Saturday, January 20, 2018
Sports

NASCAR fine buries dreams of Long

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Denny Hamlin's recent refusal to pay his $25,000 fine has reawakened the plight of Carl Long, a driver who lacks the financial resources to settle his debt with NASCAR.

Long's career as a Sprint Cup series driver essentially ended when his team was penalized for having an illegal engine at the 2009 All-Star race. Long's crew chief was fined $200,000, an amount he was unable to pay.

Under NASCAR rules, the fine was reverted to the car owner, which was Long's wife, DeeDee. Unable to drive until the fine is paid, Long could still work in the Sprint Cup garage because his wife was technically responsible for settling the debt. But last year, Long said NASCAR transferred the fine to his name, so he was barred from the garage.

"Last year at Daytona, they issued me as the driver the fine, and I couldn't pay $200,000, so I was escorted out of the Cup garage," Long said recently at Bristol Motor Speedway. "NASCAR basically let me know that anybody on the crew roster could be held responsible for the fine, all the way down to the tire guy."

Long, 45, can work in any other NASCAR series, and he's now a jack of all trades for Rick Ware Racing in the Nationwide series. He's also a part-time driver in the No. 2 stock car series and has made 37 starts since the All-Star race incident.

But he said he's clearing just more than $35,000 a year after paying all his expenses, which means he'll likely never be back in a Sprint Cup car.

Hamlin was fined $25,000 last week for criticizing NASCAR's new Gen-6 car and angrily said he'll be suspended before he'll pay. He has since said he won't appeal the fine — but he has no intention of writing a check, and NASCAR has indicated it will garnish the money from Hamlin's winnings.

Long could have gone a similar route, but he wasn't a full-time Cup racer — and it would have taken him years to pay off the $200,000.

"The fact is, regardless, (Hamlin) can pay the $25,000 and keep going," Long said. "It's like us losing $100."

Long remains upbeat and even has a marketing plan he believes could get him back into Sprint Cup someday if he could convince a sponsor his idea is good.

"The first thing that I tell them is look, 'You give me a million and a half dollars, $2 million dollars to run the Nationwide series and run a couple of Cup races, and the first thing we'll do is we'll take $200,000, make a press release, give the NASCAR Foundation a $200,000 check and you'll make all the sports pages across the United States,'" Long said.

Aside from that, Long would do any sort of community service NASCAR asked of him to get back into the Cup garage.

"I'll golf in some charity tournaments, I'll work anywhere they want me to," he laughed. "I just don't know which avenue to take."

Comments
Andrei Vasilevskiy: ‘I have to be better’

Andrei Vasilevskiy: ‘I have to be better’

The rest of the Lightning players had already left the ice Friday afternoon, heading into the dressing room for a quick change before the team's charter flight to Minnesota.But goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, 23, stayed on late, facing about 15 minutes mo...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Sophomore Tulio Da Silva leaves USF basketball team

Sophomore Tulio Da Silva leaves USF basketball team

USF redshirt sophomore F Tulio Da Silva, one of three remaining Bulls scholarship players signed by former coach Orlando Antigua, has left the program in what was described as a mutual decision."I met with Tulio and his family this week to discuss hi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Missing the Olympics a missed opportunity (and misstep) for NHL?

Missing the Olympics a missed opportunity (and misstep) for NHL?

One week from today, Tampa will be the center of the hockey world.The NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. Players will smile for the cameras. They'll put on a fantastic show. Maybe they'll catch a bead or two from a Gasparilla parade.But ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Why free agency hasn’t turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

Why free agency hasn’t turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

RHP Alex Cobb never expected to be going into late January without knowing where he was going for spring training.The longtime Ray's first foray into free agency hasn't gone as planned, much like the 150-plus others waiting for something to give in a...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Fennelly: Lightning needs a reset on the road … pronto

Fennelly: Lightning needs a reset on the road … pronto

TAMPA — Vegas has left the building.Wasn't the Lightning just arranging place settings for next weekend's NHL All-Star Game party?With that in mind, I headed to the home dressing room at Amalie Arena late Thursday after the Lightning was manhan...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/20/18

Saturday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballWomen: La Salle at Rhode Island11 a.m.CBSSNPurdue at IowanoonESPNFlorida State at Virginia TechnoonESPN2; 1010-AMWichita State at HoustonnoonESPNUVillanova at ConnecticutnoonCBSSt. John’s at GeorgetownnoonFS1Ohio State at Minne...
Published: 01/19/18
Golden Knights move within one point of Lightning for top spot in NHL

Golden Knights move within one point of Lightning for top spot in NHL

SUNRISE — Aaron Ekblad scored 40 seconds into overtime to lift the Panthers to a 4-3 victory over the Golden Knights on Friday, spoiling Vegas coach Gerard Gallant’s return to Florida. By gaining a point, Vegas moved within one point of the Lightning...
Published: 01/19/18

Well Humored ready to get back on a dirt track

OLDSMAR — It is time for Well Humored to get dirty again.The WinStar Farm homebred makes her first start on the Tampa Bay Downs main track Saturday afternoon in the $50,000 Wayward Lass, one of three stakes events on the Skyway Festival Day 11-race p...
Published: 01/19/18
Star-struck Kyrgios stays cool on court

Star-struck Kyrgios stays cool on court

MELBOURNE, Australia — With Will Smith in the crowd and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga across the net, Nick Kyrgios was in his element as the main attraction for a night at the Australian Open. Time to put on a show. One of his favorite actors — Smith was making...
Published: 01/19/18

National Hoopfest: Berkeley Prep proves to be no pushover

TAMPA —  Berkeley Prep's four-game win streak came to end Friday.That was expected.The Buccaneers faced West Oaks Academy, an independent powerhouse from Orlando that plays a national schedule, during Friday's National Hoopfest tournament....
Published: 01/19/18