Probing Probation

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - It didn't take long for NASCAR to be put to the test this week after the tussle between Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart.

The pit road tangle and subsequent mini-brawl that erupted afterward in the NASCAR hauler forced the sanctioning body to come up with some sort of punishment for the bad boy duo.

It came, I guess, in the form of a six race probation both were handed down.

Now in the past, NASCAR has passed out season-long probations like Valentine's Day candy hearts. And they were about as sweet a punishment.

Basically a probation period meant nothing in the past, something NASCAR says will change now.

Just because no points of fines were given, NASCAR maintains the probation punishment fits the crime.

"We're still working into letting the drivers develop and vent in proper ways, but we're giving them some more latitude," said vice president of competition Robin Pemberton. "We said in the off-season we would do that, and I think this is another step to letting you know that this is what we mean. Now, going forward, if we were to get repeat offenders for similar offenses, whether it be crew members or drivers or owners or anything like that, we have the ability and will escalate the penalties moving forward."

I'm sorry if it all sounds like the same chatter we've heard before.

If NASCAR wants to punish a driver, it should do so. Probation means nothing.

I'm not sure what happened between Busch and Stewart this week warranted anything more. But I have to wonder what will happen the next time thes etwo, or anyone else, acts up.


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