Weekly discussion of penalties clouds Chase excitement

I know there is a lot of talk within the garage, as well as by the fans, asking if the post-race penalties are getting out of hand.

I have to be honest, I have very mixed emotions on this. To start with, I am tired of them.

After a race I want to talk about the race, the finish, who had good runs, who struggled, the celebration in Victory Lane or maybe a post-race dust-up with a couple drivers with overheated tempers.

I'm pretty sick of talking about who got penalized or who didn't pass the Laser Inspection Station. Then that leads to talk about what the penalty will be on Wednesday after the race. That's all we are talking about every single week.

I can't honestly sit here and tell you it is anyone in particulars fault. NASCAR is trying their best to keep their arms around this sport and keep the playing field level. They are trying to keep the cost down and keep the competition fair.

On the flip-side of that, they are trying to keep up and keep ahead if possible of some of the smartest minds in all of motorsports. I'm not talking about simply NASCAR; I literally mean some of the smartest minds in all of motorsports.

While I applaud them for trying to govern this sport, what we are seeing raises the question of are they governing this sport too much? I can't say they are but at the same time I can't say they aren't.

My FOX NASCAR buddy Darrell Waltrip is pretty vocal that our sport is being over-officiated. I don't challenge his premise, but I'm not sure I totally agree with it. The good thing NASCAR did last week is there is a little more of a defined line in the sand.

Trust me, what I am about to tell you hasn't changed since my days as a crew chief. What I am about to say hasn't changed since Darrell Waltrip ran his first NASCAR race back in 1972.

If NASCAR gives you one inch, you are going to work your ass off to turn that into an inch and a sixteenth. That's just the way it's been and will continue to be.

I know there are fans at home shaking their head at times saying 'c'mon, you are going to penalize the team and driver for a thousandth of a degree over the line?'

What you don't realize is it's a thousandth of a degree past the pad or tolerance that NASCAR already gives these teams and drivers.

See that's the real rub. When someone gets busted on pit road for speeding and NASCAR says they are one-tenth over the limit, they really mean they were five miles and one-tenth miles per hour over the limit. NASCAR gives all teams a five mile per hour pad when it comes to the pit road speed.

I honestly don't know what the answer is. I do know I am ready for it to go away.

Now in reality it will never, ever go totally away. That is a given. I want the talk on Mondays at the water cooler to be about the race or the exciting finish.

Unfortunately, today the talk is all about what team failed what post-race inspection and what the expected penalty will be.

Again, I don't have the answer. I don't see NASCAR backing off of it. I also don't see teams quit trying to push the envelope. Trust me, that will never happen.