Report Says Clint Bowyer Almost Failed Inspection; But Isn't 'Almost' A Good Thing?

In the often head-scratching world of NASCAR, another interesting item surfaced this morning: The Associated Press reported that Clint Bowyer's Chase-clinching car nearly failed postrace inspection after Richmond.

The key word here is "nearly." Bowyer's car didn't fail inspection. It was completely within the tolerances allowed by NASCAR.

Yet NASCAR has decided to hold onto the car until representatives from Richard Childress Racing meet with the officials to go over the rule they "nearly" broke.

NASCAR's Robin Pemberton told the AP that perhaps the team was "off on one of their build sheets" and wanted to double-check with RCR to make sure they had the right template.

That's awfully kind of NASCAR. But does anyone else think RCR knew exactly what it was doing?

Remember: There were no rules broken. Bowyer's team simply went all the way up to the line without crossing it. That's exactly what every team in the garage should be doing, right?

Every time something like this comes up (like with Hendrick Motorsports in the Chase last year), the garage culture confuses me. Maybe someone else can explain it better.

To me, it's simple: Rules are in black and white. Therefore, you either break the rules (and therefore "cheat" and get penalized) or you stay within the rules.

Bowyer and his Childress team didn't break any rules. Yet the buzz in the garage about NASCAR keeping the car and meeting with RCR officials about it casts a sinister shadow over what should be a celebration for Bowyer's team.

It makes Bowyer's team somehow seem guilty when in reality, the No. 33 car was just as legal as the other 42 cars on the track.

Either Bowyer's team broke the rules or it didn't. And if it didn't, NASCAR should return the car to the team with a smile and a pat on the back instead of the shake of a finger.

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