Why I’m Fine With ‘Secret’ Fines

By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)

We live in a world where everyone has a thirst for the truth, and a passion to be in the know.

That being said; obviously the proverbial droppings hit the fan this week when it was revealed by Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press, that two ‘star drivers’ have been fined this year for derogatory comments towards the sport.

First everyone wanted to know who the drivers were, and secondly why NASCAR kept this from the fans of the sport.

Well, in a week that has had a lot of stories of which to wage an opinion, I must say that I am actually with NASCAR on this.

Let’s think about this for a moment.

In the NBA when someone such as Mark Cuban speaks out against the referees, fans begin to question the product on the court whether there is an issue or not.

When ‘Spy-Gate’ with the New England Patriots went public in the NFL, everyone was quick to say the fix was in for the Patriots over the past few years that led to their dynasty.

In Major League Baseball several players have been caught using steroids, and all of a sudden people basically just assume everyone ‘juices’. Whether everyone does or not is irrelevant, as the perception reigns supreme.

Do you see where I’m going?

People look up to athletes and owners of teams.

Regardless of whether the person says something in the heat of the battle that may not be 100-percent the truth, their fans will take it as the gospel.

Today NASCAR went ahead and released the names of the two drivers that were fined; Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin.

If NASCAR would have announced these fines directly after the quotes that led to them, news outlets such as ESPN and others would have been quick to play the sound bites of the drivers downgrading their sport.

Every hour on the hour the story would have been pounded into your head, and along the way you’d probably start believing what the drivers said.

That is not good for business, especially for a sport that has lost ratings and considerable amounts of attendance in recent years.

Also for those who don’t understand why NASCAR will announce when someone has failed a drug test, yet they were hesitant to give any information on this story.

It’s pretty obvious why.

The decision to fine these drivers had no effect what-so-ever on the actual racing on the track.

When a driver fails a drug test they are officially suspended from the sport. Fans of those drivers have the right to know why their favorite is no longer going to be running for victories on Sunday.

In this case what good does it do for any of us to know that Denny Hamlin or Ryan Newman were fined for their bad decision to bash the sport in which they are a part of?

It was probably a pretty embarrassing moment for each of them and it should end there, instead of doing excess harm to the sport by having the comments re-air on television time after time.

NASCAR has done everything right over the past year as far as correcting a product to make it more enjoyable for fans. We are seeing the best racing ever, and the advent of the chase, double-file restarts, and green-white-checkers have made it where every week is unpredictable.

They have aligned themselves for a big rebound in the near future, and with possible schedule changes on the horizon, the old notion that ‘any press is good press’ no longer applies.

You have to understand that this wasn’t an instance of NASCAR keeping it’s fans in the dark, it was an example of them trying to help pave the future of the sport in my opinion.

And for that I applaud them.

Author: Toby Christie

Toby is the Editor of TheFinalLap.com and Social Media Director of all things @TheFinalLap. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly radio show and podcast, and he is the writer and co-host of the Racing Legends podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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