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Adams: Through the Viewfinder


I don’t know what the problem with the inspection process is. Is it the teams pushing every aspect of the car to gain an advantage, or is NASCAR having problems with the measurements being the same at every track? I beleive it’s the teams trying to get every last 10,000th of an inch they are allowed. We all remember how Smokey Yunick pushed that grey area. Oh, you’re probably younger than me, but…before all the templates and measurements, he essentially built a 7/8ths scale car and it ran much faster than anyone else. Thus templates were born. He also used other tricks and exploited every loop hole he could find.

My solution isn’t to reward the teams that can’t pass inspection with getting to start the race on sticker tires with no laps on them. Let’s make them start on a set of tires they practiced on. After the last practice session, NASCAR rounds up the last set of tires a team uses, and if they don’t make it through tech, they get that set to start on. Maybe that will clear up the tech problems. Deal with punctures to the tires during qualifying the same way.

If a car doesn’t clear inspection, we’ve shown that 15 or so minutes less practice, or no pit selection, or starting at the rear of the lineup, doesn’t work. So we have to be really serious here. No practice next week. That’s the solution, to me. First time the driver gets on the track is for qualifying. You think the crew chiefs or drivers will like that? If the whole team is at fault penalize all of them.

NASCAR put in group qualifying to spice up the time trial sessions. The drivers and teams have figured out how to circumvent the area of having four, five, or six cars on the track at one time going balls to the wall for that top position.

In my mind there are two ways to bring the urgency back to this part of race weekend. First we have to take time off each stage of qualifying. Instead of 25 minutes for the first group of qualifying for all cars (yes trucks, too), lets reduce that to 15 minutes. That certainly will make getting on the track a pressing matter, and should make it more busy, so that excitement ramps up. Stage 2 for the fastest 24 should can stay at 8-10 minutes, and the last stage should only be three minutes.

That makes the whole process run less than 45 minutes with breaks in between the sessions.

Also, we have all seen those guys sit in the cooling area only to realize they are too slow to advance, then go out and make a banzai lap trying to advance. Unfortunately there are not many that go that much quicker, but they can come back in and keep that spot from the first lap of qualifying.

Let’s add this element. You go out the second time to advance your starting spot, you have to give up your time that got you in the line up to begin with. Say if driver X goes out in the first session and clocked at 26th and won’t advance to the second stanza, when driver X crosses the line at the end of pit road, to go a second time, his time is erased. If he goes slower he has to slot in where ever his time puts him. If he goes faster he advances. Say he slows down and goes only fast enough to time in at 30th, that’s where he goes. He gets to move up on the grid if he’s faster than the previous time, if he goes slower, he moves toward the rear

That puts some consequences if your driver just goes and doesn’t know if he’s faster or not.

Now let’s address the rest of the weekend.

We have got to figure out what to do between segments of the race. Yes, we brought excitement to the first portion of the race. Lets reward the TV fans and the folks in the grandstands with 8-10 laps of caution. Yes, it’s a good time to make a potty run, but it seems like an eternity at the track. Should laps between the stages not count? Or should the event be red flagged. I say red flagged. The engine tuners make the engines to run a set amount of miles each weekend. Let’s not run 16-30 laps that don’t count and make the tuners have heart burn all that time.  With a red flag during stage breaks, anything goes. If the team wants to change springs, go for it. Want to put in a new battery, here’s a time to do that. Whatever they want to do in between. Line up on pit lane, the pace car brings them around, drops onto pit road and the green comes back out. TV can run back to back to back to back commercials, and you still get that potty break.

Another things that irks me is the phrase “encumbered finishing position”. According to the Miriam Webster dictionary, encumbered is defined as 1 : weigh down, burden 2 : to impede or hamper the function or activity of, or  3 : to burden with a legal claim.

My guess is that NASCAR was aiming for number 2. However my gripe is, if you cheat, or the car is out of spec, you do not win. Even encumbered. I know the idea is to have fans leave the track or telecast knowing who won. That is outdated. With the rise of social media, at least the majority of fans will know that driver Y didn’t win, and that the second place car did take the victory. It might also get NASCAR back on news programs with that kind of breaking news.

If you insist on encumbered wins, lets also take the money  that teams get for winning, and give them last place money. Just a thought.

Now let’s address ‘overtime’.  Since when does a race, any race end at a random spot on the back straightaway, where most tracks no longer have grandstands? Was this a driver driven rule, or a car owner rule? No, no, no you can’t do that.  The rule goes something like this, if a race is in overtime, past the advertised distance, once the race restarts when the leader passes a predetermined overtime line, if a crash happens the race is basically over.

I don’t know about you, but all my life the start finish line is where the race ends, it’s been that way for decades.

Only the NCAA uses the one and done rule for its’ tournaments. Collegiate rules, and these drivers are supposed to be professionals. Let’s go back to having three attempts to finish the race under green flag conditions. Three tries…green, white, checkered. If some of the worlds’ best drivers can’t finish under green then, at least we had multiple tries.

These are just a few things that I think would make the weekend more exciting for the both TV and onsite fans.

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About Boyd Adams

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