An interesting article over at the frontstretch has some interesting points about penalty precedents.
On Sunday, Martin Truex and his team failed post-race inspection for having a car that was too low. The infraction seems to be an easy, black and white, yes or no kind of deal, and so does the penalty.
In the wake of penalties issued Wednesday, the one that stands out the most here is Martin Truex, Jr.’s penalty for being too low in post-race inspection. That six-point deduction – equivalent to about 25 in the old system – along with a $25,000 fine for crew chief Chad Johnston keeps along with the same type of infraction reaching all the way back into the previous decade.
Why I find that important is, for the first time if you asked 50 of the top media members and garage insiders what Truex’s penalty would be, I’m confident all 50 would have said what actually happened. For once, a rulebook deadpanned as written in dry erase marker has a sense of permanence when it comes to a penalty for a specific violation.
The whole article is pretty good, and makes the case that the points and crew chief suspensions in the Penske camp have precedent as well, harkening back to 2006 when the 24 and 48 cars failed to fit the COT template.
But to me, that’s a fairly different issue – in the Hendrick violation, cars are easily, visibly, not legal. Cut and dried. But with the Penkse situation, the cars were visibly, verifiably legal, but were modified so that in action, they gained an advantage.
Again – these are cars that were deemed legal by NASCAR, but NASCAR didn’t like some of the parts on them (for good reason).
The Penske situation sounds similar to a 2005 Hendrick situation, where the right rear shocks were modified to stay extended and gave over 200 pounds of downforce advantage to the 48 and 5 teams.
“From a rulebook standpoint, these are the facts: The cars passed post-race inspection last Sunday night,” Darby said. “In regards to the shock absorbers themselves, after being tested and disassembled and everything, all the parts and pieces are well within the confines of the rulebook. However, the shock build the assembly of the shock and what the shock is intended to do with that build – it’s not within the spirit and the intent of what our shock absorber rules surround.
That was 2005, this is 2013, so things have changed.
In the past, legal-but-still-advantageous parts have been treated under the “don’t bring these back” program, and have caused changes to the rule book to make them illegal after the fact.
So is this the new precedent?
Can everybody now expect to receive the same fine for violating the spirit of the rules?