NASCAR America -- Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett: Winners that break rules should be DQ’d, face six-figure fines
Jeff Burton and Dale Jarrett have seen and had enough.
On Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, the two NASCAR on NBC analysts and former NASCAR Cup drivers reacted strongly to some of the penalties that were handed out earlier in the day by NASCAR.
- Denny Hamlin had both race wins at Darlington -- NASCAR Cup and Xfinity -- encumbered due to rear suspension violations. Hamlin lost Cup driver points, but more importantly, crew chief Mike Wheeler was fined $50,000 and suspended for the next two Cup races, including the first race of the playoffs on Sept. 17 at Chicagoland Speedway.
- In addition, Hamlin’s Xfinity crew chief Eric Phillips was fined $25,000 and suspended two races for similar rear suspension violations.
- Joey Logano’s crew chief in the Xfinity Series race at Darlington, Greg Erwin, was fined $25,000 and suspended two races, and Logano’s runner-up finish was encumbered.
Which brings us back full circle to Burton and Jarrett, who made their feelings on the penalties very clear.
“I think it’s time to start disqualifying people. I think it’s time in today’s world where Denny Hamlin won that race and by him winning that race, that kept someone else from winning the race, and no one got those five points moving into the playoffs.
“It’s time to disqualify people. It’s time to say, ‘If you’re illegal, here’s the rules.’ Whether you like the rules or not, that’s not the question. These are the rules as written. If you are found to break the rules, and it’s not a mistake, it 100 percent happened -- and even if it is a mistake, you have to be responsible for them.
“It’s time to start taking wins away. It’s time to give the points to the person that won the race. Any team that wins and did it illegal didn’t win the race. Every short track in the country takes wins away, but we can’t do it here.”
“I agree 100 percent with Jeff that we’re going to start disqualifying people. And the two of us can understand that: Jeff and I had wins taken away in the Xfinity Series, the only two people that I know of that had that happen since 1982. Mine was at Michigan (and Burton’s was in Pulaski, Virginia). So, it can be done.
“It’s not fair that on Wednesday, we find out that the winner of the race has cheated -- has bent the rules. I hate the word ‘cheated,’ but everybody’s trying everything they can.”
Jarrett also called for a new system where cars should be inspected before they go to victory lane. If the car passes at-track, but violations are found when the winning car is taken back to the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina, Jarrett said throw the book at the offending teams.
“Then if they want to take the cars back and find something wrong, then it’s a huge financial penalty -- I’m talking hundreds of thousands of dollars -- to put a stop to this.”
Another point brought up today: Why are penalties attached to drivers and not teams?
Check out the video below for more: