Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Magnets? Really?

So the Joe Gibbs Racing Sprint Car Team (say that three times fast) got caught sticking magnets under the gas pedals of their cars to try to fudge their true horsepower whenNASCAR's testing staff checked out their cars.

In other words, they cheated, and to my eyes J.D. Gibbs didn't look the slightest bit repentant at his "shucks, someone done messed up" press conference. NASCAR has always embraced the SEC ethos of "if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying", but these days it's getting ridiculous.

The reason, of course, is that the penalties NASCAR levies for anything up to and including attempted vehicular homicide are negligible. A few thousand dollars, a handful of driver points, maybe a few other slaps on the wrist. If someone did something really bad, a crew chief might get suspended for a race or two. Not the driver, of course. Not the guy the sponsors want out there. It's the crew chief, who no doubt can sit back in the trailer with a headset on and pretty much do his job just as well as if he were in Pit Row.

And if the penalties are a joke, then why not cheat? Even if you're caught, it's not going to cost you anything. But magnets under the gas pedal? That's a good one.
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