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Jack Roush questions the cars Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson raced at Dover

  Car owner Jack Roush (L) and Mark Martin were teammates for 19 great years...and came oh-so-close to winning several championships. But this season they're on opposite sides of the fence. (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   KANSAS CITY, Kansas
   Apparently the NASCAR jury may still be out on what to do about the Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson Dover cars.
   NASCAR officials said Friday both cars were "close" to the line in body spec tolerances but insisted both were legal. NASCAR has not released any specific measurements involved.
   However rivals have had questions. After all Martin and Johnson have dominated the first two championship playoff events, and they went into Sunday's Kansas 400 1-2 in the standings.
   Car owner Jack Roush, who has Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle in the Sprint Cup title chase too, says he understands that the two cars in question were in fact slightly "out of tolerance," in being off-set a bit to the right (which would help in aerodynamics in corner handling), although Roush said the specific 'miss' was probably too slight to be of any significant advantage.
    "I've been fined a lot of times for a lot of different things…and if the cars were out of tolerance by a quarter of an inch, which is what I've heard…well, the rest of the garage is held to a much tighter tolerance than that," Roush said.
   "So we'll see what NASCAR ultimately does about it."
    Background here: Roush himself, when Martin was at the wheel, may have lost two NASCAR championships, in 1990 and 2002, because of point-penalties. In 1990 Roush and Martin were fined 45 points at Richmond in the spring for a carburetor spacer issue that was not a performance enhancer; they wound up losing that season's championship by just 26 points. And in 2002 Roush and Martin were docked 25 points for a bad left-front spring at Rockingham in the fall; they lost that title by 38 points.
   NASCAR's standard penalty for fiddling with the basics of the car-of-tomorrow has been a 100-point penalty. That was something of a benchmark set when NASCAR assessed Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Darlington two years when his crew fiddled with his team a 100-point penalty and $100,000 fines for fiddling with the rear spoiler.  
   And that pretty much what NASCAR's John Darby reconfirmed here Friday when discussing what might have been the penalties if the two Dover cars had failed inspection.
   Taking points as part of a penalty has been a key aspect of NASCAR's philosophy, though subtracting points in the chase playoffs would be much more serious than subtracting points in the 'regular' season.
   This season Kyle Busch was just fined 25 points and $25,000 for his car being too low in post-race inspection two weeks ago at Loudon, N.H.  Robby Gordon was fined 50 points and $50,000 for an axle violation at Charlotte in May.
   And one of the most controversial penalties this season was Carl Long's 12-race suspension, 200-point penalty and $200,000 fine, NASCAR records, for an engine used in qualifying for the All-star race that measured 358.17 cubic inches, just over the 358 maximum.
   In the summer of 2008 Martin Truex Jr. was penalized 150 points, and his crew chief and car chief were suspended for six, and the team was fined $100,000, for a roof violation.
   In the summer of 2007 Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson were penalized 100 points and their crew chiefs were each fined $100,000 and suspended for six races, for minor alterations to the front fenders.

chevy and hendrick can get

chevy and hendrick can get away with anything they want. only way to tell if they are cheating is to have open insp for every owner and crew chief that wants to attend insp esp of any chevy or hendrick cars. that's only way anyone would know if nascar is telling truth about cars. they should ask owners or crew chiefs to pick out cars to inspect not let nascar pick them then insp at track if prob or question put them in trailer lock and seal then take to r and d center. then let crew chiefs attend, then take cars out of hauler, then insp. then everyone would know if nascar is treating everyone right. no cheating.

NASCAR won't penalize a

NASCAR won't penalize a Hendrick car during the Chase.

Jack Roush has complained

Jack Roush has complained about Hendrick cars for twenty years. Remember Roush complaining about Jeff Gordon having some type of mythical air in his tires that improved the handling? Then remember when he complained because Hendrick was testing?

He could win more championships if he would fix his teams and stop worrying about what Hendrick is doing.

He has good reason they

He has good reason they cheat.

NA$CAR has always shown that

NA$CAR has always shown that they don't treat everyone the same. That's one reason why I don't attend races anymore. They need an OPEN inspection system so that there would be no question that each team was treated the same. The need an a hard and fast fine system that that we all will know what it is. There should not be any gray areas in the fines given. The teams that buy engines from another place and don't build there own, should not be fined. How will they know if the engine will not meet the requirements. NA$CAR should have gone after the maker of the engine.

I agree that NASCAR

I agree that NASCAR inspections should be more open. I raised this question in June but got nowhere with it. Maybe now someone will speak up about it. I wanted to see those Dover cars with the questionable areas pinpointed for one; not just, oh they were too close to the line, so we warned them. Sorry, I dont buy that. And don't even get me started on how
ill-advised NASCAR was in the Carl Long engine deal. That whole thing stunk from start to finish, and NASCAR officials realize it, but figure he's a little guy -- like Robby Gordon -- and they can dump on him, make a point and go on down the road. However, I for one will not let NASCAR forget that deal.

Hendrick pushes the limits

Hendrick pushes the limits more than any team in the garage.

Well, I don't know about that

Well, I don't know about that (LOL)....but that operation does seem to be able to push the limits and get by with it more than any other team in the garage, let's say it that way.



Hey, NASCAR screwed Mark

Hey, NASCAR screwed Mark Martin out of the title at least once, maybe twice, with highly questionable penalties. But maybe there are too many lawyers watching the sport these days. Was it a better sport when someone would just haul you between the trailers to ask a few questions and settle things?

You can say what you want

You can say what you want about Jack Roush but he knows that Nascar has always treated Chevy better than Ford for years. He just wants a fair shake.

