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Outspoken Smith holds court at Lowe's

Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith took issue with NASCAR on several fronts during a wide-ranging question-and-answer session Saturday at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

In addition to suggesting that the sanctioning body should do something with the new racecar that would give crew chiefs more creative leeway, Smith called on NASCAR to disclose the substance for which owner/driver Jeremy Mayfield was suspended after failing a drug test May 1 at Richmond.

"NASCAR, in my opinion, should come forth and say what the substance is," Smith said.

The outspoken Smith also decried the severity of the penalty NASCAR levied on Carl Long, after inspectors found that the engine in the Dodge that Long brought to LMS for last week's Sprint All-Star Race exceeded the displacement limit of 358 cubic inches.

"The fine is ridiculous," Smith said. "Why would you fine this man $200,000 for an engine that's a little bit over (Long said the engine measured 358.17 cubic inches). I don't know Carl Long, but there's an injustice done there. It's cruel, I think to try and ruin this man. I think you can prove your point in a better way than that."

Long has appealed the fine to his crew chief Charles Swing, as well as the driver- and owner-point penalties (200 each) and 12-race suspension that applies to him, his wife Danielle (the car owner of record) and Swing. NASCAR took the engine to its research-and-development centre after Long opted to replace it before the Sprint Showdown, a qualifying event for the All-Star Race.

Smith said he favours double-file restarts, the likes of which helped produce scintillating racing in the All-Star event. "Absolutely for it - one thousand per cent, should be done," he said.

Smith also used the forum to urge the former owners of Kentucky Speedway to drop the appeal of an antitrust case against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., which alleges that NASCAR and ISC conspired to deprive the speedway of a Sprint Cup date.

Until the case is resolved, Smith won't be able to proceed with his desired transfer of a Sprint Cup date from one of his other properties to Kentucky. The continued refusal of the former owners to drop the appeal makes it increasingly unlikely that Kentucky will get a Cup date for the 2010 season.

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News


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Dale E - Unregistered

May 24, 2009 5:21 PM

Bruton should start his own NASCAR, re-open the tracks at Rockingham, Wilkesboro, and use his current facilities to return racing to its glory days and rid fans of Brian France, Mike Helton and Jim Hunter among others.

Nick - Unregistered

May 25, 2009 12:05 AM

:? The idea of imposing a $200,000 fine on a struggling racer like Carl Long for a piddling little unintentional infraction like that is absurd! But then ... so is most of upper-level Nascar!



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