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Bruton Smith blasts NASCAR for Carl Long penalty, and says NASCAR should do everything it can to avoid a lawsuit with Jeremy Mayfield

Bruton Smith -- no holds barred (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


   By Mike Mulhern


   Bruton Smith, the second-most-powerful man in NASCAR, as owner of many of the biggest tracks in this sport, says NASCAR has mishandled both the Jeremy Mayfield 'drug' situation and the Carl Long 'big engine' situation, and says the sanctioning body's executives need to rethink what they're doing.
   NASCAR has suspended Mayfield, one of the sport's few independent owner-drivers, indefinitely for 'violating NASCAR's substance abuse policy.'
   And NASCAR has fined Long, a low-budget part-time journeyman racer, a NASCAR-record $200,000 and suspended him for 12 weeks for an engine violation in last weekend's All-star preliminary, a race in which Long finished last.
   "When NASCAR does something so far out, as it did with Carl Long, I think NASCAR loses a lot of fans," Smith said, in a wide-ranging interview Saturday at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
   "We don't need to be making enemies; we need to be making friends. We need to be fan-friendly.
    "The fine is ridiculous. What is it proving?
    "That's something you wouldn't think would happen in this country. That's too dictatorial.   
   "Who made that decision? I don't think Brian (France) made that decision.
   "That decision was dead wrong. Some of the things NASCAR can do can ruin a person's reputation, ruin his career."
   NASCAR engine men say the sanctioning body has not yet revealed to them any details about Long's engine, which he apparently bought at auction.
    Smith said NASCAR needs to reverse direction in the Mayfield case or else risk a lawsuit. Smith said Mayfield's lawyer, Bill Diehl, will be ruthless with NASCAR if it comes to that:
   "Bill is a junkyard dog. I don't mean that other than he is tough, a tough lawyer, a brilliant man.
   "And we don't need this lawsuit in our sport…but it appears it will happen.
  "Maybe there's a way for NASCAR to make a few changes and maybe there would be no lawsuit.
   "If he does this, there are a lot of people who will get tired of giving depositions. And they will not like it.
    "I've seen Bill Diehl handle depositions, and he is tough and mean and ruthless."

Bill Diehl, Jeremy Mayfield's attorney (Photo: JMD)

The Carl Long issue really sticks in Smith's craw:  "I don't know Carl Long, but there has been an injustice done. And I hope he wins his appeal.
   "That penalty is cruel, to try to ruin this man. And that would financially ruin him.
   "It's just not right.
   "I think you can make your point in a better way than that.
   "And who gets that $200,000? Where does that $200,000 go?"
   Presumably to the NASCAR Foundation. "Do you have an audit you can show me?" Smith responded. "I don't know where that money goes. I think it's a guessing game."
     Smith says NASCAR officials should reveal what the specific drug at issue in the Mayfield case: "NASCAR should come forth and say what this substance is. Why do they want to be all that secretive? I don't think you progress by being all that secretive about something."
    Smith says he's also not pleased with the unfolding time line of the Mayfield debate, which has been overshadowing one of this sport's biggest weeks: "That (drug) test (by NASCAR) was done in Richmond…and then the racing went to Darlington…and I'm curious why didn't all this come out at Darlington….why they waited till they got in my front yard."
    And Smith -- looking ahead to the mandatory Tuesday meeting NASCAR executives have called at the nearby R&D center for all Cup team owners and drivers to discuss 'the state of the sport,' and come up with ideas on how to make the sport better -- says he knows exactly what should be at the top of the agenda:
   "The first thing I'd want to talk about is this (new) car. To see if there's something they (NASCAR) can do to give these geniuses in the garage more room to work on this car, to make it better…which would make it better for these fans."
    NASCAR's car-of-tomorrow has been controversial during its year-plus on the Sprint Cup tour, in part because NASCAR has insisted on no rules changes at all to the car, even though it has a number of technical faults. The new car has been blamed for too much follow-the-leader racing at some tracks.


