Sure Austin Dillon was smiling from cheek to cheek from his win at Kentucky Speedway Friday night. After all, he did lead 192 of 200 laps, most ever by a Nationwide race winner at the 1.5-mile track. Another track record for NASCAR for 2012! He also finished the race an amazing 9.828 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Kurt Busch.
However, soon after the celebration in Victory Lane had ended, little did Dillon know that his car had failed post-race inspection when officials discovered that the rear of the car was too low.
Here’s NASCAR’s (official) punishment, which was released today:
NASCAR has penalized the No. 3 team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series as a result of rule infractions discovered during post-race inspection last Friday at Kentucky Speedway.
The No. 3 car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20A-12.8.1C (body height requirements – car failed to meet the minimum rear car heights) of the 2012 NASCAR rule book.
As a result, crew chief Danny Stockman Jr. has been fined $10,000, while owner Morgan Shepherd and driver Austin Dillon have been penalized with the loss of six championship owner and six championship driver points, respectively. In addition, Stockman and car chief Robert Strmiska continue to remain on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.
Agree? I don’t. Keep on reading and you’ll find out why.
Now the infraction explains everything… it WAS a bad race. Now I know how Dillon had lapped all but eight cars; I now know how Dillon passed a pack of six cars in one low swoop coming out of the turn. In all my five years of blogging, I agree with Kurt Busch when he stated that “Austin Dillon was in his own zip code” during the race. I thought he just had the “mighty of all hot dog wrappers” stuck to the the opening of the grill on the No. 3 Chevy allowing more downforce with the way he was cruising!
I strongly believe NASCAR should implement a “Take it Away” penalty if a car that won was discovered to have an infraction during post-race inspection. NASCAR needs to take away the win. I know there are many people out there arguing “Oh no, you can’t do that!” blah, blah, blah…. Believe me, I know that teams are aware of the allowable tolerances for adjustments during a race. The team should be held accountable. Not just the driver, crew chief and owner.
Austin Dillon had put Elliott Sadler, the series leader entering the race, a lap down. With his dominating win, Dillon stole the points lead from Sadler.
Let me explain as to why I suggest this such “Take Away Penalty” and I am sure you are aware as to where I am going with this: What if it came down to, oh let’s just go ahead and say Elliott Sadler and Austin Dillon in a tie for the points lead for the Championship at the end of the last race of the season. (Sound familiar?) The number of wins would be the tie breaker, just as it was between Tony Stewart (SHR) and Carl Edwards (Roush Fenway Racing) for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2011. That Championship was settled based on a Walk Off – which meant whichever driver with MOST wins (Tony Stewart), takes the Championship.
So what if it turns out that Dillon has one more win than Sadler – thanks to the Kentucky race in which he had an advantage and was fined, penalized for but got to keep the “win” – and that gives him the Championship.
Is that fair? Why on earth would a car that had an advantage still be allowed to keep the win?
However, some good news did come from this: With the penalty of the six championship points against Dillon and the No. 3 team, Elliott Sadler regains the points lead by just four points heading into Daytona for the Subway Jalapeno 250 this Friday night.