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Richmond Penalties: Why They Aren’t Quite Enough & Fans Have Opinions Too You Know.

Posted by Amy in General | NASCAR

I really do NOT want to continue to beat a dead horse by going into the Richmond stuff again- but I feel that I have to respond to the penalties that followed the NASCAR race at Richmond especially after I posted my opinions on what happened during the race and what I thought NASCAR should do and what I thought they would do (which as I mentioned were two separate things). I posted an initial reaction to the penalties on my Facebook page, and retweeted several tweets if you follow me there- but I really feel the need to expound on what I said in both places.

Well, I think the first thing is all of us to remind ourselves, it’s a sport.  It has a tremendous amount of fun to it.  Occasionally, and particularly our role, is to regulate the sport and police it and officiate it so that everybody has got a reasonable playing field to participate in.  So we have days like today that we run across and have challenges that our role is to react to, and this is one of those days.-- Mike Helton, NASCAR President (source: 9-9-13 press conference transcript)

On the off chance that I wasn’t clear in my initial post on the subject, what Michael Waltrip Racing did put NASCAR’s status as a sport and as a competition in danger.  I am of the mind that what they did effectively manipulated the seedings and standings of not just the race at hand but the championship instead of letting the natural competition dictate them.  I do not see a difference between what Michael Waltrip Racing did and the 2012 Olympic badminton fiasco or a say a boxer or other team purposely throwing a fight or match to change the seedings for subsequent matches or financial gains.  They were not giving an honest effort at the competition itself. By doing what they did, it is my opinion that Michael Waltrip Racing forced NASCAR’s hand so to speak because if NASCAR turned the other cheek- it would place their authority as a sanctioning body into question.  Yes the penalties were harsh – but not overly harsh considering the situation.  Punishment needed to be harsh otherwise NASCAR is opening up doors to other teams manipulating the outcome of not just one race but the entire championship.

That’s why we’re sitting here tonight explaining why we made the decisions we made, in hopes to explain why we did that and to offer up some reasonableness to our credibility.– Mike Helton, NASCAR President (source: 9-9-13 press conference transcript)

I am the most disappointed with the fact that Clint Bowyer is still in the chase.  I really think that NASCAR should have removed him, Martin Truex Jr and Brian Vickers (not that he was in contention but if he had been) from any hopes of a chase contention.  Why? My thoughts on it are two prong. First- it’s my opinion that Clint spun on purpose and that he was an active participant in what went down- team orders or not.  For that reason alone- in my mind he should not have the ability to content with a championship. If you work for a corporation and your boss tells you to do something against regulations and you do it- you expect that you will both get punished right? But moreover- I don’t see how is it fair that MWR be allowed to contend for a championship at all.  Personally- I think that they shouldn’t be allowed to rack up ANY points for the rest of the season.  The penalty needs to be harsh enough to send a message that NASCAR’s sanctioning body does not take kindly to points manipulation of any kind- end of story.

Every fan that is engaged in conversation, it’s great.  Now, the topic may not be.  It’s not the topic we’d like for it to necessarily be.  But we get the fact that there are going to be days like today where we’re having to make a decision to react to something that didn’t go right to the balance of the rest of the garage area, and that’s what today is. –Mike Helton, NASCAR President (source: 9-9-13 press conference transcript)

On a side note- I wanted to mention the passionate fan response to this situation.  I find the sheer amount of debate on social media regarding what happened at Richmond encouraging and I think NASCAR should as well.  Why? Because no matter what side of the debate you are on- you are passionate enough about NASCAR to share your thoughts in social media venues out there.  I LOVE that about NASCAR.  Unfortunately people on social media can get ugly with each other sometimes- and forget that there are people behind the differing opinions and those people deserve as much respect as the next one.  That part I do not love.

What I also don’t love is when someone who is part of NASCAR or in this case NASCAR broadcast partner ESPN putting down fans for being passionate and having opinions.  I very well may have taken this tweet wrong – after all sometimes it’s hard to inflect the meaning and emotion you want in 140 characters (I know this all too well)- but this tweet by Nicole Briscoe in response to something Jeff Gluck tweeted about fans thoughts about Richmond makes it seem like fans just expressing their opinions do not count or shouldn’t be taken seriously because “they are just whining.” One person’s opinion is another person’s “whine” apparently:

Yikes- I hope Nicole didn’t mean that the way it came off.

Hopefully I can stop “whining” now and get to the Richmond race report that I need to post.

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