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« Empty seats in Charlotte look particularly bad | Main | It’s time for a serious Junior re-evaluation »

If NASCAR wants some good PR they should penalize the #48 team

By admin | October 18, 2009


By Richard Allen

Jimmie Johnson and his #48 Hendrick Motorsports team looked to be just a bit better than average during the first 26 races of the season. Since the start of the Chase for the Championship, however, that team has caught fire at just the right time. That should come as no surprise since this has been the case so often over the past three years.

Based on the e-mails and conversations I am part of, there are many who have become disenchanted with this now four times repeated scenario.

With television ratings seemingly sinking lower and attendance dropping off on a weekly basis it would appear as though NASCAR needs something to give it a boost. Finding enough wrong with the #48 car in a pre or post race inspection to warrant a penalty could serve NASCAR well in many ways.

Consider that NASCAR issued a strange warning to this team and its HMS mates, the #5 car, after an earlier race this season. Those two cars were said to have been barely within the allowable tolerances. The odd warning to a team that was within the tolerances caused cries of conspiracy and cover up from many NASCAR detractors. Why not suddenly find the #48 out of the allowed tolerances?

So what if the car in question is indeed legal? Why should that matter? This is an organization that has shown it is not afraid to openly manipulate the outcome of races so why should manipulating the outcome of a championship be any different?

The late race debris cautions have become such an incredible joke that even the competitors make light of them. “The 9 car should have known better than to get so far ahead after last week,” one driver said over his team radio when the predictable yellow flag waved late in the NASCAR Banking 500 in Charlotte. “You know their going to find some debris when someone has a lead like that.”

If the #48 was taken to the NASCAR R&D center after Saturday’s race, which is the custom for all race winners, then something worthy of a 100 point penalty would serve NASCAR well. As it stands now, Johnson has a 90 point lead over second place and a 135 point lead over third. Of course, one problem for NASCAR would be that the two closest pursuers are Johnson’s HMS teammates.

However, a penalty to this team could help end the rampant speculation that NASCAR helps them win and that the sanctioning body plays favorites in their direction. Such a penalty might restore at least some interest among those who have or are about to turn away in an anti-Johnson rebellion.

If you have not figured out by now, this column has been written in a tongue-in-cheek style. NASCAR should not penalize a team just for being better than everyone else no more than they should interfere with the end of races by putting out phony debris cautions.

There would be no basis for the writing of such a column as this if there were not a precedent for this type of manipulative behavior in the past. My fear is that the powers that be are making such a joke of their own organization that the ‘sport’ is about to fade into oblivion. If they do not come to their senses soon, there will be even lower television ratings and empty grandstands in the future.

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

Topics: Articles |

12 Responses to “If NASCAR wants some good PR they should penalize the #48 team”

  1. 48x4 Says:
    October 19th, 2009 at 1:02 am

    You’ve got to be kidding, right? Punish them for what? Dominating? Just like the King, Intimidator and Gordon did? Just like DW, Pearson, Yarborough? Gimme a friggin break and quit the crying.

    Appreciate what you are witnessing people. This dude is the greatest of all time!

  2. Millard Fillmore Says:
    October 19th, 2009 at 5:42 am

    didn’t quite make it to the end of the article did you 48X4?

  3. scottydo Says:
    October 19th, 2009 at 7:03 am

    He probably read the title and went straight to the comment section. Great article.

  4. The Old Guy Says:
    October 19th, 2009 at 8:35 am

    48×4 must be my step son. He knows the all the answers before ever reading the questions.

    Good article Rich

  5. Rachel Gaines Says:
    October 19th, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Pretty funny comments all around, but you have to excuse 48×4 for not realizing this column was meant to be tongue in cheek. There are lots of folks out there who seriously do want NASCAR to do something, anything to stop JJ. Personally, I am enjoying watching a guy at the top of his game - like Tiger Woods. It’s just too bad that there are so many haters and whiners out there among a NASCAR community that has the nerve to call itself “family.”

  6. LN Says:
    October 19th, 2009 at 11:29 am

    No….I don’t think 48×4 should be excused. People need to look at the bigger picture here. It is true that the ratings are going to go down. And I can understand why. While I understand that some people do enjoy seing JJ dominating, for others it is getting extremely boring. For me, a semi-new NASCAR fan who watches every race, I personally don’t want to see the same driver win so many races. And though I am sure some others will not agree, I too think that he should be penalized. Looking back at his past record with Chad Knaus, it would come as no surprise to see that the 48 team is cheating. This team has been caught cheating several times, fined, and suspended so it probably isnt the best idea for them to come so close to pushing the limits now. I understand that they havent went past the limits yet, and that JJ is a good driver. I just think they should be more careful. NASCAR should do something if they want to keep their fans……

  7. 61 Starliner Says:
    October 19th, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    I keep hearing about everything is about the championship. So why do we watch the other 26 races? I’ll tell you, I watch all the races because I like to watch racing. I don’t really care who wins the championship. That is just part of the show which I am not really interested in. I just like to watch racing, and hope my driver wins the race. I am not going to quit watching racing just because someone else is gonna win the championship. If the championship is all that matters to you, then you are really missing the point.

  8. midasmicah Says:
    October 19th, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    sorry 48 lover..welcome to the new WWE complete with Mr. Debris. While I have respect for Johnson’s ability as I driver, I have no use for an organization that riggs it’s outcomes. Sad part is, they are so blatent about it.

  9. DTIROC Says:
    October 19th, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    I agree completely…I am an avid Nascar fan…just ask my wife. But I am over this whole JJ thing, to the point I barely watch the races anymore. Any teams other than HMS ( and i am a huge Junior fan…see note above about wife)….but other teams would have been punished harshly. Look at Carl Long….enough said. Nascar favors potential record breakers.

  10. scottydo Says:
    October 19th, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    “Mr. Debris”, that is awesome. I think Kasey Kahne should have slowed down to keep the field closer, then the new “WWE” would not have thrown the “competetion yellow”(debris caution).

  11. RT Says:
    October 19th, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    If the Chase for the Sprint Cup is so hard to win, how come JJ is going to win it 4 times in a row, but by the old points system no one ever won it 4 in a row. The chase is all but a scam, because it allows a team to work on their cars throughout the season and get them ready for the final 10 races and the best team that can engineer their cars for thoses 10 races wins. JJ is not a champion over the long haul because CK needs the regular season to get the cars perfect to win the championship.

  12. Mistclay Says:
    October 19th, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Jiminy Crickets, he won again!!! JJ, bad. CK, bad. They be bad!!! Hee Hee!!!

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