CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Logic would say those comments are going to cost Newman some cold, hard cash this week.
Only logic doesn’t apply anymore and NASCAR’s decisions seem to be changing on a daily basis.
Remember, it was just two months ago that Denny Hamlin was slapped with a $25,000 fine for the fairly mild assessment that NASCAR’s new car at Phoenix “did not race as good as our generation five cars. This is more like what the generation five was at the beginning.”
Roughly six weeks later, defending champion Brad Keselowski escaped punishment for essentially accusing NASCAR of unfairly targeting his team after inspectors confiscated parts from both Penske Racing cars before the Texas race. “The things I’ve seen over the last seven days have me questioning everything that I believe in, and I’m not happy about it. I feel like we’ve been targeted over the last seven days more than I’ve ever seen a team targeted,” he said.
NASCAR also let Keselowski slide in February when he made wide-ranging and critical comments about the direction of the sport in a USA Today profile. He was, however, summoned to a meeting at NASCAR headquarters with chairman Brian France and International Speedway Corp. chairwoman Lesa France Kennedy.
France has attempted to put boundaries on what drivers can and can’t say, and the new car and the quality of racing are out of bounds.
“I have been crystal clear in the meetings with all of the drivers and all of the owners about the fact that we are going to give them more opportunities to criticize more things than any other professional sport in America,” France told The Associated Press after Hamlin’s fine. “Having said that, there is one line that we are not going to tolerate and that’s going to be criticizing the quality of the racing product in any way, form or fashion.