When Matt Kenseth deliberately wrecked Joey Logano at Martinsville Speedway last October, he took out the race leader, who likely was on his way to a fourth consecutive race victory and his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
Instead, Logano got knocked out of title contention despite having a series-high six victories. For his actions, Kenseth was suspended for two races, sitting out the events at Texas and Phoenix.
During his appeal of the suspension, Kenseth said it was too harsh because lots of guys wrecked other guys throughout NASCAR's history and they didn't get suspended.
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"I'm the first driver in the 65-year history of NASCAR to get suspended for an incident that happened in a Sprint Cup Series race," Kenseth said after his final appeal was rejected. "I feel like I was unfairly made the example. ... I'm extremely disappointed."
Well, that won't be a problem this year.
Friday night at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR announced dramatic rule book revisions that address situations like Kenseth and Logano, as well as a host of other issues.
For example, if one driver makes a premeditated move to eliminate another driver from championship contention in a dangerous manner, the penalty will be a loss of 50-100 driver and team owner points, a fine of $150,000-$200,000 "and/or two-race suspension, indefinite suspension or termination."
By the same token, NASCAR competitors -- drivers, crew chiefs, crew members and others -- can be kicked out of the sport entirely for domestic violence; making racial, religious or sexual slurs; or being charged with "significant criminal violations."
On the "boys have at it" front, shoving another driver or shouting at the driver is worth only a warning, meeting with NASCAR or probation.
Although the Twitterverse predictably blew up when this story was reported, this is a huge step forward for NASCAR, something that should have been done years ago, precisely to avoid situations like last year with Kenseth vs. Logano.
I can totally see Kenseth's point. If no one else ever got suspended, he had no reason to think he would be. That didn't make what he did acceptable, but it certainly made it understandable.
A few years ago, NASCAR instituted a drug-testing policy. Piss in a cup and if you fail the test, you're out of the sport until you can prove you're clean. No one seemed to have a problem with that.
And I have no problem whatsoever with what NASCAR announced Friday night.
Now, the rules are clear: Commit a specific violation and there are specific penalties. That should make everyone's life easier because you know what's allowed, what isn't and what happens when the rules are broken.
As I said the other day about the Charter system, it's about damn time.