Selected comments from Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle regarding Clint Bowyer's penalty ...
SHOULD WINS BE TAKEN AWAY FROM TEAMS THAT ARE FOUND TO BE ILLEGAL AFTER THE RACE?
“I just think they should be consistent, what that is. I don’t know a lot about what was wrong or the penalty, but I think as long as they’re consistent everybody is happy with that.”
CLINT BOWYER SAID HE THOUGHT A LOT OF CARS WERE OVER THE EDGE AND HE WAS MADE AN EXAMPLE OF. DO YOU FEEL GUYS ARE OVER THE LINE WITH THEIR CARS?
“I don’t know a lot about it. NASCAR set the precedent early that they’re gonna be real serious with this car and if anything is out of tolerance, that’s what was gonna happen. That’s why they give you a little bit of tolerance. Of course, with everybody being racers
and trying to get everything you can out of it, you’re gonna push as close as you can to the tolerance. Actually, I think if you look
through the last six or seven years, there has probably been less people fined and fewer infractions and fines or penalities for things
being wrong with cars than there ever has been. Like I said, I don’t know a lot about it, but it seems like it happens less than it used
CAN CLINT RECOVER FROM LOSING 150 POINTS AND JUMPING 11 OTHER DRIVERS?
“It depends how you run. If you run like Clint ran last week and can run like that in the top three or four every week, and be up there and lead laps and be in contention to win – you can make up a lot of points fast, and there are some races where people could lose a lot of points fast. You never know. Stranger things have probably happened, but it puts you in a pretty big hole. It’s tough to come out of that, but the I think the first thing you’ve got to look at is their performance and see how they perform.”
THERE WAS SOME SUGGESTION THAT IT’S BEEN KNOWN IN THE GARAGE FOR A WHILE THAT THE 33 HAD BEEN MANIPULATING THE CHASSIS AFTER CERTIFICATION. HAD YOU HEARD THAT BEFORE?
“I haven’t heard absolutely anything about that. I never even heard about the Richmond deal and them being warned or if they were on the edge. The last thing I remember is the 48 and the 5 controversy, where they ended up not fining them and they were within, I think they called it a piece of paper of stepping over the line and it was getting so close that it was hard to regulate or hard to make the decision if they were legal or illegal. That’s the last on the body stuff and rules that I’ve heard.”
ARE YOU CONFIDENT YOU’RE COMPETING ON A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD?
“Whoever cheats the best wins, that’s the old say, right? That’s an old joke and an old saying that’s been around forever. That probably has something to do with it. I mean, it’s not cheating until you get caught and whoever cheats the best wins. Those are all the sayings that are around. I know one thing. When we merged our organization, the Petty cars had better downforce on the back of their cars and we knew that because we blew ours in the windtunnel and saw a difference. I won’t talk about how
much the difference was, but we went to Phoenix and tested and, artificially not legally, added the downforce to make it like the
other car and it was about a tenth of a second per lap faster consistently throughout. It just gave it a bunch more grip. I was like, ‘Wow.’ If you could have that all the time, it made the car drive a lot better and gave it a lot more grip off the corner. If you multiplied that by two or three, that would be a big difference between one car and the next in the body work. I feel like we’re playing on a fairly level playing field, I really do. The 9 cars were legal. The moral of the story is they were legal and we were legal, there was just a little different build or maybe closer to the rule. I don’t know how to say what was different about it, but all I know is the number was different. We matched the number and the car picked up speed, so if there’s more out there than that, yeah, it makes a
difference. I don’t even know what was wrong with the 33 car. I heard the body didn’t meet specifications and things like that.
Normally when that happens, it makes more downforce or makes more sideforce or makes more something.”
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE NASCAR LOOK AT ALL THE CARS?
