NASCAR had a golden opportunity and blew it

So NASCAR, in its wisdom, decided Tuesday it was okay for Joey Logano to win last weekend’s Nationwide race at Dover while driving a car that was illegal.

Instead, it fined the car’s crew chief $10,000 and docked Penske Racing six owner points for, officially, being in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (determination that the race equipment does not conform to the rules detailed in Section 10-A of the NASCAR rule book); and 20A-12.8.1 (B) of the 2013 rule book (the car failed to meet minimum heights in front).

That rule book seems to have just about everything covered, doesn’t it? Which is actually kind of amusing, seeing that in the end those penalties are all of the shrug-your-shoulders variety.

Does anybody out there think anybody inside the sport pays any attention to them? I mean, how many times has Penske Racing been nailed for something this season? Hasn’t seemed to sink in, though, so what’s the use?

But if the driver is penalized, as should have happened in this case, that would get everybody’s attention.

But it’s over and I’m tired of whining. It’s NASCAR’s ball and NASCAR can do what it wants. But before I go on to other racing topics, such as how the new Formula One Concorde Agreement is really a succession plan for when Bernie Ecclestone isn't around any more, I have to say that it’s really too bad what happened here because NASCAR blew a golden opportunity to show the world that it was serious about bringing itself into the 21st Century.

In my column yesterday on this, I said NASCAR liked to think of itself as being on the same level as the NFL, NHL, NBA and Major League Baseball (all of which, by the way, play by the rules).

And it’s actually gotten kinda close over the years. But it’s been sliding back, for some reason, and what’s happened this late summer/early fall has sealed its fate.

It’s well on its way back from whence it came – of being a niche sport – and it pretty much closed the door on progress in recent weeks by mishandling the original crisis and then compounding those early mistakes by not making an example of Joey Logano.

An example, by the way, that was handed to it on a silver platter. Toronto Star

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