Nascar Tries To Clear The Air Over Stewart Fine

Discussion in 'Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series' started by what, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. what

    what Super Moderator

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    4/27/2016

    Why does there seem to be a communication breakdown in NASCAR?

    One competitor’s comments ostensibly can draw a fine from the sanctioning body, while the a similar message from another driver goes unpunished.

    “The issue is really simple. It’s when you cross into the line where either you make it personal, you call out certain names of officials in the sport, that’s not necessary”

    NASCAR chairman Brian France says there’s a clear line that shouldn’t be crossed when it comes to competitors criticizing the sport in public.

    Brian France defends NASCAR's decision to fine Stewart

    On Monday, France took to the SiriusXM NASCAR Radio airwaves to define that line — then returned to the channel not 24 hours later to spell it out further. His appearances came just days after Tony Stewart questioned NASCAR’s commitment to safety. France took offense to the driver/owner’s comments. Subsequently, Stewart was fined $35,000.

    “Take any other sport where what happens in a game — a certain call, an officiated call — ‘I got fouled, the officials did a bad job making their calls,’ we allow all that,” France said on Tuesday. “Other leagues, you can’t say a word about that. Not one word about that at all. We do. We allow them to criticize NASCAR, to say, ‘we didn’t get something right’ or ‘I didn’t really do that,’ et cetera. Those are all judgement calls.

    “The issue is really simple. It’s when you cross into the line where either you make it personal, you call out certain names of officials in the sport, that’s not necessary. We take offense at that. Or even worse, that you somehow denigrate the racing product either by saying we don’t care about safety or that the racing product itself is not good. Those are personal views, but they denigrate the sport. Our line is way out there compared to any other league, but you have to have some line, some idea of how we’re going to let drivers express themselves.”

    “You’re just taking character away from people. Taking the drivers’ ability to have opinions and be fiery and opinionated and cause some ruckus, are going away.”

    Stewart’s self-defined “rant” regarding lug nuts came after similar comments were made by veteran drivers Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr. At Bristol, Earnhardt said loose wheels freaked him out and added he was “blown away” by NASCAR removing personnel from pit road to officiate tire changing.

    “I could not believe that was the choice that they made,” Earnhardt said. “But that is the world we live in. There are not enough officials today to revert, so it’s a knot that can’t be retied. We will just have to try to do the best we can as drivers not to end up in the fence.”

    Earnhardt's comments were not dramatically different from Stewart's

    "We shouldn’t be playing games with safety to win races," Stewart said. ”It should be out-performing the other teams, not jeopardizing drivers’ lives by teams putting two lug nuts on to try to get two more spots off pit road.

    "I guarantee you that envelope is going to keep getting pushed until somebody gets hurt. You will not have heard a rant that’s going to be as bad as what’s going to come out of my mouth if a driver gets hurt because of a loose wheel that hurts one of them.

    "With all the crap we’re going through with all the safety stuff, and for them to sit there and sit on their hands on this one - this is not a game you play with safety, and that’s exactly the way I feel like NASCAR is treating this. This is not the way to do this."

    Consequently, NASCAR amended its rule on Monday requiring teams in Sprint Cup, Xfinity and truck series to secure five lug nuts on each stop. Failure to do so will result in a P3 fine.

    Lost in the translation

    Danica Patrick, who was on the same Sirius show prior to France on Tuesday, acknowledged she’s tempered her comments — particularly since her teammate/owner Stewart was fined.

    “In my career, I think it’s a good idea not to say too controversial a thing,” Patrick said. “But by all means I definitely thought before, like, ‘Would I get in trouble for saying that?’ And for sure, now, I think I should say nothing.

    “Whether it’s that or whether it’s my fine for putting my hands up in the air in Fontana after Kasey Kahne took me out on the straightaway to say, “What the heck did you do?’ You’re just taking character away from people. Taking the drivers’ ability to have opinions and be fiery and opinionated and cause some ruckus, are going away. I think it’s a slippery slope.”

    Apparently, something in the message regarding Patrick’s fine was lost in translation. Her Fontana assessment stemmed from a safety violation when she climbed from her car and walked toward the apron. However, waving arms and other gestures — along with smack talk among competitors are welcomed — even encouraged by NASCAR.

    What's allowed and what's not

    “When we talk to drivers behind the scenes, we’re constantly trying to tell them to express their emotions,” France added. “We love that. Because that’s part of what we do, right? We know that they have all these sponsor commitments and many times they’re representing someone’s brand and there’s limits in what they can say…but we’re very open to them saying what’s on their mind.”

    France referred to the drivers as NASCAR’s “most important voice". He also reiterated if there was any ambiguity in his explanation, the competitors are free to follow up with the sanctioning body. As in the case with Stewart, who France noted was a member of the drivers council, the situation could have been handled better had the competitor approached a member from the front office before airing his views publicly.

    “We listen very carefully because their opinions are very important,” France said. “And when you imply NASCAR doesn’t care about safety, you can expect a reaction from us.”

    Danica Patrick comments further

    Still, Patrick believes it’s in NASCAR best interest to “let people be themselves.”

    “You still have to let drivers have their personalities — and let everyone else have a personality, too, in this sport,” Patrick said. “I think that’s what makes it interesting. And I told them that. So if they fine me for saying that, than I can say that I said that to you in the privacy of the NASCAR trailer. You just got to be careful.

    "When I think of NASCAR, I think of boys have it, rough, aggressive, rubbing’s racin’, that’s what I think of. Kind of just being able to do whatever you want. It just seems like a lot less possible. There hasn’t been a lot of times when I’ve had to keep my mouth shut when I’ve wanted to say something, but it’s crossed my mind, definitely, a few times, ‘I don’t know what NASCAR would think about that.’”
     
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  2. DownForce

    DownForce Administrator

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    Brian France...sheesh
     
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    still Administrator

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    Its amazing aint it?
     
  4. DownForce

    DownForce Administrator

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    He's such a tool...I wonder how far his family is going to let him drag NASCAR down before they insist he step down?
     
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