So you’ve spent the entire off-season getting ready for Daytona. When you get there you make it through pre-race inspections, qualify and race. After you win the Great American Race, NASCAR pulls you into the garage for the obligatory post-race inspection. Uh-Oh. NASCAR finds that there were improper weights added to the car and they take away the win. What do you do now?
No fear, you can appeal within 10 days to the National Stock Car Racing Commission, otherwise known as the NSCRC. After you appeal and pay $200 you will get a hearing with a three member panel. They then hear arguments and decide whether to uphold the penalty, reverse it or modify it. If you’re unhappy with their decision you can still appeal the ruling to the NSCRC commissioner.
So now you might be asking yourself, who are these 32 commission members (plus the commissioner) who get to decide the fate of NASCAR’s penalties? While I don’t have the time to profile all 33 members, here is a chance get to know some of the members of NASCAR’s appellate body.
Charles D. Strang, commissioner- Strang is a former outboard boat racer who parlayed his knowledge of boats into success on the business side. He worked with famed NASCAR car owner Carl Kiekhaefer before joining Outboard Marine Corporation where he eventually rose to CEO and chairman of the board. He retired from the company in 1990. As commissioner of the NSCRC, Strang is the final stop in the appeals process.
Barbara Cromarty- Barbara along with her husband Jim own the Riverhead Raceway in Riverhead, N.Y. The track, located on New York’s Long Island, hosts NASCAR Whelen Modified events among others. As an aside, I found when looking for information about the Cromartys that they were the owners of the Amityville Horror house immediately after the Lutz family; the Lutz’ made the haunting claims popularized by the book and movie of the same name.
Denis McGlynn- He serves as President and CEO of Dover Downs Gaming and Entertainment Inc. and Dover Motorsports Inc., which operates the Monster Mile (Dover International Speedway). The 62-year-old has served as director of the motorsports side of the company since 1979.
Janet Guthrie- Guthrie is the first woman to qualify for both the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. She competed in 33 NASCAR Cup series events between 1976 and 1980. In those 33 starts she had five top-10s and an average finishing position of 19.3. Her highest finishing position was a 6th place in 1977.
Lyn St. James- Along with Guthrie, St. James is one of just five women who have qualified for the Indianapolis 500. She has eight CART and five IRL starts. She also has two 24 Hours of Daytona wins and one 12 Hours of Sebring win.
Clay Campbell- Campbell is the President of Martinsville Speedway, a track he grew up around. His grandfather H. Clay Earles, is the founder of the famed Southern Virginia short track . He also had a brief foray into team ownership. In late 2007 along with Joey Arrington, Stacy Compton, Lori Hamilton and others he joined the ownership team of Bobby Hamilton Racing-Virginia. The team ceased operations at the end of the 2008 season.
John Capels- is a former CART team owner and president and chief operating officer of the series. He was also the president of the United States Auto Club (USAC). He is currently USAC’s chairman.
Les Richter- Richter is a 1952 graduate of the University of California and former Los Angeles Rams football player. Following his nine seasons in the NFL he went on to become the President of Riverside International Raceway; later he was instrumental in the creation of the California Speedway. Eventually Richter rose to senior vice president of operations for NASCAR.
Below are the remaining members
Mark Arute- COO and GM of Stafford Motor Speedway
Gary Bahre- former president of New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Buddy Baker- former NASCAR driver
Lee Baumgarten- director of operations at Phoenix International Raceway
John Bishop- IMSA founder
John Cooper- former president of Daytona International Speedway
Doug Fritz- president of Richmond International Raceway
Harry Gant- former NASCAR driver
Richard Gore- owner of Old Dominion Raceway
Russell Hackett- owner of Caraway Speedway
David Hall- former president of Gaylord Communications Group
Jack Housby- president of Housby Trucking
Spencer Lueders- NASCAR’s Competition and Patent attorney
Grant Lynch- president of Talladega Superspeedway
Leo Mehl- former Goodyear racing executive
Bud Moore- former NASCAR car owner
Steve Page- president of Infineon Raceway
Dale Pinilis- operator of Bowman-Gray Stadium
Cathy Rice- GM of South Boston Raceway
George Silbermann, chairman- NASCAR managing director of racing operations
Bob Smith- NASCAR director of business affairs
H.A. ‘Humpy’ Wheeler- former president of Speedway Motorsports
Kevin Whitaker- operator of Greenville Pickens Speedway
Jim Williams- president of Irwindale Speedway
Jo DeWitt Wilson- former president of the North Carolina Motor Speedway
While not all of NASCAR’s all volunteer commission army are free of direct ties to the sanctioning body, by all accounts they provide a fair assessment of penalties. According to NASCAR.com they modify or overturn 1 in 3 penalties. Not bad odds if you ask me.