Sometimes you wonder just who's driving the bus in NASCAR, or if anyone is, or, if someone is driving, if they ever consult a GPS.
A sport struggling to regain its footing, and stung by all those empty seats on national TV last weekend at the Brickyard, has kicked itself in the shin again. I don't know what route will take NASCAR back to the glory days, but muzzling the drivers isn't it.
Ms. Spencer, see, hits it right on the head: You can't tell the boys to "have at it" in order to re-inject some of the color the sport has lost since it went mainstream, and then tell them they can't criticize the sport when it has it coming. That just undoes everything you're trying to accomplish.
NASCAR's gotten bland and corporate enough without secretly fining drivers for saying anything provocative. Then they really do become the colorless ain't-we-got-a-wunnerful-sport automatons that chased away so many former fans.
I don't know what, exactly, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman got slapped down for saying. But I can guess, and my guess is Newman got tagged for his "manslaughter" quote about Carl Edwards' recent on-track antics.
It was, frankly, far and away the best sound bite of last weekend, an honest and un-vetted assessment of the situation. If it indeed was what Newman got smacked for, that's a shame. Because it's exactly that sort of candor the sport could use right now -- particularly now that Tony Stewart, formerly the best quote in NASCAR, has gone all company line since he became an owner.
If deviating from that company line is now going to get guys fined ... well, I've got news for NASCAR: The company line will lead to the end of the line.