NASCAR’s next move will be to take wins away

Although he didn't come right out and say it, Mike Helton made this statement at the prerace drivers meeting, and every team owner was required to attend. NASCAR has fined points and money, the next step is to strip a win away if a car is found to be illegal after a race.

"We began with fining money," Helton said. "Then in 2002 we escalated the money … until we got to the point that it was a concern of ours the money didn't matter, that the risk and reward wasn't balanced. So we gave the warning we would escalate. That's when we began with money and points.

"Now we're in the spring of '05, and I wanted to give you the heads-up that NASCAR will do whatever it feels it has to do to maintain the confidence of everybody in the garage that everyone is playing on the same playing field. Whether it's intentional or not intentional there is a box you have to fit in, and it's our responsibility to react when it doesn't work.

"So this is the warning, that you should not depend on NASCAR's traditional reactions to incidents that occur after the race when you don't fit. Because things we're hearing from last week and reading and in conversations, there is a lot of discussion about 'We'd be willing to do this to do that.'

"Our responsibility it to make sure the playing field is level for everybody. Everything is on the table, at NASCAR's option, to react. This is the warning. "It makes it a lot easier and a lot nicer when everything is inside the box. "Don't hang your hat on traditional reactions from NASCAR for the next deal … because we'll do whatever we have to do to balance the risk against the rewards, so everyone in the garage feels they're on the same playing field."

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