Penalties for Gibbs teams more like slap on wrist
"Gibbs teams hammered."
That was the headline on NASCAR.com Wednesday after the sanctioning body dished out its penalties for Joe Gibbs Racing after the stunt it pulled in Saturday's Nationwide Series post-race inspection at Michigan International Speedway.
The penalties and fines were characterized as some of harshest ever applied in the sport by many of the reports I heard and read in the hours that followed.
Personally, I call it a slap on the wrist, and maybe a kick in the butt.
If NASCAR really was serious about cracking down on cheating, officials would tell car owner Joe Gibbs that his cars aren't welcome to compete in Friday's Nationwide race at Bristol.
NASCAR would tell them to take off next weekend at California, too, and, if you give us any flack about it, we'll kick all your boys out, including your Sprint Cup teams and points leader Kyle Busch.
At MIS, inspectors discovered magnetic spacers attached under the gas pedal of Gibbs' No. 18 (Joey Logano) and No. 20 (Tony Stewart) cars, in a rather creative attempt to circumvent the chassis dynamometer test.
NASCAR threw around a lot of big numbers when it came time to deduct points and assess fines, and it has made for a pretty good illusion.
Instead of arguing whether the penalties fit the crime, though, let's take a closer look at those penalties.
Logano and Stewart were both fined 150 driver points and put on probation for the rest of the year. Big deal. Neither driver is racing for points in this series. And, about the probation. Has a season gone by in which NASCAR hasn't put Stewart on probation? Has anyone ever defined what that really means?
Crew chiefs Jason Ratcliff (No. 18) and Dave Rogers (No. 20) both were fined $50,000 and placed on suspension indefinitely. Think that will slow down this team? Clint Bowyer said a few weeks back that you could put a monkey in the Gibbs cars and they still would win.
The same thing would happen if you put a monkey on top of the pit box. Gibbs' cars have combined to win 14 of the 25 Nationwide races this season, and they are going to keep on winning, too.
And, as wealthy as this team is, I don't expect the $50,000 fines will put anyone out on the street. More at MLive.com