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Stupid is as stupid does - Forrest Gump

The hot topic at Dover last weekend was the penalty assessed against Clint Bowyer’s winning car following a post race inspection at Loudon.  On September 22, 2010 NASCAR released the following statement:
“NASCAR has issued penalties, suspensions, and fines as a result of rules infractions discovered this week  during post-race inspection at the NASCAR Research and Development Center following last Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The No. 33 team was found to be in violation of sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not confirm to NASCAR rules); and 20-3 (car body location specifications in reference to the certified chassis did not meet NASCAR approved specifications.”

As a result, crew chief Shane Wilson was fined $150,000, suspended for the next six races and placed on probation until Dec. 31. Car chief Chad Henry was suspended for the next six races and placed on probation until Dec. 31. Driver Clint Bowyer and team owner Richard Childress have been penalized with the loss of 150 championship and owners points respectively. The penalty dropped Bowyer from second place to twelfth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.  

After the Richmond race NASCAR officials warned Richard Childress that their car was very close to the maximum tolerances. They also told Childress that they were going to take the RCR car to the Research and Development center for a through inspection following the New Hampshire race.
Sure enough Bowyer goes to New Hampshire and wins the race, and sure enough NASCAR takes their car back to the R & D center and lo and behold this car, a different one than they brought to Richmond, fails inspection. The left rear corner panel was found to be too high.
Hard to believe that after NASCAR had warned the Childress organization at Richmond, and knowing how precise the current inspection procedure is, they would show up at New Hampshire with a car that would not pass inspection. I believe the old saying is, “Forewarned is forearmed.” I guess in this case the RCR operative method was best summed up by that world-famous philosopher Forrest Gump, “Stupid is as stupid does.”  With millions of dollars and a season championship on the line, it’s hard to figure. You expect better from RCR.
The operative excuse from RCR has been that the body height was altered by the wrecker that pushed their car to victory lane. Richard Childress said, “It doesn’t make any sense at all that we would send a car to New Hampshire that wasn’t within NASCAR’s tolerances.  I am confident we fixed the area of concern and the New Hampshire car left the race shop well within the tolerances required.” A very agitated Clint Bowyer at a press conference at Dover Sept. 24, implied that violations could be found on  most if not all the cars in the field.
Here is a sampling of drivers comments;
Jeff Gordon - “We’ve been through this before, we are already aware that this can happen to any of us at any time and that you really have to build the best race cars you possibly can, but they have to be able to go to that tech center and come back to your shop without the phone call from NASCAR. There is a constant search in the Sprint Cup community for every edge. Teams are in effect putting the cars sideways on the chassis to take advantage of sideforce and downforce.”
Denny Hamlin, - “You can talk about how small the thing was off and you can really try to say that 60-thousanths off didn’t really help him perform any better, that is a crock. Let me tell you something, that helps a lot. I know when we gain five points of down force, our car runs a ton better.”
Former driver, now FOX TV analyst Darrell Waltrip had perhaps the best take on the situation, “We’ve seen some funny looking things with these cars. We’ve seen them crabbing down the straightaway with the body all crooked on the chassis. Obviously there wasn’t anything visibly wrong or they would have been forced to fix it at the track. If it had been up to me, I would have held a press conference and had a “Show and Tell.”  I would have had the car on display and invited anyone in the media who wanted to attend and shown them exactly what was wrong with the car.”
You may reach Pete Barber at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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