Brett Simala’s worst fear came back to haunt him.
The Pro-Stock Division driver at Cocopah Speedway lost his temper following a crash that involved his car during the Sept. 28 feature event at the track, and it has since been determined that he acted in an unsportsmanlike manner, resulting in Simala forfeiting the 40 points he earned and a $350 fine.
Immediately after the crash, in which Simala’s race car was pinned under the car of Steve Jonas, whose daring maneuver set off the wreck, Simala pounded his fist on the roof of Jonas’ car and then stood on his door sill and jumped on Jonas’ hood while jumping down to the track surface where he paced on the track while the carnage was cleaned up.
A short time later, to the surprise of the fans in the grandstand, Simala emerged from the pit before the race had resumed and went on to get the win.
Afterward in victory lane he related how in the final stages of the race he started to worry about being disqualified for his actions on the track following the wreck.
“It was a pretty hard hit, it was violent,” said Simala at the time. “The guy’s car was on top of my car, basically, and I thought I was done. That’s why I was so upset.
“I know I shouldn’t have done what I did over there … then I started thinking the last couple of laps, ‘What if I get disqualified?’ And I did get a warning.”
Greg Burgess, director of operations at Cocopah Speedway, said Wednesday that after further reviewing Simala’s actions on the track, he was found to be guilty of acting in an unsportsmanlike manner. And Simala was fined and the 40 points he earned with the win were taken away.
The point deduction leaves Simala 26 points out of first place in the race to the 2013 Cocopah Speedway Racing Series championship. Prior to the point deduction, he was the series point leader, with a 14-point advantage over Mike Lerwill, of Lakeside.
With only six races remaining until the season is over, it is highly unlikely that Simala will be able to make up the difference and catch Lerwill.
Simala is fully aware of the situation and the reality that the championship he hoped to win has slipped away.
“I’m not disappointed for myself,” he said Wednesday. “I just feel bad for my crew, family and sponsors who stand behind me.”
After the racing was over on Sept. 28, while parked in victory lane Simala said he had received a warning from Burgess to not act that way again on the track.
But on Monday Simala said he received a text message from Burgess stating he had been docked the points and fined.
Burgess said the decision to penalize Simala was not made sooner “because the depth of Brett’s actions were not fully discussed between officials until post race.”
Specifically, Burgess said Simala’s “pounding on and jumping on a competitor’s car while trying to entice interaction” were reasons for the unsportsmanlike conduct call.
“I am very passionate about racing and every time I show up to the track I take it serious and act in a professional manner,” said Simala. “This was the fourth time in three races (Jonas) has taken me out. Luckily on three of those times I was able to make repairs and finish the night.
“Track officials have done nothing about this. Some of the occurrences where very obvious. On the last time (Sept. 28), I had enough and snapped. I made a mistake. I feel the track made mistakes also. I’m the one that paid for it.”