Is NASCAR Playing Favorites with Rules Enforcement?

The week following his double failure of the LIS following his win at the Chase opener at Chicagoland, Truex’s car again failed LIS with no sanctions. Jimmie’s car also failed and no sanctions against him were taken either. Image courtesy foxsports.com.

Image: nascar_logo.jpg

 

nascar_logoWord in the NASCAR forums is that NASCAR is playing favorites with some of the new rules they’ve announced over the past few years. There’s a lot of talk in the forums and groups that this favoritism is related to money. The first rule in question was announced prior to the start of the 2015 season at Daytona and had to do with driver participation and championship eligibility. The second rule was announced before the beginning of the 2016 Chase and deals with failure at the Laser Inspection Station (LIS) before and after races.

NASCAR’s Race Participation Rule

NASCAR made a big splash prior to the 2015 season when they announced a new rule modifying participation requirements for drivers to be eligible to compete in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Specifically, what NASCAR said is that if a driver wishes to be eligible to compete for the Sprint Cup Championship, that driver had to attempt to qualify for all 26 points races leading up to the Chase.

NASCAR Has Made Exceptions to This Rule Twice Already

 

According to the rule NASCAR announced just days before, this wreck should have ended up with Kyle Busch being disqualified from Chase eligibility due to missed races. Image courtesy nascar.com.
According to the rule NASCAR announced just days before, this wreck should have ended up with Kyle Busch being disqualified from Chase eligibility due to missed races. Image courtesy nascar.com.

You may remember that in the XFINTIY opener in 2015 at Daytona International Raceway, Kyle Busch suffered fractures to both of his legs when he ran head-on into the non-SAFER Barrier-equipped inside wall during a late race accident. This accident kept him out for 11 of the first races during the season.

Instead of saying “Sorry Kyle, you’ll have to wait for next year to try for a Cup Championship,” NASCAR went back on their brand new rule and said that Kyle would have to win at least one race during the run up to the Chase and be in the top 30 in points when the Chase began to be eligible to compete in the Chase for the Championship. Kyle eventually went on to win six races during the 2015 “regular season” and won the Cup Championship by winning at Homestead-Miami in November.

Image courtesy wktv.com
Image courtesy wktv.com

Fast forward to 2016 and Tony Stewart has to sit out three races because of injuries sustained in a non-NASCAR midget car race. Tony had announced that 2016 would be his final year as a driver (probably as a full-time driver) in NASCAR. Again, NASCAR made an exception to their participation/eligibility rule and said Tony would have to win at least one race and be in the top 30 in points by the time the Chase rolled around in order to compete in the Chase. Tony was recently eliminated from the Chase.

The Rumors Regarding Why These Two Exceptions Were Made

In regards to Kyle, there are two rumors. The first is that Toyota threatened to pull out of NASCAR, leaving only two manufacturers, if Kyle wasn’t allowed to participate. The second is that Kyle, known as Rowdy, draws crowds to the races he’s in, whether they be Cup, XFINITY, or Camping World Truck races. There are a number of people that feel that NASCAR allowed Kyle to compete because they (NASCAR) were afraid that if Rowdy wasn’t competing for the Championship, many fans would stay home and watch the races on TV instead of going to the track(s) to watch the races.

As for Tony, Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) is affiliated with Hendrick Motorsports. There are a number of fans out there that feel that Hendrick can do no wrong as far as NASCAR is concerned. Succinctly, they believe that Hendrick owns NASCAR. They point out that JImmie Johnson has won six championships and that is because Chad Knaus is allowed to cheat. These “fans” feels that this “invulnerability” rubs off on SHR because of their affiliation with Hendrick.

NASCAR’s LIS Failure Rule

 

Martin Truex Jr. won the Chase opener at Chicagoland. His failure at the LIS twice after the race should have disqualified him from automatic advancement to the Round of 12. It didn’t. Image courtesy chicagotribune.com.
Martin Truex Jr. won the Chase opener at Chicagoland. His failure at the LIS twice after the race should have disqualified him from automatic advancement to the Round of 12. It didn’t. Image courtesy chicagotribune.com.

