Caught: Your Cheatin' Frame Rails Will Tell on You
I know I’ve said countless times, “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying,” in this space.
But darn, people, this is too much.
In the course of this week, we have had Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants get popped for using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Then came word that it was Bartolo Colon of the Oakland Athletics who was on the PEDs. (Seriously, the dude weighs a metric ton, what is he on?)
The NASCAR boys decided to get back in on the act at Michigan last week.
Kyle Busch’s team was busted for an improperly attached weight and race equipment that does not conform to NASCAR rules during a practice session on Aug. 18. Crew chief Dave Rogers was fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Oct. 3.
Not to be outdone, the Richard Childress Racing No. 27 team and crew chief Slugger Labbe decided it would be a good idea to modify the frame rails of that car at Michigan.
The No. 27 team was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4K (race equipment that has been previously certified or previously approved by NASCAR for use in an event, pursuant to sub-section 8-12, has been altered, modified, repaired or changed in any manner. Intentionally modifying frame rails for the purpose of deceiving NASCAR’s inspection gauges) of the 2012 NASCAR Rule Book.
As a result, crew chief Labbe has been fined $100,000, suspended from NASCAR until Oct. 3 and placed on probation until Dec. 31.
Car chief Craig Smokstad has been suspended from NASCAR until Oct. 3 and placed on probation until Dec. 31, while crew member Grant Hutchens also has been suspended from NASCAR until Oct. 3 and placed on probation until Dec. 31.
Driver Paul Menard and owner Richard Childress have been penalized with the loss of 25 championship drivers’ and owners’ points, respectively.
While the Busch infraction is minor, the one pulled by the No 27 team (driven by Paul Menard) is not.
It is one that impacts safety of the competitor, especially in light of the freak accident that Mark Martin had in that same race where the blunt end of a wall separating pit lane from the pit stalls impaled his car right behind the driver’s seat.
As far as NASCAR has come with its safety measures over the last decade, it is heinous to think that a team would risk the safety of its driver. And as, Larry McReynolds said, it’s not like the modification would make them a winning car.
I admit it, I like the guys that work the edges of the rule book and operate in that gray area of the letter of the law.
To an extent.
But it’s just too much when you jeopardize your driver’s safety.
On an unrelated note, I crossed Bristol Motor Speedway off my track bucket list Wednesday. I went to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race to do some public relations work for the No. 92 team and driver Chad McCumbee.
They battled to a 23rd place finish after a long green flag run at the outset of the race got them behind.
If you have not been to Bristol, I highly recommend it. It’s everything you ever thought it could be and television doesn’t do it justice.
Contact Andy Cagle at andy email@example.com. Follow Cagle on Twitter @Andy_Cagle.
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