The Final Word – As Talladega looms, let us chat about cheating, groin kicks, and naked athletes

Richmond is in the rearview after providing, for me at least, a surprisingly entertaining contest. Next on the calender is Talladega, where one would think only rain might prevent the good times from continuing to roll this weekend. As we head to the big track there are a few big stories vying for our attention.

Big penalties have been handed out, and about the time you are reading this the appeals court will have ruled on a couple of them. Will Penske’s boys get their 25 point deductions back? This is their judgement day. Next week, it is Judge Wopner time for Team Gibbs as they hope to reduce the 50 point levy against Matt Kenseth, the fines and especially the suspension for Coach Gibbs himself. If they are not, then Gibbs will not win the car owner’s crown this season no matter what his driver does. As for being blameless for that underweight engine part that came from Toyota, that team received a manifest that indicated a problem if only someone had noticed it. That puts the problem back in the team’s court. Maybe a fine might be reduced, maybe a suspension might be shortened, but those points, me thinks, are gone.

As for Penske and the problems with the rear end housing, some blame Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus, or somebody from that team for blowing the whistle that affected both Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano. Personally, to paraphrase Rhett Butler, quite frankly I don’t give a damn. If you are cheating and get caught, no matter how, then pay the piper. Richard Petty says that back in the day, you did not turn in a cheater but instead emulated him. That might have been one hell of a plan back in 1973 when getting caught meant a slap on the wrist. Today, the wrist isn’t the part of the anatomy that gets slapped, and none too gingerly. You don’t turn a blind eye to someone doing something wrong that winds up hurting yourself. To do otherwise would be just plain stupid.

Back in the day things were not all that different. Some bent the rules, if not outright broke them. There are some who believe the King won his 200th race in a car not exactly kosher, either. Now, if one could be pretty sure of getting away with it, it might be an idea to follow suit. Too bad that the odds of getting away with it today are a tad longer. After last Friday’s Nationwide race, Nelson Piquet Jr attempted to put the boot to Brian Scott’s tender bits. Not cool, yet after the 1979 Daytona 500 Bobby had Cale Yarborough’s foot in hand to thwart what may well have been an attempted blow to his Allisons. No, not much seems to have changed over the decades.

Yet, things do change. Recently, former NHL coach and television personality Don Cherry caused some to get their knickers in a knot by saying female reporters should not found in men’s locker rooms. It has nothing to do with equality and all about being naked in front of those of the opposite sex. This week, NBA veteran Chris Collins came out as the first active player to admit to being homosexual. For me, the only issue here would be to those who find themselves naked in front of a team mate who might be attracted to them. Regardless as to your views on either issue, neither should affect NASCAR except by way of prejudice. No locker rooms, no nakedness, no problem. Just drive, fix, or service the damn car. Do that and who interviews you or who you date just don’t matter.

In the meantime, take the time to get your snacks together and shut off the phone. Talladega is this Sunday. Enjoy the week.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Get 2 FREE stocks valued between $2.50-$1,400 when you open and fund a Webull brokerage account.

Ron Thornton
A former radio and television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, Little League baseball coach, Ron Thornton has been following NASCAR on this site since 2004. While his focus may have changed over recent years, he continues to make periodic appearances only when he has something to say. That makes him a rather unique journalist.

More articles


  1. You have a short memory. Did Jimmie have Chad at Daytona the year he won? Don’t make up stories when they aren’t true.

  2. You are only cheating when there is actually a rule against what you have been accused of. I saw the interview with NASCAR’s director of competition when he said to the press”There isn’t an actual rule in this instance but they were told not to touch this area.” How do penalizes someone for something that isn’t against any rule? Make one up. That’s their answer. Funny, Jimmy Johnson and Chad Knaus have gotten awat with this for years. Guess it only works for the elite few!

Leave a Reply to Rosanne Anderson Cancel reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

American Muscle

Latest articles