Punishments fitting the infraction

Today NASCAR dropped its penalties on Danica & Kyle. While other are upset we have to remember what they are trying to do and what was done to cause this. It’s a matter of intent on both sides.

Danica received a $20,000 fine and 4 race probation from NASCAR for approaching the race surface after a collision with Kasey Kahne left her vehicle incapacitated.  The rule book section  outlines that is a no-go. This was developed after the Stewart/Ward incident at Canandaigua which left Ward dead and Stewart a shell of the racer that he was. The penalty levied against Patrick is in line with past first time offenses. This rule is for her safety, just as the roll cage and seat belts are for her safety.

Next, Kyle Busch was fined $10,000 and given 4 race probation for missing his media availability. Some have incorrectly stated it was for his in-car comments. It was not, we will get there shortly. Kyle missed his media availability after the Xfinity race because he was busy being “too passionate” to talk to media. I consider this inexcusable. Why inexcusable? Drivers, owners, promoters, sponsors, and NASCAR executives have hidden behind Cup drivers in Xfinity being a good thing, that they are selling the series.

If Kyle is truly helping to sell the Xfinity series, he needs to make it to the media center. That is part of his job. In my opinion, every Cup driver that races in the Xfinity series should have to report to the media center, that’s what they are there for according to everyone. If you can’t stomach a loss and going to the media center, you don’t need to be “selling the series.”

A fine of $10,000 means nothing to Kyle, NASCAR’s intent is future compliance, not to hit him so hard he wants nothing to do with the racing. However, I think there is an easier way to send a message without fining a driver. I would make the Cup series team they drive for forfeit their pit selection the following week and hold the driver in their pit stall for 5 minutes, the minimum length of time they would be needed in the media center. If you want future compliance, you make them answer to their car owners and sponsors that way.

If an upset driver goes to the media center and doesn’t want to say anything, that’s fine, they can make themselves look bad. Eventually sponsors and owners will tire of their attitude as will the fans. You can only be so unapproachable before nobody wants to deal with you. That’s the choice they have to make.

As for Kyle’s radio comments, while I loathe him saying the sport is “fixed” I don’t care, let him express himself. Just remember Kyle, lots of people think NASCAR fixed last season for you and the Xfinity races. That’s the fun of the sport, everyone expects themselves or their driver to win every week, if they don’t… Must be rigged. Kyle is just a passionate fan, a fan of himself, but a fan. I have no issue with that.

Finally, Cole Pearn, the crew chief for Martin Truex Jr was looked at for making the remark, “douchy squinty eyes” in regards to Joey Logano. NASCAR should never have wasted a second on this. It was said on Twitter and Pearn even tagged Logano (who he sees every week) in the tweet. That takes more balls that most fans have when talking smack on Twitter. It was said on Twitter, not on the track, not on NASCAR sanctioned frequencies. Sorry, freedom of speech applies. With freedom of speech you get some not so savory comments, but I am good with that too. That is part of life and freedom.

Always remember, the goal behind penalties should be future compliance, not bankrupting the offender or chasing them away. As long as NASCAR keeps that in mind, it’s movin in the right direction.

Thats it for now. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you from the box.

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