Penalties have been a popular topic around here lately. And why not? They provide good story lines and passions on either side. The source of the controversy this weekend was Juan Pablo Montoya, who after taking the pole at Kansas was penalized for having too much gas pressure in a rear shock.
Unlike many around the sport, I am not of the philosophy that teams should be thrown from the race track if they do not pass pre-race inspections. Certainly there are instances that may call for that to happen; for instance if a driver’s safety is put at risk, or if the crime is particularly egregious. This instance was not one of these egregious incidences.
NASCAR has been warning for months that if teams screwed with the COT, they would feel the wrath of God coming down on them. So far they have not disappointed. Again though, this was not one of those instances. There were no modified brackets or tweaked roof lines. The splitter braces were all where they were supposed to be and the car met all the height requirements.
Now I can’t say if this was a purposeful instance of cheating or an oversight on the part of the shock specialist, and/or crew chief. If it was purposeful this was probably not the smartest effort to bypass inspectors. It is much like having a car that is too high or low. If it is there NASCAR will find it.
Ultimately the #42 car was properly penalized at track. Montoya had his first pole stripped from him and he was forced to start from the back of the pack. The potential for something disastrous to happen to him while he was back there was very good. No point or monetary penalties were necessary, and a suspension would have been a little too much.
I can’t say I always agree with NASCAR’s decisions. Their penalties are not always very consistent, and more often than not they do not fit the infraction, however this time they hit the nail on the head. I know many of you did not agree with the penalty so let us know what you think. What penalties would you have handed down?
Over the weekend in an interview with the Winston-Salem Journal’s Mike Mulhern, Patti Petty said Kyle may be on the outs at Petty Enterprises. I can’t say I was surprised and I know many around the sport had been waiting for this to happen. Kyle’s sporadic schedule and performance issues have made him an easy target for team managers.
Since Boston Ventures bought a majority share in the team earlier this season, Kyle has been a sitting duck. While before, Kyle occupied a safe seat at the family owned venture, his new bosses lack the patience for poor performance. As we say on what feels like a daily basis, this is a business and when a driver is no longer cutting it on the track, his value to the team is severely diminished. Not to mention, I am sure BV is looking for young talent that they can develop and grow for years to come. Kyle is obviously not that young driver.
The danger of no longer controlling a majority of your own company becomes perfectly evident in situations like this. It is something every other major team who has taken on investors has avoided and something that has backfired on many prominent business owners through the years. Steve Jobs at Apple comes to mind. The moral of the story is, as you soon as you give up control of your company, you are no longer in control of your destiny.
In recent years Kyle has struggled on the track. His last win came in 1995 with Team Sabco Racing and prior to a top-5 finish in last year’s Coke 600, he had not scored a top-5 since 1997. With 14 starts this season he has average start of 34.7 and and average finish of 34.5.