American-Canadian Tour president Tom Curley confirmed with Speed51.com on Monday that Eddie MacDonald, who was originally announced as the winner of Saturday’s Central Asphalt Paving 150 at Riverside Speedway (NH), has been penalized and now scored as the last car on the lead lap due to a post-race technical infraction.
Contrary to other media reports stating that the reason for a penalty was a carburetor infraction, Curley told Speed51.com that MacDonald’s team was penalized for having too many spring rubbers in the right rear of their No. 17.
“Three maximum spring rubbers are allowed,” said Curley. ” They had one extra spring rubber. That’s illegal and in the rule book. He didn’t get disqualified, he got penalized just like we’d penalize someone with a weight infraction or height infraction. It’s not like an illegal motor or shock, for those he’d have been disqualified, fined, and suspended. This was simply a penalty for what was clearly a violation. We had to do what we thought was fair.
“This was black and white. They’re not allowed to do it and they did it whether they did it by mistake or not I have no idea. That’s not our decision to decide whether they did that intentionally or not.”
On Monday, MacDonald told Speed51.com that he didn’t agree with the severeness of the penalty and was disappointed by the decision. He and crew chief Rollie Lachance made their case after the race that the extra spring rubber “wasn’t the difference in them winning the race.”
“I didn’t think it was an infraction worth being penalized a win,” MacDonald said. “I think everyone in the racing world knows that one spring rubber isn’t going to make the difference. I don’t think you can really pick anything up on the track. It’s such a minor adjustments. That is why we were really blown away by the decision. It is what it is. I’m not in a position to hand out penalties, but we’re talking about a $13 part.”
After going over the rule book with ACT officials, MacDonald, who runs a full-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule and select ACT events when his schedule allows him to do so, agreed that his team was in violation of the rule but said that they weren’t aware of the rule change going in.
“It definitely wasn’t something we were trying to sneak by, it was just negligence to look up the latest, up to date rules,” said MacDonald. “We figured everything was pretty much the same as last year. It was just one of those things that slipped by us.”
While discussing MacDonald’s infraction on Monday, Curley compared it to Chase Elliott’s disqualification from the 2013 Snowball Derby for having tungsten in his car. Like Five Flags Speedway technical inspector Ricky Brooks did following the 2013 Snowball Derby, Curley believes it is up to him and the rest of the ACT officials to set a precedent for rules violations in order to promote fair competition.
“It’s like raising kids, said Curley. “If you continuously allow your kids to break the rules you set for them, I don’t care if it’s curfew rules or 8-year-old’s that go down to the river. You tell them you can’t go to the river by yourself and swim, then all of a sudden you figure out they’re down swimming in the river with the next door neighbor. If you don’t do something about that, you’re a fool.
“Is there any harm in them swimming in the river? Probably not. Do they both come home that night? Yup. But what about that one time when one of them doesn’t? That’s your fault, not theirs because you didn’t enforce the rules.”
The spring rubber rule, which was announced earlier this year in bold, red print in the American-Canadian Tour rule book, was made in order to keep costs in line and eliminate the problem the series was experiencing with the way teams used bump stops.
“We put out a rule this year that was very clear and very specific,” said Curley. “We spent a year and half trying to solve the bump stop problem. We specifically stopped them from putting spring rubbers in the right rear this year. Previously, they were loading up with spring rubbers in the right rear using them like jacking bolts.”
Although Curley stands by the decision made on Saturday night in Groveton, New Hampshire, he is disappointed that he had to make this type of decision that impacted someone he considers a good role model for younger teams in the garage area.
“I hate this part of the business,” said Curley. “I like Eddie MacDonald. He’s done a lot for us and has had a good time doing it. He likes racing with us. It’s a great team and their fun to be around. He sets the bar very high and is an example for the young teams.”
As a result of the disqualification, Kyle Welch inherited his first career ACT victory.
Speed51.com will have more on this story later this week.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51 Photo Credit: Speed51.com