I agree. And Richard

I agree. And Richard Childress would like a fair shake too, and a lot of others. There has been a dynamic this season that has worked in Rick Hendrick's favor; no problem with that. Sun doesn't shine on the same dog's back every day. But I'm starting to think it all lies with this no-testing rule; that puts just about everything pre-race in the hands of engineers and their computer simulation programs. I say open up testing for 2010, with real Goodyears at the real tracks, say a day early, each weekend. The cars are already there at the track, and the teams, and the tires; just wake up the drivers and run some laps.

And NASCAR wonders why the

And NASCAR wonders why the fan base is shrinking...

I don't remember Rick

I don't remember Rick Hendrick crying when Jack Roush had all 5 cars in the chase a couple years ago. Some people just can't accept that there's a top team in the garage. They all can't be equal. Hendrick is just a better team right now. Roush has had his days in the sun too.

mmmmmm, maybe so, maybe so.

mmmmmm, maybe so, maybe so. But Jack's teams didn't go 1-2-3 in the final standings that year, like Rick's teams just did.
Maybe Hendrick has better teams right now (well, except for Junior). But I can't believe his teams are that much better over such a long run than everybody else. There's something more at play here, and I'm not satisfied with the answers I've heard so far.

Seriously, i know nothing of

Seriously, i know nothing of the behind-the-scenes garage stuff, but i CANNOT believe that one car (#48) can be so much better than all the other 42 cars practically every race!

I mean come on!, they just happen to always set their car up better than all the others? or jimmie johnson is 'The One' of NASCAR drivers who can make a car do what all the others can't??

I'm not qualified to say cheat, but i just find it really strange and actually quite annoying.

I've just thought of something else too. I thought drafting made a car that was following in the draft of the car in front, be able to keep up with it, and yet again the #48 can always seem to pull away no problems. i'm confused.com

Yes, and you are not alone.

Yes, and you are not alone. Jimmie is a great driver, and Chad is a wily crew chief, and Rick Hendrick can make things happen (though I'm still not pleased with his handling of Tim Richmond...and I question his approach with Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowki).
And, yes, the last 10 tracks are some of Jimmie's best.
But I can't believe that the Hendrick guys had that much over the Childress guys and Roush guys for so much of the season.
If this were a pinball game, I'd be seeing the TILT light going off.

Anybody who has watched

Anybody who has watched NASCAR for the last 20 years knows that Chevrolet has always been treated with kit gloves and allowed any and every advantage possible. Go back and look at the way they treated the Elliots in the eighties when they had built a better mouse trap. They tried to put them down laps with phantom penalties and held them in the pits over ghost loose parts. The Hendrick stable is just the newest GM NASCAR darlings just like Earnhardt Sr. used to be. My greatest hope is once Obama is voted out and GM's tax money prop gets kicked out from under them they will go under.

Well, yes, to be blunt. And I

Well, yes, to be blunt. And I believe that goes back to 1971-1972-1973-1974, when Ford and Chrysler both abruptly pulled out (in the middle of the night, at the end of the season) and left NASCAR holding an empty bag. That nearly killed the sport, to be honest. The sport was down to one --- ONE -- full-time Cup team. Tracks were going bankrupt right and left. (Not to mention the Arab Oil Embargo and all that).
And who helped saved NASCAR? R.J. Reynolds and General Motors' Chevy division. RJR did it all above table; Chevy's NASCAR support was all under-the-table, but it was substantial. Remember Chargin' Charlie?
The France family is like a herd of elephants -- they don't forget.
But what I don't get about all this is that Rick Hendrick -- a big car dealer and all -- can win big...but Roger Penske -- a big car dealer too, with NASCAR roots even deeper -- keeps struggling.
Oh, just another baffling piece of this big NASCAR puzzle.

The 48 team is CHEATING,

The 48 team is CHEATING, absolutely and without question or debate. There's no way on earth that car is that much faster than everyone else, on so many different types of tracks, while still remaining legal. If JJ is so "talented", then riddle me this, Batman: Why was he so mediocre at IROC, where all the cars were prepared identically? It's because the 48 team is cheating, each and every week, and it's paying off for them. It matters not to me tho. The utter predictability of finally got to me, and I've stopped watching. I've moved on to other interests. I never thought NASCAR could make stock car racing so boring and predictable, but amazingly, their allowing the 48 to continue cheating week in and week out has finally made me quit watching and attending races. Nowadays I hunt, fish and go to the gym. It's working out nicely, thanks. Well guys, enjoy watching the 48 team cheat their way to a historic #5 next season. You won't see me around.

Now that's a bit

Now that's a bit strong...however I must concede that I didn't find NASCAR's explanation of the Dover incident with those two cars very convincing. First off, what exactly was wrong with those two cars? What area was NASCAR looking at? Second, that double-speak about 'going too close to the edge' was nonsense. I've been around this sport for a while and I've encountered such as that. NASCAR owed it to the sport and the fans to be much more transparent about that deal....instead of apparently trying to punish those teams with bad media.
And I agree NASCAR has simply become too predictable lately.
And I do find it very curious that, with as many teams in the garage, nobody caught on to whatever tricks the Hendrick guys have been using. Usually a trick is good for two months at best before somebody else figures it out.
But then I'm just a suspicious type of a guy. Aren't journalists supposed to be that way?

lol you were absolutely

lol you were absolutely right,they did cheat there way to championship #5 in a row...I think mike helton & company are trying to phase out the blue collar hard working american fans & bring in more clean cut stuck up rude people (mainstream america) fans.

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