There is only ONE Oklahoma

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Remember, There Was No Gunman on the Grassy Knole

Some to this day still hold that there just had to be more than one gunman other than the one on the sixth floor of the book depository that fateful November day in Dallas, but science and today's technology simply can't give any credence to what they believe to the true. Simply put, Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone that day.

Even in today's Nascar, for many it is easier to claim a conspiracy when it comes to fines and penalties and we are seeing this again this week. Nascar late Tuesday afternoon announced some of the penalties for the 9, 10, 17, and 19 teams and before one could say 'Jayski', the comparison to penalties handed down just a year ago were made, and the conspiracy theories bloomed from there.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the fine line between cheating and innovation which is pretty applicable to today and the opinions being brought fourth.

First lets flash back to the official Nascar statement just a year ago concerning the 48 team and their violations. (rule violation in bold)

Chad Knaus, crew chief for the #48 Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson, has been fined $25,000 and suspended from all NASCAR events until March 22, 2006 [thru Atlanta race]. Knaus has also been placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2006. The penalties come because of an unapproved template modification to the rear window area, violating Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 20-3.12.1 (A) (unapproved template modification.) of the 2006 NASCAR Rule book. The violation was discovered during Feb. 12 post-qualifying inspection for the Daytona 500. On Feb. 13, NASCAR ejected Knaus from further participation in Daytona 500 activities as a result of the violation.[No Point Penalties]

From today's announcement:
NASCAR announced Tuesday that four Nextel Cup Series crew chiefs have been suspended from competition, starting with Sunday’s season-opening Daytona 500. Two of the four – Ken Francis, crew chief for the #9 Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne; and Robbie Reiser, crew chief for the #17 Ford of Matt Kenseth – have been suspended for four races and fined $50,000. Also, Kahne and Kenseth were penalized with the loss of 50 driver championship points while their car owners, Ray Evernham and Jack Roush, were penalized 50 car owner championship points. The violations by the #9 and #17 teams were found during post-qualifying inspection on Feb. 11. Both teams’ qualifying times were disallowed. Two others – Rodney Childers, crew chief for the #10 Dodge driven by Scott Riggs; and Josh Browne, crew chief for the #19 Dodge driven by Elliott Sadler – have been suspended for two races and fined $25,000. In addition, Riggs and Sadler were penalized 25 driver championship points while their car owners, James Rocco and Evernham, were penalized 25 car owner championship points. The violations by the #10 and #19 teams were found prior to qualifying. In each instance the violations were of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4-Q (car, car parts components and/or equipment not conforming to NASCAR rules) and 20-2.1E (unapproved aerodynamic modification) of the series rule book.

In the case of the 9 and 17, there were holes drilled or cut to allow airflow that normally would not be able to pass thru the car, thus gaining an advantage. But more importantly (and unlike the 48 from the previous year) the holes are considered an illegal modification (when not plugged) thus making the part illegal as well.

As for the 10 and 19, they used unapproved/illegal fasteners that hold the rear spoiler to the trunk lid which allowed air to flow out of the trunk".

All four of these cars are in violation and a violation that has a very clear difference from the 48 in the previous year. That being that all four of these cars used illegal/unapproved parts. The 48 never once had an illegal/unapproved part on it, however, simply (and ingeniously) configured legal parts in a manner that changed the aerodynamics of the car.

I am not saying that the 48 did not deserve a penalty last season (and they did receive one that was pretty harsh). But I am making a clear distinction between a 'points deduction violation' (using illegal/unapproved parts to gain a perceived advantage) and a 'fine/suspension violation' (using all legal/approved parts to gain a perceived advantage) with no point deduction.

There is a difference, and while Nascar seems to be once again sending a message to the teams that cheating while not be tolerated, they do still want to see innovation play a big part in the sport.

Now the 55 is totally different ball game if the 'substance' is not simply motor oil. More to come I'm sure.

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