Jeremy Mayfield: Bruton Smith says NASCAR would be making a big mistake if it lets the Mayfield situation turn into a lawsuit (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


Go Bruton!!!!! Thank God

Go Bruton!!!!! Thank God there is a high position person who sees the truth!!! Yes, you are right,nascar should never of started their crap with Jeremy Mayfield. Than they act like 'dollar signs' when they threw the biggest fine at Carl Long. It seems like they create another drama, while covering up the drama before. Yes the love of money, that they don't have to work for, gets in their way of thinking correctly. If they are reading this, this is the thoughts of many people who love the way nascar used to be, instead of the the way that they run it now.You are right in many ways Bruton.Rules that just don't make sense, only to them, so they can get rich off of the things that they lay their laws down on.
Go Bruton!!!!!!

And Jeremy Mayfield is

And Jeremy Mayfield is guiltless?

As for Carl Long, what seems to be the issue is that NASCAR hit him with a huge fine but the fines they hand down to teams like Hendrick are just one day's lunch money to them.

Anonymous, you are so much like other race fans - angry and incoherent in such.

Bruton Smith: the voice of

Bruton Smith: the voice of the real stock car racing fans? I don't agree with everything the man says, but I seemingly "amen" all of his shouts directed at NASCAR.

No one, except ESPN, gets a

No one, except ESPN, gets a pass from you media guys like Bruton, who of course has no bias at all and always tells the complete truth. I think if you'd go look, you can find documentation that some of what he said about Humpy was inaccurate - and since he has no more idea what was in Mayfield's drug test than I do and no responsibility for handling substance abuse in NASCAR, Bruton can say anything he wants.

If anyone here attends races

If anyone here attends races at both ISC and SMI tracks, they know who really supports the fans. SMI wins hands down.
Cooler size and Insulated Beverage cups are a small, but important difference to many who attend, especially all day events. I just came back from the Coca Cola 600. Didn't expect to stay overnight but no problem keeping vehicle parked and staying in it in their parking lots. Try that at an ISC track and you are towed away. The .99 fuel stop vendors throughout the track were selling Hot Dogs, Burgers and other food items for .99 cent, inside the track.
Is Bruton a Bully? Maybe, but he does fight for the fans and in turn they do support his venues.
I thought the flap over the Drag Strip last year was a joke, as it is next to the Dirt Track they make quite a bit of noise also, so what is the big deal. When the Charlotte Coliseum seats were being taken out, he got them and installed the largest seats of any track I know of for the fans. He lost a lot of seating capacity but the fans are comfortable. There were so many tickets given to Veterans Organiztions under the Carquest Contract this year, and Good Seats I might add, so that they could attend the races, both, free.
Say what you want, but for me, I wish The Frances were as fan friendly.

As far as I'm concerned

As far as I'm concerned Bruton is no different then the France family, They're all in it for the money!
Bruton's statement about the Mayfield situation happening in his front yard proves that.
I agree 100% with Nascar suspending Mayfield if he failed the drug test, these drivers and crew members all know that they are going to be tested, and I'm sure Nascar has given each and every one of them a list of drugs and medications that are on that banned list!

I do agree with Bruton that the fine set against Carl Long is way out of line though. Anyone that knows anything about engines will tell you that once you overheat an engine the tolerences are going to be off. if he was truly trying to cheat, I dont think he would have submitted the engine to Nascar for inspection, he could have just blown the thing up.

Also if this engine was oversized from the beginning, why didn't Nascar find this when they did the "whistle test" at the start of the weekend?

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Couldn't agree more Nascar

Couldn't agree more Nascar has picked poor ground to fight an uphill battle whether or not Mayfield is guilty or not is immaterial it was miss handled from the start and will be a protracted ugly court battle the sport does not need at this point and should have been disposed of quietly away from the media and in private. As well as the Carl Long situation Nascar talks one game and does something else they say they want to encourage one car teams, small teams and the little guy and grow the sport but with every action they make indicated some entirely different. Brian France apparently is in love with the sound of his own voice because he certainly never misses any opportunity to use it, the sport is in the process of losing fan base some in part because of the economy but some because of the trust us you will love it mentality that's seeped into the sport under Brian France. His Father and Grandfather understood it clearly that behind this whole thing, without the fans all you have are guys turning left in loud brightly painted cars, Brian apparently thinks he's a banana republic dictator or some tough talking sports commissioner from a stick and ball sport. I don't like the direction of where the sport is heading someone needs to grasp the reins and pull the horse back from the edge of the cliff.

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