Skip to main content

You may not think of DailyKos being a place to discuss issues related to NASCAR but think again.  My interest in the sport (yes, I consider it one) dates back to about the mid-90s when Jeff Gordon was appearing on every kid’s show in America.  My Dad, who at the time worked for a Pontiac car dealership, eventually decided to give NASCAR a shot and soon enough; my family became fans of it.

As I grew older, my interest heavily waned.  I grew tired of what appeared to be the same winners and the growing number of unlikable personalities to emerge as well as some rule changes I disliked heavily.  My family was in the same boat but we still halfheartedly followed what was going on and usually checked in each Sunday to monitor how Gordon was doing.

But another weekly storyline I was always interested in is the plight of the independent team owner.  For those who don’t follow NASCAR, there are about six or seven teams in the sport.  They have the advantages of having multiple cars, bigger shops to build new cars and engines, better technology and more access to testing.

NASCAR was predicated on drivers taking their own cars to the track and racing them but very few of those relics from the past remain.  One of those relics is Carl Long of North Carolina.

I took an interest to Carl Long by once seeing him on the race results and wondering who the heck he was.  I investigated a bit and discovered that he did everything out of his own shop in North Carolina and operated on a shoestring budget.  To get to the next race was a struggle, but Long usually was able to make it to the races as he continued to chase his dream.

There were dalliances with very small teams and teases of bigger things to come.  In 2004, at Rockingham Motor Speedway, Carl Long was involved in a spectacular crash that left him fine but damaged his only car.  Fans rallied together to donate money to him and he wound up with a slightly faster ride.

For the next five years, Long floated around all three NASCAR series and would be largely out of the spotlight often not qualifying for races or even working behind-the-scenes as a mechanic.

Then in 2009, Long was brought back to the spotlight but this time for an egregious fine.  Long was competing in the exhibition “Sprint Showdown” race in 2009 when he was levied a $200,000 fine for his engine being 0.17 cubic inches too big.  It is, and remains, a record fine and Long has been unable to fully pay off the fine and thus is unable to race at NASCAR’s highest level.  As an example, two years previous, Michael Waltrip was fined $100,000 for a foreign substance in the intake manifold that was reported to allegedly be “jet fuel”.  Waltrip, who has sponsorship from NAPA Auto Parts, was able to quickly pay the fine.

The engine did not provide a competitive advantage as it overheated early in the exhibition race but even when it was running smoothly; Long was still considerably slower than the top teams.  Yet Long was dished out a fine larger than other teams who have violated the rule book.

Is this right?  Of course not, but it shows that NASCAR (like all forms of mega corporations) appear to have a class problem.  The little guy gets punished when the bigger teams have numerous sponsorships and multimillion dollar contracts to pay off token $25,000 fines for other infractions.

Long is banned from the Sprint Cup Series garage due to his fine and thus it’s harder for the current mechanic (making about $35,000 a year) to find available sponsorship to pay off his fine.

Originally posted to RVKU on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 10:18 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site