 

At the beginning of the 2016 Chase, NASCAR announced a rules change that stated that any driver whose car failed the LIS twice would be subject to a serious P4 penalty, suffer a loss of 25 championship points, and, if that driver won the race, they would lose their automatic berth in the next round of the Chase.

NASCAR Made Another Exception on All Points of This Rule-For a Toyota Driver

 

Truex’s crew readies his car for the LIS at Chicagoland. The car failed LIS twice after his win. Image courtesy foxsports.com.
Truex’s crew readies his car for the LIS at Chicagoland. The car failed LIS twice after his win. Image courtesy foxsports.com.

 

Fueling the fires of the rumor mill, Martin Truex Jr failed the LIS twice on three occasions during the 2016 Chase so far. The first time was after he had won a Chase race and been granted the automatic advancement into the next round of the Chase. However, if the new rule had been enforced, he would have received the points penalty and been awarded an “encumbered win” and lost his automatic advancement.

NASCAR said the infraction wasn’t serious enough to warrant the P4 and encumbered finish ruling.  The problem many long-time fans have with this statement is that NASCAR didn’t mention any qualifiers to the rule when they announced it. They simply stated that double failures at the LIS before and/or after races was becoming a problem and they wanted to “even the playing field” some.

 

The week following his double failure of the LIS following his win at the Chase opener at Chicagoland, Truex’s car again failed LIS with no sanctions. Jimmie’s car also failed and no sanctions against him were taken either. Image courtesy foxsports.com.
The week following his double failure of the LIS following his win at the Chase opener at Chicagoland, Truex’s car again failed LIS with no sanctions. Jimmie’s car also failed and no sanctions against him were taken either. Image courtesy foxsports.com.

 

Further stoking the rumors of favoritism in regards to rules enforcement, although he didn’t win the race where it happened, Jimmie’s car also failed LIS twice at a recent race and he also wasn’t subject to the enforcement of the rule. Again, NASCAR said that the rule violation was too minor for them to award the penalty for the failure. The boards were full of “Of course JJ wasn’t penalized, he drives for Hendrick and everyone knows Chad is a cheater and Hendrick owns NASCAR.”

I’m not going to go so far as to say that Chad Knaus is a cheater or that Hendrick owns NASCAR. Jimmie would have advanced to the next round of the Chase whether or not the P4 penalty was enforced. However, Truex would not have advanced to the Round of 12 if the penalty was enforced. This does lend some credence to the rumors that there is something fishy going on with NASCAR and rules enforcement.

What do you think? Is NASCAR being selective in how it enforces infractions and penalizes drivers and teams? Let us know how you feel in the comments below.

About Mike Aguilar 199 Articles
Mike's love of cars began in the early 1970's when his father started taking him to his Chevron service station. He's done pretty much everything in the automotive aftermarket from gas station island attendant, parts counter, mechanic, and new and used sales. Mike also has experience in the amateur ranks of many of racing's sanctioning bodies.
  • Rusty Graves

    NASCAR is a joke in motorsports

    • wendorms

      NHRA is just as Clintonic.

  • Steve Penrose

    Nascar has always played favorites. Yes Hendrick is too big for this sport. Does Chad cheat? Do bears shit in the woods?

    • RiverMikeRat

      If Hendrick is too big for the sport, doesn’t it stand to reason that so is JGR, Petty, Roush, and Childress?

      • Steve Penrose

        Not even close to the money and influence Hendrick has. Not even close.

        • RiverMikeRat

          Not even close? LOL. Roush competes in several different sanctioning bodies in motorsports and has been doing so for close to 4 decades. The Childress team is just as big as the Hendrick team. So is JGR, which has the backing of Toyota and the collaboration of all NASCAR teams running Toyotas.

          • Steve Penrose

            Hendrick is a billionaire. Roush and Childress are big but not that big. Roush is so big he had to join forces with Fenway just to stay in business.

