Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson have each been docked 100 points off their Nextel Cup Series standings. The penalties were assessed for violations related to vehicle alterations discovered last Friday.Additionally, their crew chiefs were fined $100,000 and suspended for the next six races. Rick Hendrick, team owner, was also fined 100 car owner points. Hendrick noted that the punishment was excessive and said he was unsure of what they would do concerning the next event which is held at Loudon, NH.
With the point deductions, Jeff Gordon still remains in first-place but Johnson, who had been in third, drops to fifth.
The question isâ€”are these penalties really â€œexcessive?â€? In my mind not. Although the crew chief situation can really foul up a team, the fact is they can bring in the best replacements in the world because these guys have the money to do so.
To plead Gordon and companyâ€™s caseâ€”the driver has said that the violations were in a â€œgreyâ€? area and not clearly defined in the NASCAR rulebook. The violations were related to the fenders and, as the team has said, were there for everyone to see.
Maybe NASCAR needs a better system that protects teams and racing from these grey areas?