Cheating and The Clean Cut Kid

Carl Edwards, he of the super abs, aw-shucks grin, sparkly white teeth, and on-the-surface-sunny attitude towards life, has been docked 100 points, lost his crew chief for six races, and seen a hundred grand fine levied against Bob Osborne, his crew chief. Jack Roush, the Cat in the Hat, lost a hundred owner points, plus his driver, Carl, had the ten extra win-points for smashing the field in California last weekend ground down the dispose-all. NASCAR is proving it's made of stern stuff, a refrain that has been heard a lot since Daytona 2007. Was the penalty appropriate for a lid missing off an oil tank in the #99 car? Hmmm. Roush's guys say the bolt that held it down came off, as did the lid. Accident. No harm. No foul. Roush's Geoff Smith says NASCAR is cutting off hands for stealing a penny. Rusty Wallace on ESPN's Nascar Now agrees -says it wouldn't help the car's on-track performance a bit to have a missing lid.

Then why was a photo of the car, with a backflipping Carl in Victory Lane, circulated by email around the NASCAR garages? The picture clearly showed the missing lid, and the crew chiefs and car chiefs all knew what that meant. Only Toyota has given specifics, because it tested, in Germany, a car with the lid missing, and got about 170 lbs. more of downforce. And downforce means a faster car with better handling. It'll stick like glue to the track and go where the driver steers it.

Did Osborne think NASCAR wouldn't notice the missing lid? Not care? How can anyone be so clueless and be a crew chief? This sort of thing doesn't help Carl Edwards a bit. A lot of fans still remember his on-camera act when he threatened Matt Kenseth last fall in Martinsville. The good ole Missouri boy morphed into a snarling, fist-pumping jerk. Maybe he was having a bad day (well, duh, yeah!), but don't act like the Hulk in front of a camera with a Speed reporter holding a microphone in Kenseth's face. You're bound to get caught. And he did.

And so did Bob Osborne. Play it straight, guys. Cheating isn't the right way to win. NASCAR has taught that lesson over and over - when will you get it? My parents taught me that lesson at a very young age, and I've never forgotten it.