NASCAR announced Wednesday that it will stop the practice of 'secret fines' and publicly announce all monetary punishments.
"NASCAR will no longer issue fines that are undisclosed," a NASCAR statement said. "We looked at this issue from every angle and gathered feedback from the industry. While there are always sensitivities related to sponsor relationships and other leagues may continue issuing disclosed and undisclosed fines, NASCAR has decided that all fines moving forward will be made public after the competitor or organization that has been penalized has been informed."
Over the past two seasons, the sanctioning body has issued fines in secrecy on multiple occasions, though it's unknown how many times fines have been handed out discretely and for how long. Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin were the first known drivers to be secretly fined for comments in 2010, and Newman was secretly fined again after an incident with Juan Pablo Montoya at Richmond that led to an alleged physical altercation. Brad Keselowski was also fined for his comments at a fan forum about electronic fuel injection.
We've written at length at how absurd the concept of secret fines is, so this is a common sense move that NASCAR had to make. Fines pertaining to rules violations were publicly announced, so a dichotomy of some fines being public and some fines remaining private created a feeling of distrust, especially among fans. So props to NASCAR for making the right (and only) decision when it comes to fines and preventing us from writing a third column about the ridiculousness of secret fines.