By KEVIN JACOBS
The final appeal for Ryan Newman and Richard Childress Racing was to no avail as NASCAR stayed firm with prior penalties and fines for tire tampering performed earlier this year. On a personal stance for infractions of tire manipulation, the act of deliberately making a modification to a car with the full understanding of the rules and circumstances that could follow is in every way cheating.
NASCAR teams are always discovering ways to improve their cars and will continue to experiment with different parts and configurations to be successful on the track. In this natural competitive spirit, cheating is often not intended and being inventive and creative could be the difference between a visit to victory lane and a non-qualifying lap.
One instance comes to mind of a conflict between NASCAR and teams over roof-flap spacers. A few teams replaced the heavy metal spacer with a plastic spacer in hopes of eliminating some weight to improve time. NASCAR stated the rule was clear of change to any parts with that function was a violation, but did not exercise any penalties. These types of modifications are the way teams try to gain advantage in the gray areas of the rules and letting the judgement of the officials inspecting the cars give the final word of an infraction.
Unlike Newman’s team, in this act of tampering, no deliberate cheating is being performed and the level of creativeness by finding more ways to improvement is the difference between a good team and an average team. This competitive aspect is a foundation of NASCAR and is constantly evolving with each rule package change.
Everybody likes a winner and nobody likes a cheater. Newman and RCR should be happy with the level of penalties received. Other drivers and teams might not be too comfortable with this blatant act of rule breaking and respect around the garage will need some time to build. Trying to create the fastest car possible under current regulations is an art and is the one thing that should never be tampered with, but when teams disrespect this aspect, it can be detrimental to one of the many things that make NASCAR great.