Commentary: On penalties and cheating

Mike Dillon, Danny Stockman, Austin Dillon, and Richard Childress discuss Austin's first-ever Nationwide Series career victory Friday night at Kentucky Speedway. The team's No. 3 Chevrolet was later found to be too low in post-race technical inspection. (Matt Weaver/NASCAR Ranting and Raving)

SPARTA Ky. - As you know by now, Austin Dillon's race-winning Nationwide Series car was found too low in post-race inspection. As a result, he's likely to face fines and penalties early next week that should eliminate his newly minted points lead.

There's been a lot of discussion about what the penalty should be. This isn't Danny Stockman Jr.'s first time getting caught by the technical police either. He was caught at Iowa with a similarly disputed car.

The way in which Dillon dominated Friday's race didn't help either. The common consensus is that Dillon's car was nowhere close to the legal limit, considering his unmatched pace throughout the evening. NASCAR hasn't released the amount by which Dillon's car failed, but it couldn't have been much.

After all, the car passed every inspection prior to the race, leading us to suspect that the percentage was off by just a little bit.

With that said, this is apparently a recurring issue. Stockman was reserved in his comments to the Associated Press last night but did admit that NASCAR had warned them once about the infraction.

So was this due to pit stop adjustments or wear and tear due to high downforce throughout a 300-mile race. In any case, the existence of a prior warning might make this penalty heavier than the six-point and $10,000 fine they received at Iowa.

That appears to be alright by those labeling Stockman, Childress, and Dillon as cheaters. Fans have the right to be skeptical but I would warn them to learn the difference between 'cheating' and "failing post-race inspection.'

NASCAR is a game of inches with each team working within a window of fractions. Winning races is often decided by exploiting holes in the rule-book. Simply put, "He who dares, wins."

Most fans prefer a full-disqualification and giving the win to the second-place driver. For a game of inches, that's just too strong of a punishment. Beyond that, fans paid with hard-earned cash, to see a concrete resolution. You don't want them to go home and find out that they watched a sham - even if it was.

Like NASCAR, I prefer the escalating penalty scale. Fines and championship point deductions are the way to go. Teams are cash-strapped last year's Chase proved that s single point could make the difference. If a team is truly in the wrong, this method will go a long way to curbing the not-so-rampant problem of true cheating in NASCAR.

But how about you? How would you choose to penalize the No. 3 Nationwide Series team? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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