It is very interesting that Clint Bowyer's car failed inspection after his win at New Hampshire, the first race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. It is even more interesting that reports indicated NASCAR had a problem the previous week, but did nothing about it.
So, is it NASCAR that kept Ryan Newman out of the chase? Given NASCAR's history and apparent dislike for Newman, I wouldn't be at all surprised.
Had Bowyer lost 150 points at Richmond, when according to Steve McCormick at About.com, Bowyer's team "very nearly failed inspection," that would have kept him from that coveted 12th place spot in points. McCormick went on to describe the problem as, "while not exactly the same, it was in the same area of the car."
If Bowyer's penalty of 150 points would have been assessed at Richmond, it would have put Newman into the chase. At the conclusion of the race Bowyer was 142 points ahead of Newman. Biffle moved into the 12th position, 98 points ahead of Newman.
Had NASCAR's arbitrary decision to dock Bowyer 150 points after Richmond, Newman would have been in and Bowyer out. At the very least, this is an interesting development, especially given the lack of transparency in NASCAR's penalty policy.
Any indication of there being a problem with Bowyer's car after it was inspected at Richmond causes me concern.
I have to agree with Dustin Long's comments that The Chase became a sideshow after NASCAR's penalty to Clint Bowyer yesterday. And while Long referred to the potential manipulation of chse contenders through an appeals process that puts all the decision-making into NASCAR's hands.
Long also added, "The fact that NASCAR could not or would not explain the exact nature of the infraction, the fact that NASCAR seems to have in place a selective use of warnings, that officials have a cavalier attitude when it comes to motives (they said Wednesday that they don’t know if the infraction would improve performance nor did they care), that the car passed pre-race inspection is all going to lead some to think the penalty was excessive and arbitrary."