John Potts · Thursday March 10, 2011
Let’s get right into the Q&A this week…
I was watching (a SPEED Top 10) segment about Dale Earnhardt getting back in his crashed car at Daytona and was thinking there was someone else who did something like that a few years before. Am I right?” — George (Lawrence, Kansas)
Well, George, as it happens, you are right, at least in my memory. It was similar, but the driver never got out of the car. Davey Allison was involved in an incident coming out of the second turn early in the 1989 Daytona 500, and rolled the car in the infield, ending up against the dirt bank bordering Lake Lloyd. As luck would have it, I was in the grandstand, and had my scanner set to Davey’s frequency. He told Robert Yates, “It ain’t hurt bad, I only turned it over once.” He then added, with quite a few expletives, that Robert had best try to keep him away from Geoff Bodine when the race was over. He brought that Thunderbird in and they patched it back up. Davey ultimately finished 25th, seven laps down.
I got more than a few questions this week about the “altercation” between Robby Gordon and Kevin Conway in the garage at Las Vegas which resulted in Robby being placed on probation until the end of 2011. Reading the Frontstretch.com Newsletter and checking the Web site closely could have answered this one for you folks to a large degree. Mostly, Robby is unhappy that, according to him, Conway still owes him “thousands” from his deal when he drove for Robby last year and supposedly brought the ExtenZe sponsorship with him. Robby has sued Conway and Extenze for $690,000 in a California court in that matter. Conversely, Conway has sued Gordon in North Carolina for $27,000 he earned with the Rookie of the Year title.
My Frontstretch.com colleague Nick Bromberg has sagely pointed out that Robbie broke the first commandment of taking on a ride buyer — wait for the check to clear. This isn’t unprecedented for Conway. Front Row Motorsports let Conway go for what was said to be the same reason. Robbie says there were no punches thrown, and insists that Conway “willingly” engaged the scuffle. Have at it, boys.
I have noticed that NASCAR race cars are carrying fewer contingency stickers behind the front tires. Are there fewer programs, or are the teams not participating as in the past years? I remember that Penske never carried many in order to have a ‘cleaner’ looking paint scheme. Both the Nationwide cars and Sprint Cup cars have a different look this year. — Jonathan (Naples, FL)
Jonathan, I can’t see any reason why a team wouldn’t participate in the contingency programs, unless they have a “deal” with a company in competition with those in the program. In other words, if you have to use a certain product in order to get the contingency money, and you are getting money from a competitor to use their product, you wouldn’t carry that decal.
Personally, I think it’s a sign of the economy. There are probably fewer companies posting contingency awards right now. Also, NASCAR likely doesn’t want to talk much about that. I think you probably have to do more than just post awards for the competitors. There’s probably a payment to NASCAR involved as well. As the economy improves (hopefully) this situation will also. Ask any short track operator, the sponsorship market is tough right now on all levels.
Brian Newton, who I’m assuming is from the Louisville area, wants to know who was or is my favorite driver from the old Fairgrounds Motor Speedway, and why I feel that way.
That isn’t a fair question to ask a race official, Brian. Technically, you’re not supposed to have favorites. I had guys I liked, naturally, because they were my friends. But then, as well as in my ARCA and ASA days, they all realized that once they were on the track they were simply numbers. My job was to apply the rules fairly and try to keep them safe.
As far as who were the best, well, the success of Andy Hampton and Jesse Baird in Harry Hyde’s cars speaks for itself, as does the success of Andy Vertrees and Richie Bisig in the Figure 9. But there were a bunch of people in that crowd with a lot of talent. We lost one, Rich “Butterball” Bloyd, to a heart attack last week at the age of 56. He’s the guy who made me famous as an enforcer when he ran a red flag in Turn 4 and found me waiting at the intersection with a black flag in one hand and the red flag in the other. He screeched to a stop about ten feet from me. He was also a friend. RIP, Butter.
Keep the questions coming. Any type of racing, we’ll try to answer or find somebody who can.
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