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NASCAR needs to stop accepting cheating

By David Poole

The hardest thing in the world to

change is culture. But sometimes

it’s worth the effort.

After 12-plus years of covering

NASCAR, I believe that the sport of

stock-car racing badly needs a culture

change. And there’s really one way to

make it happen.

Here’s the problem: Cheating is

more than accepted in the sport ” it’s

revered. People who’ve spent a big

part of their careers trying to outflank

the rule book are held up as the great

examples, the heroes who should be

emulated.

I have never, ever understood that.

Why celebrate those who waste ”

and that is precisely the word I want

to use ” their time, effort and money

working on things that aren’t legal?

Why revere those who decide to take

paths outside the rules to try to get

ahead of those who have the integrity

to play by the rules?

I am not against innovators. In

fact, I am standing up for them. The

true innovators are those who find

new ways to do things

that are legal, that do

get approved through

proper channels and

who don’t have to live

their lives worrying

about what an inspec-

tor might see.

I have said this

before, but the exam-

ple still holds. The

engines in a stock car

are, by a huge multi-

plier, more powerful and more

durable than they were 20 years ago.

But how many times in the past 20

years have engine builders been sus-

pended and/or fined for breaking the

rules?

Not many. The engine departments

have worked to find better ways to do

things and generate more power that

lasts longer.

They’ve done it, in nearly all

cases, within the rules and

within the processes that

have been established for

bringing new ideas into the

sport.

So why shouldn’t people

who work on suspension

elements or the cars’ bodies

be held to the same stan-

dards?

If you’re messing with

the rear-wing mounts, as

NASCAR said the Haas

CNC Racing teams that got penalized

last week were, even if you complete-

ly get away with it and race for 100

straight races, what have you truly

accomplished?

Where’s the pride in that? There

wouldn’t be any if integrity and honor

were cherished as much in stock-car

racing as they should be.

That’s the part of the culture that I

think is off-kilter. But it could be

changed, and I don’t think it would

take a whole lot of time.

How?

Simple. Start sending cheaters

home.

If you come to the racetrack with a

car that doesn’t pass inspection to the

point that NASCAR rules it will not

be allowed on the track, that team

does not race. Period.

Send home a couple of teams for

not playing by the rules and you will

begin to change the way that kind of

foolishness is regarded inside the

garage.

Until that happens, you’re never

going to change the culture. And

that’s where it all needs to start.

Originally posted on David Poole’s

blog, “Life in the Turn Lane,” available

online at turn-lane.blogspot.com.