They sure don't make those Cinderella slippers like they used to. It only took three days for
"It revolves around how the body of the car is located on the frame," said Sprint Cup Director
What does that mean in English? In short, the car was constructed in a way outside the Car of Tomorrow's body tolerances, violating measurement guidelines ensuring a level playing field across the board. Since the rule in question, section 20.3, is actually a 16-page list of body specifications, it's impossible to go much deeper than that, frustrating considering the magnitude of how it alters the Championship Chase. Remember though, whether it created a performance advantage was inconsequential in NASCAR's eyes: Vice President of Competition
"We feel certain that the cause of the car being out of tolerance by sixty thousandths of an inch, less than 1/16 of an inch, happened as a result of the wrecker hitting the rear bumper when it pushed the car into winner's circle," he said. "The rear bumper was also hit on the cool down lap by other drivers congratulating Clint on his victory. That's the only logical way that the left-rear of the car was found to be high at the tech center. We will appeal NASCAR's ruling and take it all the way to the NASCAR commissioner for a final ruling, if need be."
"I think that going back to the points penalty, you know, at some point in time I think that you will see it continue to rise and you may even see it be more than what you can even gain by starting a race," Pemberton said in defense of that question. "It could get into the 200-point category at some point in time."
That's a good deterrent, but it also doesn't change the record book or put an asterisk next to the victory. It's the same problem other sports have (think Bonds, steroids, home runs) but one that NASCAR appears to sidestep rather than directly address it.
Here's the second, more important issue fans are struggling to come to grips with: How can a car get penalized after the race has been over for 48 hours?
"We do our final post-race inspection on Tuesdays," explained Pemberton "It's not any different than if we were at 9:00 at night on a Sunday night, tore an engine down, and would find it to be big. By then the fans have gone, they've left the racetrack, and they understand the winner is the winner."
Hmm. But the difference is compared to stick 'n' ball sports, compared to the instant gratification of replays overturning calls you're asking people to wait until midweek until you get a bunch of measuring sticks out of your toolbox, then believe your unsupervised conclusions that a car trekked 1,000 miles from the track is suddenly illegal. Anyone else see some sort of disconnect there? I always knew we'd have a major issue once inspection got moved away from the track, and while the R&D Center is a public facility it still carries an air of secrecy surrounding it the sport has to address.
Childress has already filed an appeal, sent to the National Stock Car Racing Commission with a date to be determined. If that three-member voting panel votes to reverse the decision, the matter is settled; otherwise, they can appeal to the sport's U.S. Supreme Court, the National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer, former GM executive
For Bowyer, he'll have to slog through the next nine races with nothing but wins and revenge on his mind.
And for fans, most of which have already sent a message with a shocking 28 percent decrease in ratings at Loudon, are left scratching their heads a bit. Nobody wants a championship decided on a penalty, especially within a system no one's all that wild about to begin with. So it's hard to see NASCAR painted in any other light than the bad guy, even though in this case they might actually be looked down on for doing the right thing, keeping order within a sport where crossing the line was once a weekly ordeal.