Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday July 31, 2008
(BSNEWS – Indianapolis) — Last Sunday’s Allstate 400, presented by NASCAR and Goodyear at the fabled “Brickyard…”
And now, back to our regularly scheduled column…
In all seriousness, the big news this week was, as so aptly covered by the BSNEWS team, the fiasco that was Indianapolis. But since it is now so late in the week, and you are probably sick of hearing about it, all I am going to do is throw in a couple of observations — and maybe make fun of a few Goodyear quotes.
First of all, there was no need for NASCAR to keep using the competition caution throughout the whole race.
Many, including NASCAR, have said it was necessary for the safety of the drivers, but that is just plain horse muffins! After the third or fourth one, NASCAR knew, the teams knew, Goodyear knew, and even the fans knew that the situation was not going to improve. The situation was what it was, and that was that. Why keep throwing competition yellows?
“Someone might crash and get hurt!” you say. Well yeah, that could happen. That could happen every race. My point is, as a driver and a crew chief, they knew the tires had maybe 15 laps at best in them. If that is a given, you know that you have to come in and change tires at that point, or risk having a wrecked race car. And as far as I can tell, wrecked race cars seldom win a race … most teams have figured that out by now.
Yes, someone may have tried to push the envelope and have gone one lap too many, but tell me: what difference does it make if you know your tires will last 15 laps or 50 before they are worn out? Teams know if they are running on borrowed laps or not … they did not need NASCAR to tell them. By their logic, the sport should then throw the competition yellow, at every race, at the end of every “tire run” — regardless of whether the tires will last 10 laps or 100.
If the teams are too stupid to know when to change tires, NASCAR needs to err on the side of safety every time. So no, those competition yellows weren’t needed, and NASCAR simply dropped the ball big time. It was almost as if you could see the officials in the tower, scratching their butts wondering what they should do while waiting for a phone call from Brian to ask him — during his weekly call to see what the final “take” at the gate was, of course.
But had NASCAR just told the teams after the 4th caution, ‘Hey, tires last only about 10 laps!,’ then at least it could have been an exciting race as different teams used different short pit strategies. Had that been done, it could have been one of the best races of the year.
But it didn’t happen … and that wasn’t very smart. As for Goodyear, their spokesman, Greg Stucker, pretty well summed up the intelligence level in that company after the race.
“This was the same compound we raced last year, and the wear improved over the course of the day last year to the point where we could run the full stops,” Stucker said once the debacle was finally over. “That didn’t happen today, so we need to understand why. We’re going to do our best to try to turn it around, we’re going to talk with the race track, figure out what can we do about the race track, try to understand a little bit more, try to work with NASCAR, and try to figure out what to expect from the car and the teams.”
So, Goodyear is going to figure out what to do about the race track? Figure out what to expect from the car and the teams?
Hey Goodyear, here is a hint: Try figuring out what to do about your crappy tires! You can’t change the race track. You don’t build a track to fit the tire, you blithering idiots!
As for the car and the teams, well, the car weighs x amount of pounds, has a certain center of gravity, and has a certain amount of sway or travel. Those are givens, and have been givens since the new car came out! The whole point of the new car was to make it almost non-adjustable by the teams. And those teams — while I admit I could be way off base here — are maybe, maybe expecting a tire that will last more than five laps. Just a guess.
“We’re the tire supplier, we take it onto our shoulders, we’ve got to improve it, but … it’s the package, so we need to understand the whole thing together and try to make it better,” said Stucker.
Hey Goodyear… it’s round, it’s rubber, it’s been around for awhile. It’s called a wheel thingy. Look it up!
Stay off the wall, (run Hoosiers)
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