Have you pulled something out of the refrigerator you thought might have gone bad, but you sniff it and while not smelling fresh you convince yourself it's probably edible?  So, you decide to eat it and don't get food poisoning, but it leaves an after taste you have a hard time washing down?  

Well, that's kind of how I felt when I heard about Joe Gibbs Racing suspending two of Martin Truex, Jr.'s over the wall crewman for three races following a verbal confrontation with the Kyle Busch's crew chief Adam Stevens. This after, Truex lost control and took out Busch, ruining his chance to win the Brickyard 400, which would have ended his long losing drought a week earlier than he actually did.

That's when we find out those guys may work for Furniture Row Racing and Truex, but they're  really employees of JGR and subject to their authority, not FRR owner Barney Visser. Mix in the fact Truex had been the lead dog for Toyota all season, not one of the Gibbs gang, and this might take away some of the 78 team's momentum and next thing you know I'm doing a "smell" test.

First, I thought what's the big deal? It looked like a garden variety argument of which you could understand where both sides are coming from when Stevens walked into Truex's pit.  Apparently, however, there was more to the story.  "I think it's pretty poor reporting by everybody with the TV cameras and such cutting it short," claimed Busch. "Obviously there was some instigation going on. Adam didn't feel that was all that necessary and wanted to make sure that those employees knew that, knowing that they were JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) in-house employees. They wouldn't have done that if they were in-house Furniture Row employees so it was just the nature of what all was going on there and who the people were and who they were associated with."         

Truex, on the other hand, doesn't think his crew guys did anything that warranted a suspension. "I don't think they did. Obviously, you never want to see guys get into a confrontation but I think it shows their passion for what they're doing. It shows their passion for our team."

"It's unfortunate that the mistake I made on the race track kind of caused all this stuff to blow up. I'm proud of our pit crew, proud of what they've done this year and what they continue to do for us. We'll just get through the next couple of weeks the best we can." 

Truex accepted the punishment and didn't seem like he was all that bent out of shape. Neither, it seemed, was anyone else inside his organization.  So, even though there was maybe a little funny odor the fact FRR didn't raise a stink led to me to think it was okay to warm it up in the micro wave.  When it cooled off, though, it wasn't like what I was chewing on was the worst thing I'd ever eaten or it was going to make me throw up, but it just didn't sit well in my stomach.

I recalled why Joe Gibbs decided to start building his own engines. He had been getting them from Rick Hendrick, who took great pains to make sure all the Chevy engines between the two teams were virtually the same horsepower. Gibbs really believed, even though he was having some success racing against Hendrick, he was indeed getting a fair shake when it came to the engines. Still, it nagged at him there could be a time that situation could put JGR at a competitive disadvantage and decided he'd build his own.

Is that not the same place we are with Truex's pit crew? They're paid for by Furniture Row Racing (maybe Toyota), but actually employed by Gibbs. It's the best pit crew Truex has ever had, and they're 100 percent behind the New Jersey driver.  Yet, what control over them does Visser and Truex truly have? Does it now nag at them if something happened during the Playoff Gibbs could suspend members of their crew putting them at a competitive handicap?  What if (heaven forbid) the championship came down to a final pit stop at Homestead between Truex and one of the Gibbs cars and it all goes horribly wrong for the 78?

At that point, somebody might jump and question if someone "threw the game" because they wanted to make sure they kept getting a check from JGR. You'd like to think (and I truly want to believe) the answer would be absolutely not, yet this is one of the things this situation opens itself up to.  I know this sounds a little farfetched, but how many times have you said something will never happen….and it did.

Gibbs is a high integrity guy, so it Visser and so are their organizations.  Also let it be said, I don't really know what's in the agreement between the two teams and any safeguards that may be in place. Like Hendrick with the motors, I'm sure Gibbs has instructed his pit crew people to help build Truex the best group of guys they can and it looks like they have.

Who cares if every last one of them trains in the same gym with the same coaches, but wouldn't it be a little bit better for the sport if each team employed their own pit crew?  Rewarded and disciplined them on their terms not someone else's? I think so, but, then again, as my grandmother used to tell me - even if you don't like the way it smells, the food can still be good so stop holding your nose and "Mangia!".