If NASCAR decides to start taking away wins for rules violations, they can expect some very unhappy drivers.
Over the last two days, a chorus of voices has called for NASCAR to strip drivers of wins if the post-races inspection finds rules violations — and the word “cheat” has been thrown around, as Dale Jarrett said:
“It’s not fair that on Wednesday, we find out that the winner of the race has cheated — has bent the rules. I hate the word ‘cheated,’ but everybody’s trying everything they can.”
But Joey Logano has pushed back, based on reporting by CatchFence. Logano said, according to the tweet: “I don’t like the word cheating. We’re taking about something very, very small.” He continued, “This is pushing he edge.”
One day after two prominent NASCAR cars ripped drivers who “cheated,” another analyst says NASCAR is considering stripping who violate the rules of wins as soon as next year.
In remarks on NBC Sports (see the video above), analyst Nate Ryan said he spoke to NASCAR officials who are looking closely at the new measure.
“I think NASCAR is seriously going to consider stripping wins in 2018. I don’t think that’s going to be in consideration as far as a change in policy this season,” Ryan said. “I think it’s absolutely, I’ve been told, under consideration for next season.”
The issue has picked up steam following Denny Hamlin’s two encumbered victories at Darlington this past weekend — in Cup and XFinity Series races. Crew chief Mike Wheeler was slapped with $50,000 fine and suspended for two races. The team lost 25 owner points and 25 driver points, in addition to Hamlin’s first-place finishes being ruled encumbered because of a rear suspension violation.
Jeff Burton and Dale Jarrett kicked off the discussion on Wednesday with their remarks on NASCAR America. Burton’s were the strongest.
Burton, the former NASCAR rookie of the year, and Jarrett, the former NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship, want NASCAR start disqualifying drivers whose cars fail post-race inspection, and levy six-figure fines. Burton, in his remarks, specifically called out Denny Hamlin in remarks on NASCAR America.
“I think it’s time to start disqualifying people. I think it’s time in today’s world where Denny Hamlin won that race and by him winning that race, that kept someone else from winning the race, and no one got those five points moving into the playoffs.
“It’s time to disqualify people. It’s time to say, ‘If you’re illegal, here’s the rules.’ Whether you like the rules or not, that’s not the question. These are the rules as written. If you are found to break the rules, and it’s not a mistake, it 100 percent happened — and even if it is a mistake, you have to be responsible for them.
“It’s time to start taking wins away. It’s time to give the points to the person that won the race. Any team that wins and did it illegal didn’t win the race. Every short track in the country takes wins away, but we can’t do it here.”