Kvapil arrest latest stain on NASCAR's image
It might be weeks before Travis Kvapil's legal fate is determined, but reverberations of his arrest on charges of domestic assault already were felt Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
With racing fueled primarily by the largesse of Corporate America and thus mandating an inherently high degree of decorum, NASCAR drivers simply don't run afoul of the law often [they don't?], because the standards and stakes are perceived as much higher.
Unlike in many other professional sports where athletes can make the police blotter and the all-star team in the same season, the consequences of poor off-track behavior by Sprint Cup drivers often can be much graver and career-threatening.
That was hard to reconcile with Kvapil climbing Thursday into his No. 93 Toyota — which was stripped of decals planned to support Domestic Violence Awareness Month before his arrest — to practice for Saturday's Bank of America 500.
Though it didn't take disciplinary action Thursday, NASCAR has the authority to remove Kvapil from the car. A solid case could be made that it should.
Other drivers have been allowed to keep their rides after being arrested — A.J. Allmendinger and Scott Wimmer were placed on probation after being charged with drunken driving — but Kvapil stands accused of transgressions that could be considered far more disturbing.
According to a police report that detailed the charges of assault on a female and false imprisonment, Jennifer Kvapil suffered minor injuries in a Tuesday dispute at the couple's Mooresville, N.C., home. In Iredell County court documents obtained by The Sporting News, Kvapil was described as pulling his wife by her hair into a bedroom and striking her in the head.
The fallout could have a negative impact on the NASCAR brand.
"It's not good for our sport, for sure," five-time champion Jimmie Johnson said Thursday. "I think that most realize that it's an individual situation and nothing to do with the team or the sponsor. It might shy a sponsor away from that particular organization or driver, but I would hope that it wouldn't impact any further than that.
"I guess there could be some repercussions. It's not good press, so it can't be helpful by any means. And it is pretty rare. I think that's something that we all pride ourselves on, that we don't have a lot of that drama in our sport." More at USA Today