In case you didn’t hear, over the course of the last week, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s road manager Mike Hoag took to Twitter and accused Brad Keselowski and his No. 2 Team Penske team, who just happen to be leading the way in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings after a win at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., last weekend, of cheating. Specifically, Hoag claimed that the side skirt on the No. 2 didn’t quite look like it was within NASCAR spec. Instead, according to Hoag, it looked quite flared out.
The accussation-laced tweets were deleted and, on Tuesday, Hoag announced, also via Twitter, that he was leaving his post. Some reports had Hoag resigning, some had him being forced to resign, and others claimed he was fired. Of course, to me, a forced resignation equates to a firing. But, here, that’s beside the point.
Although the tweets have since been deleted, Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press did publish one of them that said:
“Anyone else see how much Keselowski’s right side skirt was flared out? They cheated it up a bit on that stop. Caught ya” (@MikeHoag88)
Actually, Hoag, looks like the joke’s on you. NASCAR didn’t deem anything illegal on the No. 2 car and you lost (or gave up) your job, seemingly as a result of this incident.
I think it is worth noting, that NASCAR found nothing wrong with Keselowski’s car after the Chicagoland race, and that includes not finding a problem with the side skirt of the car, which by the way, a crew member on the No. 2 team admitted to pulling out during a pit stop. NASCAR did take the car back to its R&D center, but that’s not really unusual.
Keselowski responded to Hoag’s allegations with a tweet of his own:
“Ever heard of glass houses @MikeHoag88? (@Keselowski)
Cheating, not cheating, true or false allegations aside, doesn’t this all sound familiar? Wasn’t Keselowski residing in the same or similar proverbial glass a couple years ago?
In case you don’t remember, let me refresh your memory. Keselowski accused Hendrick Motorsports of using some rear suspension “tricks” within the grey area of NASCAR rules. Soon after, he said he wasn’t accusing Hendrick teams of cheating. He did say something to the affect of “grey area within the rules,” so, technically, he wasn’t accusing Team Hendrick of cheating. But, he did say that it was a grey area that his Team Penske wouldn’t venture into at the risk of being penalized for cheating. Is that kind of accusing someone of cheating without really coming out and saying it?
I think this is all just a matter of two of the top teams in the sport back-biting and trying to find anything wrong they can with what the other is doing. Maybe everyone should just shut up and let their results do the talking.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR