NASCAR finds the right way to mend a wrong decision

jutter@charlotteobserver.comOctober 30, 2013 

  • Next race

    AAA 500

    Where: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas

    When: 3 p.m. Sunday

    TV: ESPN

    Radio: Performance Racing Network

    Last year’s winner: Jimmie Johnson

My two cents

Often times in cases of personal tragedy or misfortune it is hoped something good can come out of something bad.

That appears to be the case with Sprint Cup series crew chief Todd Parrott, who was indefinitely suspended by NASCAR earlier this month for failing a drug test.

Numerous crew members across every NASCAR series who have been suspended attended the sport’s mandatory Road to Recovery program and worked their way back without much fanfare.

But most of the highest profile cases of late – including Cup drivers Jeremy Mayfield and A.J. Allmendinger – have turned into circus-like sideshows as the drivers tried to contest the results.

There have been numerous claims of innocence, court filings and press conferences. And what was the result? One driver – Mayfield – remains suspended to this day while the other – Allmendinger – eventually went through the Road to Recovery program and returned to competition.

I don’t know what Parrott took, how much, when or if he did it one time or 1,000 times. I do know that he took the much easier path – the one that will provide him an opportunity to return to the sport he professes to love far sooner than either Mayfield or Allmendinger.

For that, Parrott should be commended.

In a couple of interviews Parrott did since his suspension, he took full responsibility, didn’t try to hide that he did something wrong and dedicated himself to doing what was necessary to return to racing.

There is no excuse for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy. There is, however, a right way to respond to such an incident and a wrong way.

Parrott deserves credit for choosing the best way.


Austin Dillon: ‘I forgive Kevin’

During an appearance on SiriusXM Satellite Radio on Wednesday, Nationwide Series points leader Austin Dillon said he forgives Kevin Harvick for comments made Saturday about Austin and his younger brother Ty.

After an on-track incident with Ty, Harvick used profanity to describe the brothers, who are the grandsons of team owner Richard Childress. On Sunday, Harvick said he regretted the comments.

“It definitely hurts to hear those things from him. I watched the race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway and I thought it was hard racing,” Austin said. “Things are said in the heat of battle. I’ve learned that it’s better to forgive someone for what they’ve said. I’ve forgiven him already. It’s just tough.”

Charlotte to host WoO World Finals

The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway will host the World of Outlaws World Finals Nov. 7-9. The event will crown champions in the WoO Sprint car series, Late Model Series and the Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds.

Tony Stewart Racing’s Donny Schatz is trying to defend his Sprint car title against points leader Daryn Pittman. Pittman is vying for his first championship, as well as the first for Kasey Kahne Racing.

Josh Richards leads the points in the WoO Late Model Series with last year’s champion, Darrell Lanigan, in second place. Richards is looking for his third title.

Three-day tickets are $79, and tickets for children 13 and younger are $34. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (800) 455-3267.

Kligerman set for Cup debut

Nationwide Series regular Parker Kligerman will make his Cup series debut in Sunday’s race at Texas, driving the No. 30 Toyota for Swan Racing.

“I'm excited. That’s a big deal. That’s the top of the sport,” he said. “It’s what we work our whole lives – any young kid out there that’s starting to race, or is in racing, or is a fan of racing knows that the intention of every one of us is to make it to the top.”

Larson gets another race

Kyle Larson will run another race in the Cup series for Phoenix Racing this weekend, driving the No. 51 Chevrolet. Larson is moving full time to the Cup series in 2014 with Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing.

Stenhouse returns to Nationwide

Two-time Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will make his first start of the season in the series Saturday at Texas, driving the No. 16 for Roush Fenway Racing. Seth Barbour will serve as his crew chief.

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