The Frontstretch: Voices From The Cheap Seats: "Francespeak" Found To Be Highly Contagious! by Jeff Meyer -- Friday October 11, 2013

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We all know that listening to NASCAR CEO, Brian France, talk in public is like… well, like talking to someone who has (insert cell phone provider of your choice here). You get bits and pieces but when its all said and done you don’t have a clue as to what the hell he was talking about. Unfortunately, the condition appears to be contagious as I shall soon illustrate.

Enjoy this bit from MWR co-owner (the money behind Mikey), Rob Kauffman, as he clearly (BS cough!) explains MWR’s “reorganizational plan.”

So Martin Truex hasn’t been released, he’s just been told to explore his options? Clears things right up!

“We’re working on an announcement,” Kauffman said. “I think it’s been a week since we last spoke, so we’re trying to get it all together. But we have a couple of good options. I think rather than use the word ‘release,’ I’d prefer to say allow guys to explore all their options, just as we’re exploring all of our options. Is that exactly negative? I think it’s the right thing to allow people to investigate all their options. A lot of these contracts have provisions that say “you can’t speak to anyone.” So, technically, it’s a release, but it’s really more correct saying, “Look, there’s a challenge here. We want you to investigate all your options. Of course, we’re one and let’s stay in close communication.” I don’t think there’s anything negative around it at all. It’s just letting people figure it out.”

Now that’s what I call leadership! (wrote the author in a way that even Dr. Sheldon Cooper could recognize as sarcasm!)

And how about this little news bit, explaining just exactly what NASCAR means when they say they expect 100% effort from the drivers when asked for a clarification by Brad Keselowski at last Sunday’s driver’s meeting.

“It’s still on us to decide whether it’s aggressive, hard, NASCAR-type racing,” NASCAR president Mike Helton told Keselowski, “and when that racing turns out to be something other than that. That’s a subjective call, but NASCAR-style racing is expected to be close, aggressive and hard. It is possible to cross that line, and if that happens, we will step into it. It’s a subjective line for us to decide when it happens, what the difference is between NASCAR-style racing and something that’s intentional.”

Say what? Now I’m not trying to be mean here, but Keselowski is not…how can I say this with at least a smidgeon of couth…not one that can afford to have a stupid look on his face but man, what I wouldn’t give to have a picture of him as he sat there and tried to ascertain Helton’s answer to his question!

Stepping back in time a bit to the epically rain delayed Chicago race on September 15th, do you remember what the public was told as to why NASCAR did not employ it’s new, sport saving Air Titan track drying system? Well let me refresh your memory, not because I think you are addle brained and can’t remember, but because I’ve got plenty of article content yet to produce!

Why no Air Titan at Chicago? Where was Air Titan, the new-fangled drying system that has been proven to remove moisture from tracks as much as 80% faster than the antiquated method of using jet dryers to blow hot air? Back in Concord, N.C. On a day that the diesel-powered air-compression contraption could have served as savior by ensuring an official finish at a reasonable hour in one of the sport’s biggest races. The race was stopped 25 laps – or roughly 15 minutes – short of the halfway point that makes it official. It started one hour and 20 minutes late. It took two hours to dry the 1.5-mile oval (the race was red-flagged for five hours and 10 minutes). Air Titan surely would have cut at least 15 minutes and given NASCAR a chance to declare a winner.
The worst part? Anyone could have seen this coming. Despite being touted as a miracle-working game-changer since the preseason, Air Titan has become NASCAR’s No. 1 political football this season as tracks have blanched at a varying cost that sometimes exceeds $100,000.

The absence of the Air Titan was especially conspicuous considering the smaller version of the system (used for track prep to clean the surface for a race weekend) was on property last Thursday. As of Sunday, NASCAR said Air Titan had been returned to its garage. A person who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to disclose the information said the track didn’t include Air Titan in its budget.

Track president Scott Paddock called Air Titan “an exciting, emerging technology” but also “a work in progress” that the track elected not to use this year. “It has the potential to be a great advancement for our sport,” Paddock told USA TODAY Sports. “I think it could have been an option to have it. I think it’s a work in progress. We actually brought in a higher complement of jet dryers. We stuck with the known commodity. The pricetag for having Air Titan at Chicagoland? Apparently $50,000. Who has that kind of money lying around in a sport that has announced $8.2 billion in long-term TV contracts over the past year?

Cut to the present, less than one month later…

Air Titan put to use at Kansas Speedway: NASCAR made good use of its new Air Titan track-drying equipment at Kansas Speedway. Besides drying the Kansas Speedway track in about an hour’s time after Thursday morning’s rain, the Air Titan, an advanced track drying system unveiled at this year’s Daytona 500, was used on Wednesday to clean the track. ”One of the things we’re testing is cleaning the race track before we get to them”, Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president for competition said after Thursday’s Goodyear tire test. “The Air Titan gets the sand, the silt, the dirt and grime and we did it at Chicago, at Richmond. The grip level was pretty good, and it’s an opportunity for the track to take on the natural rubber of the tires.” Pemberton said NASCAR brought the Air Titan to Kansas Speedway last July before four Sprint Cup drivers tested the new tire. “We were surprised after two prep sessions the amount of stuff that naturally comes out of the track,” Pemberton said. “It’s another advantage of having that piece of equipment available to us. We may continue to do it next year, too.”

Whoa! Back the Air Titan up!

Are we to believe that there are two versions of the Air Titan as the first release attests? Why? If the miracle truck that cleaned the track on Wednesday at Kansas was also used on Thursday to dry the track, why could not the ‘smaller version’ at Chicago have done the same thing?

Both tracks are owned by NASCAR’s conjoined twin, ISC. Both tracks opened in 2001. Both tracks have similar banking. Both tracks are…oh wait…Chicago is listed as a 1.5 mile ‘tri-oval’ while Kansas is a 1.5 mile ‘quad-oval’. Yeah, that must be the reason! Guess they haven’t worked out the bugs when running on a tri-oval yet.

Still doesn’t explain why NASCAR/ISC ain’t footing the bill to use it at every opportunity. Perhaps I’ll ask Brian the next time I see him.

That will surely clear things up!

Stay off the wall, (and off the cell provider of your choice inserted here!)

Jeff Meyer

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Today on the Frontstretch:
NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment
Truckin’ Thursdays: Top Five All-Time Truck Series Drivers
Going By the Numbers: A Week Without Racing Can Bring Relief But Kill Momentum


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10/11/2013 03:14 AM

its a guys gotta keep calling these jokers out..their game stinks!

10/11/2013 08:09 AM

Maybe the wife got the Air Titan in the divorce? She needs it to air out all the Brian France BS from the house.

10/11/2013 09:03 AM

Looks like the tracks are waiting out NASCAR to reduce or eliminate the fee for Air Titan.

Interesting use to clean the track.

10/11/2013 10:49 AM

This might be a stretch, but I believe that the Emperor Brian is a minority stock holder in ISC, something on the order of 5-ish percent. It might be that it’s a family spat where the other majority stock holders, and we all know who they are, don’t think they should be the ones paying for it.

10/11/2013 11:07 AM

Let me see if I understand: Nascar/ISC owns the Air Titan – but the excuse, used by the tracks owned by Nascar/ISC, for not using it is the rental fee is too high? Sure, makes perfect sense.

Michael in SoCal
10/11/2013 12:37 PM

Half the tracks are owned by Nascar (ISC tracks) – and they’re playing a shell game with the money for the Air Titan system and screwing the fans in the process.


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.