NASCAR Warns No. 33 Car Re: Possible Infractions

LOUDON NH - SEPTEMBER 19: Shane Wilson (C) crew chief of the #33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet celebrates with driver Clint Bowyer (L) after Bowyer won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19 2010 in Loudon New Hampshire. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

In what should be a non-issue, NASCAR is meeting with RCR on Tuesday as a precautionary measure in regard to the no. 33 team. It seems that Clint Bowyer's team did just about everything they possibly in order to have their driver represent the organization in the Chase for the Championship.

They did so much in fact, that it appears they nearly violated several NASCAR infractions on their way to snagging the final spot the playoffs in last week's Air Guard 400 at Richmond International Speedway.

There's more after the fold.

The meeting has been schedule for this morning and NASCAR competition chief Robin Pemberton has decided that NASCAR will keep the car until a meeting has concluded.

"They were in the box, but getting close to some of the tolerances and we asked them to come in to see if they aren't getting off on one of their build sheets," NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton told The Associated Press.

"We have had their cars in quite a bit, and they were always spot-on. This one just seemed to be different, and we felt we owed it to them to make sure they just aren't off in one area."

Now I appreciate NASCAR's diligence and consideration toward the no. 33 team but if this meeting is meant to scold the RCR team for building a competitive while legal car, then I have some questions.

This is a typical NASCAR move to someone building a car that's just outside of their pencil-written rule-book. My guess is that the over-used ‘actions detrimental to stock car racing' will come up several times today, if not getting a full rewrite in the coming days due to Bowyer's team.

If this is indeed just a fair warning by the league meant to aid one of their most loyal competitors, then kudos to NASCAR.

But the sanctioning body has had a history trying to one-up their best crew chiefs. They'll never beat a Chad Knaus so I fear that it makes Shane Wilson an easy target. On the flip side NASCAR could easily be trying to avoid a public relations nightmare, dealing with a team that potentially stole a playoff berth.

But Pemberton shot down speculation that RCR was given a pass because NASCAR didn't want to spoil the build up to the Chase opener.

"If there was something more to this, we would move the car under the dark of night and hide it in a crypt somewhere where nobody can see it," he said. "We're going to get criticized for everything we do anyway. People are through here all the time (R&D Center) and can see what's here. There are no shenanigans."

Regardless of the final outcome, a penalty against Bowyer  wouldn't likely have made a difference. The penalty for failed inspections runs anywhere from 50-to-100 points, and Bowyer had a 142-point lead over Ryan Newman at the end of the Richmond race.

But whatever the final outcome may be, just stay consistent NASCAR. Yes Bowyer's team is in the Chase. But If Wilson beat you, then praise him for his ingenuity. If he cheated the system then a fine and penalty to the crew must come. Just be consistent.

Matt Weaver is the Sports Editor for the Vanguard (USA) and can be reached at jmatthewweaver(at)aol.com

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