The Frontstretch: Potts' Shots: Redneck Engineering At Its Finest by John Potts -- Thursday June 21, 2012

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Potts' Shots: Redneck Engineering At Its Finest

John Potts · Thursday June 21, 2012


First thing from this week is a comment from a dear friend in Indianapolis, Kyle Eaton. Kyle was a member of our Emergency Services crew at Indianapolis Raceway Park, and she was also a pretty good race controller for some events on the road course.

I had to laugh at your comment about the drag racing solution to a soiled track being possibly being too redneck for NASCAR! My goodness, NASCAR is the epitome of redneck, at least in the earlier days before it became all Hollywood and Main Street and Wall Street glamorized. Still, the idea of NASCAR not being redneck is funny!

Kyle, that was kinda my point. They’re doing their best to escape that redneck image, and it’s a shame. That’s what attracted me to it in the first place.

Someone identifying him or herself only as “SB,” referring to the discussion about timing lines on Pocono’s pit road on this website, said,

If the intention of the timing lines on pit road were to keep everyone safer, why are teams given the location of the timing lines at all? If they didn’t know where they are, then everyone would have to maintain pit road speed for the entire length of pit road. Giving the location of timing lines rather defeats the purpose of having them, Doesn’t it?

I completely agree, SB. It’s like handing them a chart showing how to cheat. “Hey, ya wanna pick up a mile an hour or two, here are a couple of spots where you can do it.” The driver then speeds up for 50 feet or so, then backs it down when he or she gets close to the timing line. NASCAR maintains that they gave the timing line location chart to the teams, but a lot of them didn’t really look at it closely since it’s something that’s passed out every week. Taking that at face value, I had a comment on the same subject on another website I frequent.

One of the wags on there said, in relation to another subject, “The crew chiefs know what they’re doing.” My reply was, “Sure they do. The sharpest among them, Chad Knaus, didn’t look at the new map for the timing lines at Pocono and got his driver busted for speeding. Twice.”

Knaus immediately regrets engaging in protracted Words With Friends battle instead of confirming pit road timing loops upon second speeding penalty for the No. 48 team at Pocono.

Incidentally, that “other subject” was the cars “crabbing” down the straightaways. My personal opinion is that I don’t like it. Looks like a ’56 Ford with a loose centerbolt. I had one of those. Before we fixed it, I could drive down a dirt road and leave four tire tracks.

On the same subject, Matt Milton offered the opinion that the pit road issue is ridiculous. He pointed out that the MPH factor can change as transmission gears and engine adjustments are made.

He also makes what I think is a very good suggestion.

Why not just have NASCAR stick a decent GPS, which would give them actual speed based on movement rather than a mechanical reading, in each car? The TV people do it frequently. Matt, the only reason I can think of is that they’d have to be watching the readout from every car, every minute that it’s moving on pit road, rather than getting a computer reading or a printout to check over after the pitstops are done.

Isn’t there some way the GPS readout could be set to change color if the speed is above a certain level….like the driver’s gauges inside the car? Hmmm…

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Today on the Frontstretch:
ATHLON SPORTSBOWLES: Is Kevin Harvick A Hall Of Famer?
Racing to the Point: I’ve Got the Green-White-Checkered Blues
Beyond The Cockpit: Ron Capps Could Have NASCAR Stars Trying… Drag Racing?
IndyCar Driver Profile: Sebastien Bourdais
Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: Darlington – Off Week Edition
Couch Potato Tuesday: Moving NASCAR Coverage Onto the Web
Voices From The Cheap Seats: NOTeworthy News


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06/21/2012 06:17 AM

One of the reasons Nascar made for the COT and the ‘claw’ template was to do away with the ‘twisted’ cars that were hitting the track. at MIS, they’re back again. If cars that dog track that badly can make it through the templates, just how accurate are they? Makes me wonder about cars penalized for not making it through the tmplates.

RA Eckart
06/21/2012 10:10 PM

John & SB, I had noticed the cars crabbing for a couple races as well & couldn’t figure out how they did it.

Well, NASCAR finally figured it out. That’s what the new sway-bar linkage rule is all about. Seems that teams figured out how to offset the links and get the rear of the car to rotate out under speed.

Quite clever, but not anymore. Or at least until the next trick comes along.