For a couple of days after last week’s race at Texas, the fans on The Morning Drive on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio had some interesting storylines to consider. Then came Wednesday – and the news of Kevin Harvick‘s penalty for an illegal spoiler hit co-host Pete Pistone and the fans in their collective gut.
As Nate Ryan pointed out, it seems that NASCAR can’t have the good without an equal dose of the bad.
Now the sport is forced to debate the line between cheating and innovation.
“That line of demarcation – where is it?” Pistone asked. “Is it a little tolerance over here … past the line, have to go back in tech – is that cheating? This one feels like cheating. You have a part that wasn’t approved. It was moved to a place – from what I understand – the team felt like they didn’t check that part of the car for like two years, let’s give this a shot.
“When NASCAR comes down with an L1 penalty and takes away the win in terms of how it doesn’t count to go to the next round of the playoffs, I don’t know how you cannot look at that and say, ‘Boy, that was cheating.’ But there’s so much gray area here and that’s the problem.”
According to Pistone, the lasting effect of scandals such as this harms NASCAR at a time when new sponsors and fans must be brought in to insure the sport’s health.
“We’re trying to bring new people into this sport,” Pistone said. “Is it a hard sell to try and bring somebody in who thinks this is a sport that sort of puts itself around the word cheating and sort of celebrates that? I think it is and I think that’s why it bothers me so much.”
The line between cheating and innovation is one NASCAR has walked since the sport began, according to Ryan
“There is sort of a part of rule breaking that is endemic to what you’re supposed to be doing when you’re in NASCAR,” Ryan said.
For more, watch the video above.