NASCAR has always strove to separate itself from the various forms and classes of motor racing - in a good way, of course - but it also is different from all of the major professional sports in the way it guards the rules of its game.
Strangely, one of the rules of stock car racing's largest sanctioning organization is not to provide a copy of its 172-page rule book to the general public.
A report published by USA Today revealed that NASCAR is the only major sport that does not make its Sprint Cup Series rules and regulations available to the public. As a popular sport that boasts a huge fan base with a wide national following, this appears on the surface to be a very strange operational decision.
According to the author of the report, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League all post their rule books on their websites. NASCAR does not. NASCAR officials say that the rule books for its racing series (Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series) are available to all of its members and are provided every year to representatives of the media.
Other race car organizations do make their competition rules available to the public, but not free. IndyCar sells copies of its rule book for $25, according to the report provided to USA Today. The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) sells its rule book, available on its website, for $10.
Major League Baseball never thought otherwise about making the MLB rules available, according to director of public relations Mike Teevan. "Fans are so passionate, and when things come up, they'll want to know the answers," Teevan said. "We're happy to put the rules out there and let them sort of act as the umpire."
Both the NBA and NHL supplement their online rule books with a video component that shows fans in visual form what are infractions and why. The NFL does something similar on its website, but not in video form. A case book is available to fans, describing various plays and why certain infractions are called.
According to NASCAR, making the rule book available to the public is not something that ‘has been high our priority list," said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition, "because (the media) get them and )the media) can answer the question and write whatever (it) needs to write about (on) the rule book."
For an organization that says it wants to be more transparent about how it operates, this certainly seems like a strange way to walk the talk.
Additional news and information on NASCAR and the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series.