NASCAR

NASCAR goes too far against Childress

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Jeff Hammond

Jeff Hammond is a former NASCAR crew chief who led Darrell Waltrip to two of his three Sprint Cup championships. The duo also teamed up to win the 1989 Daytona 500. Prior to that, Hammond was the jackman for Cale Yarborough for all three of his Cup championships. He has 43 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief. Follow him on Twitter.

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I’m stunned.

NASCAR announced its penalty against Richard Childress today – which includes a $150,000 fine and probation for the rest of the year – after his altercation with Kyle Busch following Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race.

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The officials that handed out this penalty have more facts than I do to work with. They may have heard something that came out of Childress’ or Busch’s mouth to base their decision. Or they may feel like this is the ultimate deterrent for any other owner to take something in their hands when they feel like NASCAR should be the one handling it.

But I’m still shocked – that is a lot of money to fine someone for this type of incident.

I’m not in agreement with it, but I don’t know all the facts like NASCAR does.

I think we are going to have to wait and see how this penalty plays out – and whether it will be preventive or will make owners tell their drivers to settle things out on track with their vehicles. I think it does change the game and the mindset of how you handle certain things now.

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  • What do you think of the penalty against Richard Childress?
    • It fits the crime.
    • It's too harsh.
    • It didn't go far enough.
    • Why wasn't Kyle Busch penalized, too?

The only thing I feel disappointed about is that NASCAR President Mike Helton said Kyle Busch did nothing to violate his probation. How do they not agree that Busch ran into the side of Joey Coulter’s truck deliberately – which provoked Childress on Saturday? That part I’m a little mystified by. Why didn’t NASCAR call Busch into the truck and ask “Why did you do that? Was that necessary? Do you realize that you are getting close to stepping over the line of your probation?” That surprises me.

To me, these actions say what Busch did was totally OK. It’s confusing.

This is one of those times that I’m going to have to trust NASCAR that what they know is more than what we know and that’s why they made this decision.

I am in no way trying to put down Kyle Busch after what happened at Kansas, but at the same time you have to look at his record. He has had a lot of incidents, not only with the Richard Childress Racing drivers but also with other drivers.

He is a hard racer. Some people say Kyle isn’t gentlemanly enough or as respectful as they would like for him to be. I really feel like this has been building for quite some time. Think back to what happened at Darlington last month with Kevin Harvick – an RCR driver.

Richard Childress told Busch that he better not hit any of Richard’s vehicles ever again. It didn’t matter if it was his race cars or his race trucks. Now everyone knows that Richard is old school. Once he makes a statement, Richard is the type of man who has no problem backing it up.

People can say well the days of the Wild West are over and the thing about meeting at high noon in the O.K. Corral to settle things is long past. In Childress’ mind it isn’t. Trust me when I tell you that this isn’t the first time I have been around an old school driver turned car owner who felt that way. Two words – Junior Johnson.

What guys like Junior or Richard told you was something you could take to the bank. That is their style. You better respect it because if you cross that line with them, well they are going to come looking to settle up.

What happened this weekend to Richard was a matter of principle. To Childress, Busch crossed the line hitting the RCR truck after the checkered flag. To Childress, Busch didn’t listen, didn’t believe what Richard told him and basically disrespected him.

Other owners like Jack Roush have a code of ethics. I really believe he would respect the fact that Childress gave Busch fair warning but he refused to listen. So Childress simply went and did what he said he was going to do. He made his point to Busch loud and clear.

Childress stood his ground and made his point. In his mind he decided that there had been enough talk and it was time to take action. Now he has to face the consequences of his action.

Obviously I can’t speak for Childress, but you have to think about all the RCR cars that Busch has torn up over the past year to year and a half. Maybe Richard figured what happened at Kansas was probably the cheapest solution if it got Kyle’s attention.

Did it get Kyle’s attention? Was the message delivered? We don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see. I think we also have to give a tip of the hat to Kyle for coming out Sunday and talking to us on NASCAR on FOX. He was man enough to do that. That was a real sign of maturity.

Now maybe we can take it for what it is and move on. In his statement to the media following the NASCAR penalty announcement, Richard mentions his focus and the team focus is now on the Cup race at Pocono and the truck race at Texas.

 


 

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