“I’d be all for it because the way I understand the system works is we take the chassis and the body over to the R&D Center and get it certified. So if you bring it home and change it, then it’s not legal anymore. But keep in mind that if you bring it home and you scrape it up and put a new panel on here or there, I don’t think it goes back and gets re-certified for every single change that is made. But if you’re bringing it home and cutting it apart, then it’s not gonna be legal anymore. Could they take every car? That’s why they have top 10 and a random and they take them to the R&D Center.”
SHOULD THEY TAKE ALL OF THEM DURING THE CHASE?
“This discussion came up last year, I remember it. The randoms come from the chase drivers. I remember that discussion and it’s not a bad idea, but you don’t want to turn your head to the guys 13th on back that they have free reign – ‘we’re not gonna get checked so we’re just gonna build whatever we can to try and win races right now.’ So you’ve got to still keep it within reason. We often sit back and look at, ‘Are we doing enough? Are we close enough to the edge of the rule? Can we get our cars better and faster by pushing
the envelope a little bit? Everybody wonders that same thing, but I wouldn’t be opposed to them taking everybody. I was the same with the drug testing. Just line them all up after the driver’s meeting or before – just check it like that.”
WILL THERE EVER BE A SITUATION THAT ONCE THE CAR LEAVES THE R&D CENTER IT HASN’T BEEN ALTERED?
“I don’t know, but I’m gonna defend NASCAR on this point. They do give tolerance, so if you take something to the R&D Center and it checks, and then you go out and race it and bring it back and it doesn’t check, they know these cars hit the race track, hit the walls – had to put a right-rear quarterpanel on it. But when both quarterpanels don’t match and both roof heights don’t match – when multiple things aren’t adding up it’s just plain and simple. I think they’ve been pretty tolerant of making sure it’s not a racing incident or you
legitimately put on a right quarterpanel and it’s not perfect. I feel like they understand that and they’re pretty fair about that.”
WHAT ABOUT THE TOW TRUCK SCENARIO?
“Let’s cut to the chase. If your bumper corners are off. The decklid structure where the spoiler is mounted, that stuff is not gonna move unless it’s really wrecked. And then up where the trunk lid hinges are, all that stuff is not gonna move by getting pushed by a tow truck, and the roof corners and up where the oil tank is mounted. If it is, there’s gonna be buckles in the metal. If you look at a car and it got hit at Daytona or Talladega restrictor plate racing and the tin is buckled on the inside. That’s what we look at. When we hit the wall out here, we look inside to see if we see any wrinkles in the tin. That tells us it’s moved, so I would have to say they looked in there and said, ‘We don’t see where the tow truck bent it down.’ I don’t know what the claims are, but that’s what they would do and see that it clearly hasn’t been moved by that. I don’t know.”
DO YOU THINK NASCAR SHOULD HAVE TOUGHER INSPECTION PROCEDURES AT THE TRACK SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO WAIT THREE
DAYS TO FIND OUT IF A GUY IS LEGAL OR NOT?
“I agree with you that they should be able to have some kind of test rig here that maybe they could check the chassis alignment here. Maybe they could build something to be portable more than stationary back at the shop, but the thing about that is it’s a cumbersome piece of equipment or chassis plate that they use to check, and they probably have roamers or more sophisticated tooling there that they can check it with, but that’s the other reason why NASCAR does not take the win away. We have the same winner and he still has the trophy and his name is in the book that they’re gonna print for the rest of our lives. That’s the way NASCAR has done this. There is an argument there as well is do they lose the win and the trophy? You get to keep the win and the trophy, but they take the points and the money back. I agree with you. If they brought that equipment to the race track – I don’t say never, you guys know more than I do, whether they’ve ever disqualified the winner and said the number two guy gets the trophy and the money. That’s basically what you’re getting at is, Let’s test it here before we shut the lights out and determine whether he gets the trophy, the money, the points and the whole deal – not fine him, just kick him out completely and start with the number two guy – put him up there and check him at the track. There could be a case made for that. That’s not a bad idea. Whether it’s logistically possible, I don’t know that.”