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Given the current state of NASCAR, who can blame Riggs for leaving?

By admin | May 25, 2009

By Richard Allen

Scott Riggs said that the Coca-Cola 600 will be his last race driving for Tommy Baldwin Racing. Well, who can blame him?

“I’m a competitor and a racer,” Riggs declared. “It kills my soul to know we go to the race track and we’re not going to be competitive.”

I ask who can blame him not because of the status of the struggling TBR team but rather because of recent events in NASCAR. The sanctioning body has shown, without a doubt, they have no intention of helping the little guy.

The cases of Carl Long and Jeremy Mayfield demonstrate that.

Long was found to have an engine that was oversized by .017 cubic inches and he was nailed with the biggest rules infraction fine and suspension in NASCAR history. $200,000, 200 points and 12 races was his sentence.

Mayfield was found to be in violation of NASCAR’s substance abuse policy and was suspended indefinitely. He claims he had only taken a common allergy reliever, which happens to be a NASCAR sponsor. For all we know, with NASCAR’s policy of Iron Curtain like secrecy, Mayfield may have been using some illegal street drug and should have been suspended. We just don’t know because from the offices of Daytona Beach, mum is the word.

In the Riggs case, why not get out while he can? NASCAR is not going to help his team with sponsorship and if they are caught 1/8 of an inch too low or he takes too much cough syrup within a 24 hour time span, his career as a race car driver might be over.

NASCAR’s television contract with the networks says the sanctioning body has to put 43 cars in the field for each race. Apparently, they feel pretty confident they have plenty of teams at the present because they have shown little effort to make life easier for their so called ‘field fillers’ of late.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

Topics: Articles |

6 Responses to “Given the current state of NASCAR, who can blame Riggs for leaving?”

  1. Charles Says:
    May 26th, 2009 at 7:08 am

    Another thing, this Nascar meeting they are having to apparently find answers to the fall attendence and rating, to me is how far out of touch they are!

    They need to be listing to the fans! These big business teams are part of the problem, they meet with the teams every week! Saving them money such as Spec Car, or COT, soon to be spec engine, look alike cars, all these rules such as yellow line, gear rule, inconsisitent penalties, such as Carl Longs case for example is the problem!

    Improving the sport will cost money, with all the money in this sport they need to spend, its us fans in this bad economy that has had to take the hits! The National Gard is spending 22 million as a associate sponsor for Dale Jr and some advertiseing on Jeff Gordon, this does not count Amp Energy Drinks, and the Army is spending 17 million on Stewart Haas, this is taxpayer money, according to are local newpaper!

    Yes Nascar needs to be talking and listening but they are talking to the wrong crowd!

  2. cindy Says:
    May 26th, 2009 at 9:15 am

    I sure hope the Jeremy issue gets resolved soom. If he took something that impairs his driving, he should be off the track–legal or not. Jeremy has refused to tell fans what prescription he took or what he is accused of taking. Of course if he sues, we’ll know it all.

    As far as fines, I think the fines should be the same for a big or small team. I don’t want to be judged by the size of my pocket book. As a long time NASCAR fan, I remember the slap-on-the-wrist penalties of the past. There was no compelling reason not to break the rules.

    Then a huge surprise when Ray Evernham was fined $60,000. Everyone was shocked. Time after time Tony was fined $10,000. Then NASCAR got mad and fined him $50,000. Big fines get teams’ attention. Long gets a chance of presenting his side, I hope it is lowered. At least now the fines go to charity.

  3. Lori Anderson Says:
    May 26th, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Do you really think they will listen to the fans? They certainly don’t listen when the drivers are trying to tell them problems with the cars. You are told to shut up and race as you are not needed in the sport. This meeting today will be just like the rest. They pretend to listen and back to status quo.

  4. AndrewFromTN Says:
    May 26th, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    And, to add insult to injury, the rear end housing of Robby Gordon’s car from yesterday has been taken to Nascar’s R&D center according to SPEED-TV.

    Robbie gets, via pit strategy, a top five finish to try and stay in the top 35, and whomp, he may be facing a penalty!

    I guess they needed to find a way to get Red Bull and Scott Speed back in the top 35.

  5. Ozzi Says:
    May 26th, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Whoa. Red Bull Cola is pulled off the shelves in Germany for traces of cocaine. Maybe Jeremy wasn’t doing Clartin D but Red Bull.

  6. Dave Says:
    May 26th, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Free enterprise is voted for with economic votes (dollars). Nascar, for several years pushed to gain upscale viewers. The “new” viewers were treated to constant change. The old fans were left out in the cold.

    I think the COT ruined everything. The safety updates could have been implimented on the old cars. Fans want to see a close facsimile of “their car” on the track, not an out of proportion box. Fans didn’t like the newer “twisted” version of the old car either. Look at the cars from the early 90’s they LOOKED like cars you and I could buy.

    The “Chase” is dumb. How could this even be considered. It’s artificial at best. I would think awarding more points for wins in the old system would have cured any problem with it.

    I sure hope someone comes to their senses before the whole thing implodes.