NASCAR recently issued some of the strongest penalties in its history for rules infractions found in pre-qualifying inspections for the Daytona 500, which ran today. It appears that among sports that have been marred by cheating scandals of all types, NASCAR takes cheating seriously.
Michael Waltrip’s #55 Toyota, in its premier NASCAR appearance, was found in violation of three distinct rules. One related to gasoline and was determined to be an effort to obtain more horsepower. That was the heart of the infractions that resulted in the harsh penalties NASCAR handed down. Waltrip and his team were assessed the following penalties:
- The Team’s crew chief was suspended indefinitely from NASCAR.
- The Team’s vice president for competition was suspended indefinitely from NASCAR.
- Another crew chief was fined $100,000.
- Driver Waltrip was docked 100 driver points.
- Car owner Buffy Waltrip, Michael’s wife, was docked 100 car owner points.
- NASCAR confiscated the #55 Toyota.
For non-NASCAR fans, that all might sound like gibberish. But believe me (for I am a NASCAR fan) it is huge for any sport.
What can we learn from this? To me, from a public relations standpoint, NASCAR did the right thing and maintains — maybe even enhances — its reputation among fans, participants, and observers. In terms of ethics, NASCAR “walked the talk” in this incident.