Cheating is prevalent in NASCAR. Fans know it, NASCAR officials know it, and drivers/teams certainly know it and try their best to get away with it.
Drivers and teams are monitored more closely now than ever before, so it’s more difficult to get away with cheating. But there are small things drivers can do to gain an edge, and teams will do everything they can to take advantage of it because they know everyone is doing it.
One fan posed a question to Motorsport.com for a Q&A about cheating, and he asked if NASCAR could ban cheaters from participating in the next race. Here’s the solution Lee Spencer had in response:
“The old adage, ‘If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying,’ is part of a long-standing cat-and-mouse game in NASCAR,” Spencer said. “Still, NASCAR can’t afford to lose car counts at this time. So parking a competitor is out of the question. However, if the sanctioning body wanted to send a message, it would start taking away wins immediately.
“Teams know they can “buy” wins by paying fines for cheating — if the infractions are discovered. For the top teams, cheating is worth the risk for a win. Bill France’s philosophy of wanting the fans to know who won the race before leaving the track doesn’t wash in the age of social media.”
NASCAR officials will likely never be able to suspend drivers for a race for cheating, but it’s obvious that fines aren’t enough. Teams will gladly pay fines in exchange for a win. Fines aren’t a big deal.
But if they started taking wins away? Now that will catch their attention. There are encumbered wins now for failing inspections after the race, and Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin both had wins that didn’t count toward the standings this season, but if they were more strict about taking wins away, cheating throughout the sport might die down.
It’s unlikely NASCAR takes drastic measures to fix cheating, but there are options available if they want to crack down on it.