Unfair is the way Dale Jarrett characterized the $5,000 fine levied against his crew chief, Todd Parrott, for an unguarded moment during last Sunday's Winston 500.
Parrott, who was miked, along with Jarrett and the team's spotter, for the television broadcast on ESPN, uttered a profanity during a heated moment.
Jarrett, the Winston Cup points leader, said the team had been told by ESPN that there would be a one-second delay, in case of such slips. He also said the $5,000 penalty was too stiff for such a slip.
"We tried to do something that would enhance the sport," Jarrett said. "We were told one thing by the people that were showing the race that day on TV and that didn't happen.
"It's unfortunate for Todd because, I'll assure you, that wasn't the only profanity that was said that day along pit road. Todd's taken a lot of heat for it and it's not a good thing that that language is used, but I don't think there's anybody around here that hasn't at some point tried to keep that to a minimum."
Jarrett said the profane outburst was heard only on television and not on the team's radio.
He also pointed out that the fine to Parrott was the same as was assessed against Tony Stewart for an incident last month in Martinsville, Va., in which the rookie threw the heat shields from his shoes at the car driven by Kenny Irwin and then reached into the moving car as if to take a swing at Irwin.
"How do you fine him the same amount of money that you fined a guy for trying to crawl into one of the race cars and throwing stuff at that car?" Jarrett asked.
Pit Crew Record
Bobby Labonte added another accomplishment yesterday to his best season as a Winston Cup driver.
Labonte and his crew won the 33rd Rockingham Pit Crew Competition at North Carolina Speedway, completing a four-tire stop, including 22 gallons of gas, in 19.166 seconds with no penalties--a record.
Jeff Gordon's "Rainbow Warriors" set the previous mark of 19.363 seconds in 1994.
Joe Nemechek's No. 42 Chevrolets team was second (19.331) and Bobby Labonte's older brother, Terry, and his No. 5 Chevrolet team placed third (19.552). Bobby Labonte's team took home the $25,000 top prize and $1,000 bonus for breaking the record.
"This award is for the guys. The pit crew does a great job week in and week out," said Labonte, who is second in Winston Cup points. "Our stops on Sunday are just always consistent and they get us out of the pits without losing anything.
"Everybody works hard for this and this is a time for the pit crew to shine. They did it today."
Bobby Labonte's crew chief, Jimmy Makar, said a competition like yesterday's places teams "under the gun."
"This is one day where the pit crew gets all the focus of attention," Makar said. "It's hard to have a perfect pit stop. To me, that's what [this team] does every week on five or six stops. They gain us positions during the race and prevent us from losing positions."
Winston Cup rookie Elliott Sadler turned in the third-fastest time but was penalized five seconds for spilling fuel. Mark Martin posted the slowest time (48.436 seconds) because of 27 seconds in penalties for nine loose lug nuts.
Defending race winner Jeff Gordon, who will start fourth in today's Pop Secret Popcorn 400, has qualified ninth or better 10 consecutive times in Rockingham. Eight of those have been top-fives.
Upcoming event: Pop Secret Popcorn 400, Rockingham, N.C., Today
1. Dale Jarrett: 4,602
2. Bobby Labonte: 4,356
3. Mark Martin: 4,283
4. Jeff Gordon: 4,168
5. Tony Stewart: 4,159
6. Jeff Burton: 4,063
7. Dale Earnhardt: 4,039
8. Rusty Wallace: 3,677
9. Ward Burton: 3,507
10. Mike Skinner: 3,491
1. Jeff Gordon: $5,022,166
2. Jeff Burton: $4,781,951
3. Dale Jarrett: $3,269,914
4. Dale Earnhardt: $2,497,839
5. Bobby Labonte: $2,962,841
6. Mark Martin: $2,410,196
7. Terry Labonte: $2,110,871
8. Tony Stewart: $2,067,811
9. Mike Skinner: $1,994,731
10. Rusty Wallace: $1,950,129
-- Through Winston 500,
Busch Grand National
Upcoming event: Memphis 250, Saturday
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: 4,117
2. Matt Kenseth: 4,036
3. Jeff Green: 3,902
4. Todd Bodine: 3,649
5. Elton Sawyer: 3,484
6. Jeff Purvis: 3,364
7. Jason Keller: 3,328
8. Dave Blaney: 3,231
9. Mike McLaughlin: 3,114
10. Randy LaJoie: 3,106
-- Through Kmart 200, yesterday