The fallout from Car and Driver’s April Fool’s day hoax continues. It seems NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France is plum angry at those boys.
According to a story by FOXSports.com’s Lee Spencer, France found the magazine’s decision to publish the article
"very irresponsible" and added that the sanctioning body is still looking at options to remedy the damage.
"We were really very upset about that," France said. "And it may not be over with how we’re going to approach that. That was an outrageous thing that those guys did."
Okay, a few things here: let’s concede that the magazine showed poor judgement, and, further, that it was, in fact, "outrageous" to publish said article. I can even believe NASCAR was "upset." But was Car and Driver "irresponsible?" Unthinking, yes, unfeeling, certainly, but irresponsible? Not a chance — other than a few noses being understandably out of joint, the magazine’s hoax injured no one.
But, even more than that, what, exactly, can the sanctioning body do to "remedy the damage?" Obviously, NASCAR can punish Car and Driver by withholding advertising revenue or by denying credentials to anyone associated with it; either course of action would be an inconvenience, but likely not much more. Of course, if NASCAR is truly bent on revenge, it could perhaps lean on its affiliated partners to withhold advertising dollars and bring the magazine to its knees.
For the sake of argument, let’s say NASCAR embarked on such a course — where’s the upside, other than the potential loss of or damage to another outlet sympathetic to the automotive industry in general and NASCAR by extension? That strikes me as a losing proposition for all concerned.
No, NASCAR should stay above the fray and let this one wither on the vine. Car and Driver has done itself enough damage, and there’s little to be gained from engaging in any further back-and-forth on the matter.