The 2012 season was plagued with inconsistent rulings by NASCAR. The same “crime” committed by a driver had multiple different punishments. This made NASCAR’s rulings very inconsistent. So far in 2013, NASCAR hasn’t had consistency issues but, I do believe if something similar to the Jeremy Clements situation were to happen to a big name Cup driver, the rulings would be different. Clements was indefinitely suspended after he used a racial slur while talking to a reporter. So, what if Dale Earnhardt Jr. did the same thing? Would NASCAR suspend their most popular driver indefinitely? I don’t believe so and that’s the basis for possible future consistency problems by NASCAR.
Take tweeting in the car for example of inconsistent rulings by NASCAR. Brad Keselowski tweeted from inside his race car on numerous occasions following the Daytona 500 last season. The importance of the Daytona 500 tweet sent by Keselowski was that NASCAR made a rule following the tweet (which many people didn’t know about) that prohibited drivers from carrying their phones inside their cars. Keselowski was shown with his phone in his car during numerous occasions following the making of the no phone rule but, NASCAR didn’t do anything about it until they saw Keselowski using his phone during the red flag period at the Phoenix race last November. Inconsistent much? NASCAR didn’t issue Keselowski a fine until November after he had broken the rule numerous times before that. Clements’ situation may not be similar but, it’s the foundation for possible inconsistent rulings by NASCAR that may come up this season since they were present last season.
Clements is only a Nationwide Series driver who had many decent finishes last season and he is still making his way up the NASCAR ladder. Clements is by no means a superstar in NASCAR yet but, if he was, would he still be suspended indefinitely after making that racial slur? I don’t believe so. Pretend this was Dale Earnhardt Jr. at fault here; would NASCAR suspend their most popular driver indefinitely? No, they wouldn’t have. For one race? Maybe but, not indefinitely which indicates no time table for the drivers return.
We have a full season ahead of us and anything could happen. Like Clements, any word could slip out of a driver’s mouth on accident and any driver could find themselves in the same boat as Clements is. If that were to happen this season, NASCAR should give that driver that same penalty no matter what the circumstances. It shouldn’t matter to NASCAR whether the driver is the most popular driver in the sport or the driver is a part-time Truck Series driver. Giving out the same penalty to the same “crime” each and every time makes NASCAR not look inconsistent and therefore, no questioning by the media is needed. All I ask of NASCAR is for them to be consistent no matter what the circumstances are if this situation were to come about again. Being inconsistent could have long lasting effect for NASCAR which is exactly what they don’t need.