competition and fairness.
After the way some things played out at the end of the season there seems to be little reason to disbelieve some of those conspiracy theories.
NASCAR showed in 2011 it is an organization that does indeed like to operate from the dark shadows rather than out in the light of day. Secret fines and probations, private directives, and meetings in the concealment of a mysterious hauler have proven to be the modus operandi for the leadership of this sport.
Well, conspiracy theorists believe those who carry out devious plans act in secret, issue private directives and meet in concealment. NASCAR is providing those theorists with fuel to put on their fires.
Just before the end of the 2011 season it was revealed that driver Brad Keselowski had been issued what was supposed to have been a secret fine for comments he had made regarding NASCAR’s plan to implement electronic fuel injection in the upcoming season. This was not the first of these not-so-transparent moves by the sanctioning body.
Ryan Newman was hit with a similar unspoken penalty after he and rival Juan Pablo Montoya had been involved in a physical confrontation during a meeting inside the supposedly secretive NASCAR hauler.
When asked about whether or not there had been other secret fines issued, NASCAR Chairman Brian France retorted, “There could be.” He went on to say that this sport’s drivers are allowed greater freedom of speech than other sports allow but there have to limitations on that speech.
When further pressed as to whether such secret actions could cause harm to the sport once found out, France declared, “That’s up to you to what to write and be interested about. I can only tell you that I take every question. I never say no comment. I’ve explained it. If there’s a better way, sort of this idea that there are a bunch of things going on behind the curtain. We’ve never been more transparent. We’ve never had more of anything, and that is the way it should be.”
If the organization has never been more transparent but yet continues to work in secret, it makes you wonder what has gone on in the past.
The chairman added, however, that, “If there’s a benefit to announcing them to the public and the media, we’ll take a look at them,” France added. “We just didn’t see a benefit at the time. Maybe there is a benefit.”
Simply put, publicity conscious NASCAR will announce things that make them look good but will keep secret(or attempt to at least) the things that make them look bad. Aside from those who work inside the hauler, who knows where that line is?
So since we have no way of knowing fact from fiction we might as well assume that all those conspiracies are true. If NASCAR operates in the dark in one area, why wouldn’t they in other areas? To use the chairman’s own words in regard to what’s truth and what isn’t in the sport, “That’s up to you to what to write and be interested about.”
If it’s up to you then if you want to believe NASCAR favors certain teams in the inspection line, then go ahead. If you want to believe NASCAR has handed out golden restrictor plates in the past, then go ahead. If you want to believe NASCAR throws fake debris cautions for the purpose of artificially tightening the competition, then go ahead. If you want to believe NASCAR throws cautions to help certain drivers stay on the lead lap, then go ahead. If you believe some are targeted for pit road speeding violations and others are allowed to get by, then go ahead.
Anyone who has followed this sport for very long has heard some or all of the ideas mentioned above be discussed. If NASCAR is to be taken seriously in the landscape of the sports world and be thought of as legitimate, none of those can be true. However, knowing that the sanctioning body does in fact operate at least some of the time in secrecy “to benefit” the sport, then every action(or inaction) is open for debate.
NASCAR has often been accused of operating with all the openness of a Masonic lodge meeting. It may be their prerogative to do so, but when they do they cannot complain when their actions are brought into question.
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