The Orange County Register weighs in on the AMA and NASCAR

March 1, 2006 11:01am | by:

The following article appeared in today's Orange County Register:

NASCAR should take cue from AMA's book
The Orange County Register

NASCAR should take a look at how the AMA penalizes its rule breakers, and then maybe cheating would no longer be an issue in stock car racing.

What the AMA does almost doesn't seem fair.

Ricky Carmichael lost 25 championship points Friday because a sample of the fuel taken from his Suzuki - after finishing second at Qualcomm Stadium on Feb.11 - was found to be illegal.

A rider scores 25 points when he wins a race, so, in this case, AMA officials actually took away three more points than Carmichael earned for being the runner-up to James Stewart on that night.

Let's compare that with stock car racing. When drivers are caught trying to bend the rules in NASCAR, they lose 25 points, too. But keep in mind, winning a race is worth 185 points.

On NASCAR's scale, Carmichael would have lost only three points, or 13 percent of what can be earned in a Supercross race for finishing first.

Think Chad Knaus, Jimmie Johnson's cheating crew chief, would think twice about bending the rules if his driver lost 190 points every time he was caught trying to sneak one past the Nextel Cup officials? Probably not.

Fuel samples were taken from the bikes ridden by Mike Alessi, Grant Langston, Jeremy McGrath, Nathan Ramsey, Chad Reed, Andrew Short and Stewart.

Suzuki officials issued a statement saying that the fuel used by the Supercross team in San Diego was supplied by a third-party vendor. According to the statement, the fuel was not tested by the team's technicians before the race, but Carmichael had used the same fuel before and it never was found in violation of fuel rules.

AMA Pro Racing has required the use of unleaded fuel in the AMA Supercross Series and Motocross Series since 2004.

Carmichael's fuel contained about one-hundredth of a gram of lead. One-hundredth of a gram?

The way the rulebook is worded, this type of a violation can be appealed if the team independently tests the fuel. However, AMA officials have told Carmichael's team that the decision can't be overturned.

Reed and Stewart both have been nailed for using illegal fuel in the past and neither one appealed. Therefore, AMA officials are saying that they have precedent on their side. However, both Reed and Stewart were riding two-strokes and leaded fuel helps the detonation of a two-stroke bike.

Carmichael rides a four-stroke RM-Z450, and leaded fuel doesn't do a thing to make his bike go faster.

The illegal fuel obviously wasn't a big help in San Diego. Remember, Carmichael finished second.

Even though Carmichael is the best rider to ever get on a dirt bike, the 25-point penalty has ended any chance he has at winning the championship in the AMA's premier Supercross class for the fifth time.

After winning at the Georgia Dome this past Saturday night, he trails Reed by 31 points with eight races left. Stewart is in second, 19 points behind.

"It's a shame. Unless a miracle happens, I'm just out here racing to race," Carmichael said.


Chad Norris, the crew chief of the No. 17 Ford driven by Matt Kenseth in the Busch Series, was fined $10,000 for using unapproved rear jacking bolts that had an incorrect thread count during the Stater Bros. 300 this past Saturday at California Speedway.

The infraction was discovered on the opening day of inspection.

Kenseth and car owner Jack Roush were each stripped of 25 points.