          • RiverMikeRat

            And Toyota? From everything I’ve seen, heard, and read, with Toyota teams, you really can’t split them up into team the way you can the teams running Ford and Chevy.

  • John Riparetti

    NASCAR sucks………….

  • Greg Sproles

    I like the competitiveness in NASCAR, but there has always been favorable treatment for some, and that is sad. Look at Toyota now, Hendrick, and Chevy. Need I say more…… As they say, follow the money

  • Cougracer67

    NASCAR has crossed over from being a competitive sport to just being a mere show, contrived entertainment for the masses.

  • rcp

    vettedick
    NASCAR races have become a parade and not a race,they seem to favor one manufacture or the other to keep a balance in the chase

  • podsr

    Let me think, Oh Martinsville JJ has smoke coming off his tires due to a bone headed move. nascar throws a caution for a torn banner!!!!!!!! does nascar realize the power of the people (fans) does the past 8 years,or Nov 8th ring any bells. if they show anymore bias to hendricks & JJ does win his 7th, I predict Nascar will lose 30% of the loyal fans. I mean the older guys like me ( your base ) because we bring the young into the sport ( your future) . We are not the go along to get along crowd anymore. When we leave the track not understanding what the hell just happened or why, Then have to watch race hub for the nascar scripted explanation makes it very hard week to week all year long year after year to maintain the excitement, can’t wait till next week feeling we all have.
    We all know the trouble nascar is in with viewers and fans at the tracks, All I’m asking is don’t run the rest of us away. The elites of the sport have been produce by you they should know this. Showing Bias toward them has put you in a tough spot,understood
    Change It !

    • RiverMikeRat

      So a banner potentially flying off the track wall and covering a car’s windshield is no cause for concern?

      I’m probably older than you and I love the sport.

      Maybe if you’re not understanding stuff, you should have someone that has an understanding of the sport explain it to you.

  • Harry Rohrman

    Real fans know toyODOR has bought the championship this year, really just think about it toyOdor gave nascar 400 million to update the speedway at Daytona. And the commentators speed as much time talking about the toyODOR pace cars as they do the race leaders. I think they should get a Dodge Challenger t0 pace all the races since Dodge doesn’t have a dog in the fight right now.

  • grouchyroan

    one of the things not mentioned is the rule is just a variation of what has always been in nascar, they want drivers/teams to participate in all the races instead of just pick and choose, the deal with kyle had nothing to do with his or his team not wanting to participate, most of the crybabies are not real fans and new to the sport and actually think that the cars being raced are real cars, when i say real fans i don’t mean they don’t like racing just that i don’t think its a passion for racing like the true racing addict. maybe just something to see while they suck down another beer, and if you or anyone took the time to look at the chat areas connected with the racing sites you would see what i mean, name calling, crying about something just to be heard, threatening each other etc. most of them are upset about toyota being a part of nascar, because it isn’t an american brand, no one seems to have enough sense or care enough to do a little research on what they bitch about. you can go back to the early days of the automobile and see the input for other countries. and Toyota’s appear to be just as much american, or more, than ford or gm. im not sure if they want only one brand racing or not but i would like to see lots of different makes involved like it was in the beginning. cadillac, hudson, pontiac, oldsmobile, even an mg but i forget the year. now this doesn’t mean im not a conspiracy fan too, i could have told you before the xfinity race started today who was going to win, just like the first nascar road race he won in mexico years ago. i don’t like it but i also realize that nascar is no longer a sport only it is a multi billion dollar a year business and they have to keep the sponsors happy. it doesn’t take much, a well placed caution, allow teams to add another car to the chase races for blocking and bringing out cautions, or the one man that is in charge of the restrictor plates and who gets which one, well you get the picture.

Copyright © 2005-2017 RacingJunk.com All Rights Reserved.

Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners. Use of this Web site constitutes acceptance of the RacingJunk.com
Terms of Use, Classifieds Disclaimer, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy