Fines and Probation Periods Consistently Inconsistence

Dale Wilkerson                                                                              May 2011

Whenever NASCAR drops the hammer on a driver for his on-track actions, or post race actions, folks always question the reasoning behind the corrective action.
Should he have been fined for that? Why is he on probation? What that guy did was worse, why wasn’t his fine higher? Hey, that driver didn’t get anything for what he did last year, how can they reprimand these guys and after letting that guy get by with what he did last year? Those two guys wrecked each other and rumors are floating that one of them might have hauled off and punched the other one right there in the NASCAR hauler, neither one of them didn’t get fined or any probation time? Why all the fuss, he was just standing up for his team wasn’t he?
That sampling is just a small example of what race fans are asking each other with the announcement of a four week probationary period and the $50,000 in total fines levied against Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick for their actions after the Showtime Southern 500. And over the years, these same questions have been asked any time one driver gets fined for something when another driver received a pass for the same action.
First, Harvick should not have left his car until he parked it in the garage area. Busch should have backed up, drove around the track or just kept his window net up. Then secondly, when Harvick reached inside Busch’s car and Busch stepped on the gas, Harvick could have been injured and Harvick’s could have been parked near an opening on the pit wall. If that car had been in a position to go through an opening on pit road, I shudder to think about what could have happened. I would almost bet that if they had only slammed doors on the cool off lap, or yelled across their cars in the garage area, no fines or probation time would have been placed on either driver.
Last season we witnessed Carl Edwards exact revenge on Brad Keselowski twice as he took the phrase ‘Boys have at it’ to heart. The first incident was after Keselowski made contact with Edwards early in the spring race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. When Carl returned to the track late in the race, he made two attempts to turn Keselowski. His first failed but the second sent Keselowski airborne, roof first, into the catch fence and front stretch wall. The second incident was after Keselowski rooted Edwards out of the groove going for the victory in a Nationwide Series race at St Louis. Edwards turned Keselowski drivers’ side first into the outside wall coming off turn four. Edwards was awarded the victory while Keselowski and about ten other teams were left to repair or junk ten race heavily damaged racecars. Edwards was not fined for either of these incidents.
Most fans and a lot of teams thought Edwards should have been fined or even parked for a few races last year. Harvick was once parked and suspended for the Sprint Cup race the following day after spinning another truck out at Martinsville. Of course after Harvick, after being told to park and report to the NASCAR Hauler, drove his truck from the racetrack straight to the NASCAR Hauler, everybody was expecting shift action from NASCAR to get his attention.
NASCAR officials are hoping that the fines and probation periods slapped on Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch will get their attention as well as make other drivers take notice and think about what they are about to say or do both on and off the speedway. But will these guys really care that they are paying a $25,000 fine? Probably not, in fact I believe to get their attention, the fines should be larger.
One group of folks was happy to see a little pushing and shoving after the race; and that group of now smiling people would be the ticket sales office managers. I am certain that the folks at Dover and Charlotte have seen their ticket sales jump in the past few days.
A little bumping and grinding on the race track is one thing, but jumping from cars and pushing unmanned cars is way too much. In the words of Sheriff Andy Taylor, “Act like you’ve got some smarts!”