The Frontstretch: Voices From the Cheap Seats: A Move Towards The "Kit Car" by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday July 18, 2013

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Voices From the Cheap Seats: A Move Towards The "Kit Car"

Jeff Meyer · Thursday July 18, 2013


We’ve all done it, some more successfully than others, you know… bought something big that required assembly, took it home and attempted to follow the directions. Or do I mean pictures? Whichever route you choose, the end result is the same; you end up more frustrated than a toilet paper supplier to a cheese factory.

NASCAR, in an effort to “bring more clarity to race teams and fans” will soon follow suit as it is announcing changes to its “rulebook” and a few other things, outlined in a big press conference in North Carolina Monday. All expected adjustments should be in place by the start of the 2015 season.

(Courtesy the Associated Press)

NASCAR’s inspection procedure will get a whole new look by 2015 with major changes, announced Monday designed to streamline the process.

NASCAR plans to automate its rule book and revamp its appeals process in a wide-ranging effort to bring more clarity to race teams and fans. The effort started eight months ago and will be an ongoing process to keep up with technology and fan interests, said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations.
That includes converting its rule book from a Word document to computer automated-design drawings that can be easily accessed by race shops to see what’s allowed and what isn’t. Penalties will be specifically spelled out for each type of infraction. Also, when a rule is broken and a team appeals, NASCAR wants more experts on the panel instead of some who might not have as strong a background regarding the infraction.

O’Donnell also discussed innovations geared to the racing fans. He said NASCAR wanted to keep in synch with what people drive on the streets so their experience can match somewhat with their favorite Sprint Cup driver on the track. Another area was shifting more inspection responsibility to NASCAR’s Research & Development operation away from the track, freeing up more time for race teams to practice instead of waiting to have their cars looked at. NASCAR inspectors, who are assigned to individual series, in the future would be trained to handle all events, either in Sprint Cup, Nationwide or Camping World Trucks. There might also be locked-in times for on-track inspections, meaning fans would know when their favorite cars are getting put under the microscope and be on hand to watch. Finally, O’Donnell said NASCAR would also improve information fans can access about pit stops, although he wasn’t yet sure if it would be limited to online access, a component at each track for fans at the stands, or both.

Time to decipher the writing on the wall. First of all, as anyone who works in the real world will tell you, anytime you hear something like “among the changes to be adapted include ending the practice of NASCAR inspectors being assigned to specific series; a reshuffling or reclassification of some responsibilities of personnel is also likely,” from a corporate office, the sweat starts to pour and possible career-changing searches spike by about 100%.

Not only do I predict the number of NASCAR “officials” to be reduced dramatically, I also re-emphasize my long held assertion that, if you didn’t think the “Stock” in National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing stood for the Wall Street kind, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Yes, folks, what we see is the future of the “kit car!” Think about it. If you make the kits for all three series, one NASCAR official fits all. No need to specially train anyone to be “series specific!”

Next, I love the part where their plan “includes converting its rulebook from a Word document to computer automated-design drawings that can be easily accessed by race shops to see what’s allowed and what isn’t!” Sounds like the teams will soon be able to purchase new race cars manufactured by Ikea!

Finally, not only does NASCAR want to “simplify” things by drawing pictures (probably in crayon and autographed by Brian Z. France), they want to stack the deck against a team when they have been deemed to have not properly inserted flap A into slot B, by having more “experts” on the appeals board!

What? Are they going to have an expert on “roundness,” or perhaps a “firmness” expert? Maybe an expert solely on roof flaps! How about a “height” expert? Is that a tall guy or a short guy? At any rate, anytime you add so called experts to anything, you lose all common sense. Every one in the real world knows that!

Hey NASCAR, while you’re at it, why not have Jimmie Johnson re-write (with pictures, of course) the rules dealing with restarts? He is, after all, an expert… just ask him!

Stay off the wall (and whatever it is they’re sniffing in the ivory towers of Daytona!),

Jeff Meyer

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Today on the Frontstretch:
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07/19/2013 06:48 AM

I have an idea that might actually be beneficial to the fans watching. How about they actually paint those infamous ‘timing lines’ we hear so much about on the track and pit road so they are actually visible to the fans and drivers? That way when they tell us ‘so and so was ahead at the timing line’ we can see it for ourselves instead of having it be like the invisible debris?

The Mad Man
07/19/2013 12:46 PM

I see two things happening here. One is what you pointed out about some current officials having to look for new jobs in either the real world or the professional wrestling circuit.

The other is a further dumbing down of NASCAR. I expect the new coloring book edition of the rulebook to be pre-colored by the Brainless One. I also see problems with the coloring book format. There’s the old saying, “A picture’s worth a thousand words”. Just like the current word format that’s being used, the pictures are subject to interpretation. I saw plenty of that during my time in the military. Things that were labeled as “Example” were taken to be gospel or the only procedure that was approved. So you’ll have just as many problems in the coloring book edition as there are now.

While the Cup & NNS kit cars might be the same, there will be some differences with the truck kits because of the body design. Or is the Brainless One trying to fit a round peg in a square hole with a “one size fits all” mentality? Especially when you consider that the manufacturers do change bodylines.

The truck bodylines are being changed in 2014 by at least 2 manufacturers. The Mustang is undergoing changes in 2014 or 2015 making the street version smaller and moving away from the current “retro” style. So will the one-size-fits-all rulebook still work? Only if a sledge hammer is used to drive the round peg into the square hole.

07/21/2013 02:04 PM

Brian’s legacy: more and more empty seats.

The Great Waltripo
07/22/2013 02:11 AM

I thought that when one finds they are stuck at the bottom of a hole they are supposed to stop digging.


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
BSNews! NASCAR CEO Given "Special" Award Amidst Lavish Fanfare
Fan Coun-ci-What? Just What Is It That NASCAR Wants To Study?

Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.