When Travis Kvapil is making NASCAR headlines, something either really amazing or really bad has taken place.
Kvapil’s alleged conduct involving his wife and an assault arrest makes drama on the track look trivial. The decision to let Kvapil race Saturday in Charlotte also bring NASCAR’s Road To Recovery program into the spotlight. Here are three things to know which might explain what happens when your favorite gets into trouble.
1. NASCAR is on murky turf with Kvapil
Have fun reading the laundry list of reasons why NASCAR can essentially test anyone at anytime. None of it relates the domestic situations. All NASCAR can do under terms of Road To Recovery is test Kvapil every 15 seconds if it wants.
There is a Code of Conduct NASCAR has which conveniently affords itself the capacity to punish drivers for “conduct detrimental to stock car racing.” Nelson Piquet Jr. got busted earlier this year for using some poor language. That was just a fine.
So what does this all mean?
2. NASCAR can do whatever it wants.
Unlike other sports, there is no collective bargaining agreement. When AJ Allmendinger got suspended, NASCAR took pride in writing about a customized program. There are no specific criteria to evaluate when to suspend, how long to suspend and what needs to be done to get reinstated. For Allmendinger, it was weeks. For Jeremy Mayfield, it was never. Legal precedence for Kvapil simply doesn’t exist or apply in this circumstance.
3. Teams have power as well.
Michael Waltrip Racing fired a crew memeber on Clint Bowyer’s team for failing a drug test. NASCAR reinstated that crew member to the sport; MWR didn’t rescind its decision. Roger Penske stuck with Allmendinger but hasn’t stuck him in a full-time ride. Remember the statement about Kvapil racing Saturday night didn’t come from NASCAR; it came from BK Racing.
If NASCAR wanted to act, it could have. BK Racing could have moved on this as well. As a result, Travis Kvapil will get a fair amount of attention Saturday night, maybe just not the kind for which he and his sponsors were hoping.