Mike Harmon Racing Crew Chief Ryan Bell Addresses $50K NASCAR Penalty

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ryan Bell, the crew chief for the No. 74 Mike Harmon Racing machine has allowed us to reprint his response to being hit with a $50,000 penalty by NASCAR for violating the rules on testing during a charity event. Below are his words in their entirety from a social media post provided to Kickin’ the Tires that have been edited for clarity.
Ryan Bell:
*In Response to the almost 100 messages I’ve received responding to the Nascar fine.*
So we are a week away from my NASCAR appeals hearing. Sadly, unlike a lot of crew chiefs and teams at the top of our sport, Mike Harmon Racing and Ryan Bell cannot afford to pay a $50k fine. Although Mike has expressed to me that he would do everything in his power to make that happen, I cannot ask this team to pay that fine. It would destroy this team at this time. So with that being said, I leave you with these words…
I gave up my entire world to be a part of this sport, moved away from friends and family and left a good life behind. So many have made this sacrifice over the years. I felt like I represented another generation taking that step into the unknown. Over the years I’ve worked countless hours, drove across this great country and sacrificed not just my time but my health. I’ve met men and women who have inspired and taught me lessons that I will carry with me until I die. I’ve dined with celebrities, met political leaders and shook hands with so many inspiring people with disabilities or terminal illnesses. They just wanted to be at the racetrack and rub elbows with their heroes. Co-workers have become friends and friends have become family. People I’ve met in the garage became so much more than a fan interaction, they became key players in my life. The sport has given me so much heartbreak, but so many more amazing memories.
In 2017 my health got so bad I tried to take my own life. Yes, I stood on a baseball field that my son played on regularly and held a gun to my head. Luckily that night ended with me in medical care and lead to me meeting a man that saved my life. Along this journey, so many people inside this sport came to my side and are still there to check on me daily. My love for this business almost cost me my life cause I wouldn’t miss work to find out what was wrong with me. Come to find out years of head injuries, a lot sacrificing myself if the pits to get these race machines back out as quick as possible, had now led to permanent bruising to the frontal lobe of my brain. Against the wishes of families and doctors, I kept going.
I’ve missed birthdays, major family surgeries, I stood in the garage at Indy Motor Speedway as they did surgery to remove our dead child from my wife. It was an extremely hard day. I’ve missed family funerals, weddings and major events. I’ve done it all for my love of this sport and this community.
I’ve got to live my dream of becoming a crew chief at the sports highest level, my dad got to watch me live my dream and carry on his legacy. That’s what is important.
If Mike Harmon racing participating in a charity event is what ends my career then so be it. If they want me out of this sport so bad that trying to support Autism, a condition my 7-year-old son has, then I’ll walk away. If this is what our community has come to, that big teams literally try to do everything they can to cheat and get minimal repercussions and they want to destroy a small team because they are embarrassed by us then so be it!
Let’s be honest, the chance of them letting us win this appeal is slim and none. So this is probably it for me. I’ll move on and find another journey. Please know this, I appreciate every single one of you that have reached out. I appreciate all the people who have been a part of this ride. I could go work in another series, in the past when this penalty was handed out they never fined the crew chief directly, so apparently, this is personal, so if that’s what it’s about I’ll be done. That’s my comments. I hope I answered some of your questions.
Love ya all,
Ryan Bell

7 thoughts on “Mike Harmon Racing Crew Chief Ryan Bell Addresses $50K NASCAR Penalty

  1. This is a death sentence for this team. The fine should be in line with the ability to pay. Some of the big teams would have no problem paying this fine. Another NSASCAR joke.

  2. I was at The Rock that Saturday. My son, his two brothers-in-law and another friend were there as well. It was the day after the funeral for my daughter-in-laws’ mother who died unexpectedly from Covid. My son is in the NAVY and had emergency leave from his ship which was halfway around the world.

    We enjoyed the vintage cars and other NASCAR racecars on the track. We even rode the track in one of the guys Silverado 4 door. Mike Harmon Racing was there. They were not testing their cars as the rules for the event was to run but not all-out race the track. Thanks to whoever’s done this to a great group like MHR, you are real heroes. What BS is this fine?

    1. Nascar is now ran by progressive communist. The sport I watched religiously is less than a shadow of what it was. I only hope ratings continue to drop and it will die a painful death

  3. To quote JJ Cale, “money talks, it says strange things, It’s amazing the friends you can buy for small change”. Apparently small change doesn’t buy much in NASCAR. This is a BS deal! If it was one of the big teams they’d be praising them for going out of their way to help out a struggling track.

  4. If this fine stands I’m thinking it will be a good time to forget about Nascar on Sundays and do something more interesting like mowing the yard or taking leaves. One of the stupidest fines ever!!!.

  5. This is not fair in any respect. I am just a fan and a Mike Harmon fan from Michigan. I support all of the comments above.

  6. This is disgraceful on NASCARs behalf. Literally shameful. It’s clear they have it out for MHR, and never mis an opportunity to unfairly punish them for BS reasons. Pathetic if this stands.

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