Friday, March 23, 2012

Mike Helton defends NASCAR's appeals process

Per, NASCAR President Mike Helton defended NASCAR’s inspection process Friday and said that the fact that Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Chad Knaus’ $100,000 fine was upheld shows that the sanctioning body is doing its job enforcing rules.

Helton said he did not plan any immediate changes to NASCAR’s inspection process based on the penalties being overturned.

“Some of our penalties were upheld,” Helton said Friday at Auto Club Speedway. “That tells you that the inspection process was correct and there was an issue with the car. The pieces that were not upheld, if there is a way for NASCAR to be more clear, which is what we learn every time we go through the process, whether the penalties are upheld or modified, we learn from the process.

“We should [learn] because we have worked very hard to do this. If we can make it more clear, more understandable, more definitive where it is more difficult to disagree with it, then we will continue to try to do that.”

Helton also defended NASCAR’s choice of Middlebrook, a former longtime General Motors executive and friend of both Helton and team owner Rick Hendrick, to hear the final appeals.

“When we chose John Middlebrook as our chief appellate officer, we chose him based on our experiences with him for several years and his pragmatic approach to business and his relationship with race teams and with NASCAR,” Helton said. “The reasons that we chose the current chief appellate officer haven’t changed. Our opinion and belief in our chief appellate officer hasn’t changed.”