Edwards seeks outside panel for NASCAR appeals

CONCORD, N.C. -- If you ask Carl Edwards, the time has come to implement an outside appeals committee in NASCAR that carries no ties to the sanctioning body.

The National Stock Car Commission, NASCAR's appeals committee, this week upheld the 25-point penalty levied against Edwards' No. 99 Ford team after it failed to meet the minimum height requirement during post race inspection at Dover International Speedway two weeks back.

"I think it'd be best for the integrity of the sport, for fairness all around, if it was more of an unbiased panel," Edwards said Friday at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "But the way it is, it's the same for everybody."

The National Stock Car Commission is comprised of 32 industry personalities, led by Chairman George Silbermann that includes, among others, track owners and executives, former drivers and former team owners. Silbermann and two others hear each appeal.

NASCAR is pleased with its current process, and feels like it has long served them well and will continue to do so. They have no plans to change the process.

Edwards was quick to praise Nextel Cup director John Darby and the hundreds of officials under his command, calling them "as professional as they can be."

But in his estimation, this was not a blatant attempt to skirt the rules and should be judged as such.

"It's just that this is a case where not one person in NASCAR, not one person in the garage, nobody -- not one person -- thinks we had an advantage or meant to cheat," Edwards said.

"So it just doesn't seem right to get a penalty for it. That's the part about it that makes it seem completely silly. It doesn't make any sense.

"Let me put it to you this way -- if we won the championship by 24 points and the guy we beat had that penalty, I wouldn't feel like I was the champion."

To further educate himself on the process, Edwards sat in on the appeal.

"It was good to go through it, I got to see how they do things," he said. "It's nice of those guys to come out and volunteer. I thought it made pretty good sense, our reasoning for appealing.

"But we had the deal in NASCAR's building. It's NASCAR's decision. From their perspective I understand, we were outside the tolerance. I just wish they could look at reason. If you look at it, it's pretty silly."

Marty Smith is a contributor to ESPN's NASCAR coverage. He can be reached at ESPNsider@aol.com.