NASCAR made right call with penalties

BY Darrell Waltrip • July 22, 2010

Not all NASCAR penalties are about rule infractions found on the race car. There are other penalties that have to be determined. NASCAR's the keeper of the sport. It's the one that has to promote and protect the image of the sport. The officials have to protect the integrity of the sport.

It's like the drug-testing policy. NASCAR officials want to protect the integrity and image of the sport. That was a policy they put in place to police and protect the competitors. A clean image is important. We're fortunate to have millions of people watching the races on TV and attending them as well. We're judged by how we perform. We're also judged by how we act.

That's part of the reason NASCAR handed down the penalties this week to Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski. Trust me when I tell you this isn't going against their “have at it, boys” policy. That new approach is working. It's helped create some of the best racing I've ever seen.

The difference here is NASCAR doesn't have a “have at it, boys” problem. What it does have is a Carl and Brad problem. The officials realize they need to get that under control. When drivers do things unprofessionally and cheapen our sport, it's unacceptable, and you, like I, should expect them to step in and control that.

I know there are people upset that NASCAR fined Carl and deducted points, plus put Brad on probation. Actually, I happen to think it's the right call. Even though Brad might be an antagonist, Carl definitely overreacted Saturday night. Carl has to be able to control his emotions, and I think that's the message NASCAR's sending him.

There's a big difference between being aggressive on the racetrack and being reckless. Tha's what NASCAR was looking at. When you go and tell people you did something on purpose, naturally NASCAR doesn't have a choice but to lower the boom on you.

I know it was a controversial race Saturday night, and now it's even more controversial with the penalties being handed down. I still believe it was the right call. NASCAR has to protect this sport. We don't want anything to be detrimental to its image. We fight that enough as it is. Hopefully, this will clean up the mess that's evolved from Carl and Brad's situation. Hopefully, these boys will go back to simply trading paint, putting on a great show for the fans and quit sticking each other in the wall.


in this topic

share story