Column: Don’t whine, get even!

Published 9:55 pm Saturday, February 25, 2006

By Staff
The moments immediately following the Daytona 500 had me scratching my head. The days following the race had my head spinning.
First of all, where did all this crying and whining come from? Some of these drivers think that there is some sort of magical zone around their car and no other driver can enter into the zone. The post-race interviews sounded more like a pity party than the usual
Tuesday, NASCAR announced additional penalties against the No. 48 Lowes team and crew chief Chad Knaus. Jimmie Johnson, who happened to win the race, will be without Knaus for an additional three races and Knaus was fined a whopping $25,000.
The team earned $1.5 million for winning the race. Boy, that 25 grand will is really tough to swallow. And the additional three races suspension? It didn't look like Johnson missed Knaus too much Sunday, so that is not an issue.
I guess I am bit confused over NASCAR's logic for handing down penalties. Terry Labonte and his team are docked 25 championship points and fined $25,000 for an unapproved carburetor during Daytona qualifying. But, Johnson's point total is safe.
NASCAR's explanation is that Labonte used an illegal part, but Johnson's car did not. Chad Knaus, the magician, used legal parts arranged in a way that was illegal to gain a competitive advantage after pre-qualifying inspection. I don't get it. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. lets loose with a few unapproved words in a Victory Lane celebration at Talladega in 2004 and gets busted 25 points, but Knaus tries to cheat - yes, he was cheating, no other way around it - and that doesn't earn a points deduction. Makes you scratch your head.
Congrats to Ken Schrader on the top 10 finish Sunday. Wouldn't it be awesome to see Kenny and the Wood Brothers back in victory lane? I don't know what their realistic chances are, but you never know.
The teams head for the west coast and California Speedway in Fontana this week. This race starts a string of three two-mile down force races that the Roush and Hendrick cars have seemed to dominate. Jeff Gordon, with three career wins, is the only winner of multiple races at this track.
Greg Biffle and Kyle Busch won the races here last year and both will be strong again Sunday. Biffle also has two Busch series wins here.
My pick to win this week is the newest Roush driver, Jamie McMurray. McMurray has not won since his memorable win at Charlotte in 2002 filling in for an injured Sterling Marlin in the Ganassi car. He picks up win number 2 Sunday.
Television coverage moves back to FOX this week and it is none too soon. Coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. and the green flag will drop a little after 4. Enjoy the race.
Jeff Findley writes a NASCAR column for Boone Newspapers.