Chicanery Even Mr. Magoo Could See

by Jim on September 12, 2013 · 9 comments

Here we go again! There’s more team communication of a suspicious nature unearthed from Saturday’s race at Richmond. Can we now say NASCAR has it’s own version of a steroid problem? The radio communication of the ’38′team o David Gilliland- ordered to let Joey Logano pass- is now on display in front of God and everyone, and you would have to be as naive as toddler not to understand it.

Regardless of what NASCAR’s statements are about “context,” you would have to be as blind as Mr. Magoo not to know what is happening. NASCAR’s precedent is already in place; if Joey Logano isn’t docked points, if Frank Kerr doews not face some kind of punishment- and all the other parties involved along with them- there will be hell to pay, from the owners to the fans. Jeff Gordon fans, it looks from here like your guy is getting in the Chase after all.

Some may question the hand-wringing over it all. There’s been cheating and allegations of it throughout history. Let’s be clear, sketchy moves have been a part of NASCAR, a part of racing, back to the days of hand-cranked engines. Master mechanics have added “unapproved” parts and additives, and done things to take the weight out of the car. Let’s not forget the winner of the first-ever NASCAR got his trophy taken for coloring outside the lines. One expects a certain amount of sketchiness- but on this scale? We shouldn’t be shocked, but what has happened isn’t right.

The spirit of competition runs throughout sports. Money and prestige aside, you play to win the game. Who wants to hail a winner who got his title because the competition took a dive? It might fly in the world of professional wrestling, which is nothing much more than sports theater. Speaking as a race fan, I expect more, even if it means a driver I don’t like wins. At least I know he or she earned it.

The damage for this season’s Chase has already been done. In a piece for All Left Turns today, I have called for the Chase to be abolished. At first, I bought into the idea, but I’ve soured on it, and the events of this week were the straw that broke the camel’s back. If the Chase won’t be abolished, then a policy with some of the harshest penalties known to motorsports need to be set forth at the outset of 2014.

We’ll have to see what NASCAR does. One would like to think they are doing their due diligence, and when all is said and done, the hammer will fall where it needs to.

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1 Josie September 12, 2013 at 11:16 am

@jim…it’s good to hear you’ve gone from NASCAR can’t really do much on Monday to they better do something today. The thing I found appalling with the 22/38 deal was the “something big” Penske was to be compensating the 38 with…I’m more then curious as to what that was. I’ve pretty much known drivers give spots..let others pass them yadda yadda for years and years…in turn they “repaid” the favor with like moves should the accommodating team need it down the road. But it never occurred to me something with actual “street value” was traded..whether it be a new engine, car, or even $$$$…. I’m floored! Maybe I’m off base…any ideas on your part Jim as to what the 38 wanted??

2 Jim September 12, 2013 at 11:24 am

@Josie- I’m as curious as you. They are both Ford teams: perhaps there was some technical support. That’s my guess. Bet they don’t get it now.
To be clear- there’s not much difference between my position Monday and today. Proving Bowyer did wrong was and is still hard to do. The deal with the ’55′ though adds enough circumstantial evidence to suggest NASCAR did right by depriving MWR of the goal of all their trickery- no ’56′ in the Chase.
The 22/38 looks pretty darn blatant. That’s an easy call. The ’55′ was an easy call. The ’15′ is a little more challenging, BUT everyone else was in on that, why not them?

3 Josie September 12, 2013 at 12:24 pm

@ Jim…I’m guessing (totally) nothing is going to come of the 22/38 deal…Logano was on NASCAR NOW Chase show..and tomorrow they practice and get rolling..I would think nascar would want to just move on as quickly as possible. If things get switched again i feel bad for Logano..hes a pawn much like Truex! Maybe someone could check the Chicago garages and see if the 24 and 22 cars have swapped stalls! Speaking of NASCAR Now…I watched the program…they interviewed the Chase drivers..but unless I fell asleep..I didn’t see Bowyers interview. I reran the program..still missed him?? Did he refuse or ESPN refuse or I’m blind??

4 Jim September 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm

@Josie- good question.

5 baggs September 12, 2013 at 1:48 pm

I didn’t see the whole staged entertainment event at Richmond, but I’ve read a few articles that stated the 88 and 5 just let Jeffy go by to get extra points, at some point in the event. What’s the difference between that and the 22 and 38, and the 15 and 55 being called in to the pits. This has been weekly procedure forever. All of a sudden its a big deal.

6 Josie September 12, 2013 at 2:21 pm

@baggs..the problem is…NASCAR didn’t address the problem! They penalized the 55 for pitting and going slow..but left the blatant spin of Bowyer untouched! That’s the problem! As far as 22/38 deal going…what was the “big payoff” for the 38? Swapping spots happens all year round..a courtesy between drivers and teams with the understanding of possible returned help in the future. But…”buying” a spot or two was the main theme on the 22/38 radio transmission…that’s a whole different kettle of fish! If positions on track start going to the highest bidder.. NASCAR may as well change their races from being sports programs to game shows cause all I can think of is Lets Make a Deal!!

7 Jim September 12, 2013 at 5:32 pm

@baggs- So intentionally losing to get a #1 pick is ok? Not doing your best is alright? This is not the way sports works! Personally, I’d hand out suspensions for every driver caught doing it! This was a “playoff” spot on the line. If Joey and Martin couldn’t earn it, they don’t deserve it. End of story.

8 Jillian September 13, 2013 at 1:16 am

Jim, You summed up my thoughts in your last comment.

It is stunning to watch PRO NASCAR drivers give interviews and say that NASCAR needs to explain where the line is. What???

If I attend a race then I expect drivers to give it their all and actually (gasp) RACE each other. I paid for the race, traveled, devoted my time and have to survive the hassle of redneck drunks.

Drivers publicly complaining about other drivers racing them on lap 50, instead of closer to the end of the race when it actually ‘matters’. I don’t think they wait or stall’ in football, soccer, baseball, golf etc. Why do drivers think this is OK? We buy their gear and are probably more dedicated than any other fans…maybe TOO much so. The racing might be boring because they aren’t really trying for most of the race.

9 Vicki September 13, 2013 at 5:09 am

I agree that, as strongly as NASCAR reacted to punish MWR, to allow the 22/38 to slide by after such blatant deal-making would just be a travesty….even worse than doing nothing at all in the first place. And yes, as Josie says, letting a teammate pass to gain a spot is one thing but making a quid pro quo for some kind of pay-off is something entirely different.

But I just don’t think they will take Joey out of the Chase. How awkward would that be? The pictures are taken, the interviews are done, the racing will all start today. Poor Jeff, he got double-shafted by both MWR and Penske. What a mess this has all turned out to be.

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