Carl Long's fine still hanging over his head Denny Hamlin's recent refusal to pay his $25,000 fine has reawakened the plight of Carl Long, a driver who lacks the financial resources to settle his debt with NASCAR. Long's career as a Sprint Cup Series driver essentially ended when his team was penalized for having an illegal engine at the 2009 All-Star race.
Long's crew chief was fined $200,000, an amount he was unable to pay. Under NASCAR rules, the fine was reverted to the car owner, which was Long's wife, DeeDee. Unable to drive until the fine is paid, Long was still able to work in the Sprint Cup Series garage because his wife was technically responsible for settling the debt. But last year, Long said NASCAR transferred the fine to his name and he's no longer allowed inside the Cup garage.
"Last year at Daytona, they issued me as the driver the fine, and I couldn't pay $200,000, so I was escorted out of the Cup garage," Long said at Bristol Motor Speedway. "NASCAR basically let me know that anybody on the crew roster could be held responsible for the fine, all the way down to the tire guy. Anybody on the crew roster, they can leverage the fine against him, no matter who. Actually, no matter what, if you are signed in on a crew roster, you are hanging by a thread."
Long is allowed to work in NASCAR in any other series, and he's currently a jack of all trades for Rick Ware Racing in the Nationwide Series. He's also a part-time Nationwide driver, and has made 37 starts since the All-Star race incident. But he said he's clearing just over $35,000 a year after paying all his expenses, which means he'll likely never be back in a Sprint Cup car because he lacks the means to clear his debt with NASCAR. Associated Press
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