The Frontstretch: Potts' Shots: Tangible Tolerances, Sponsor Contracts & Longing for Linda by John Potts -- Thursday July 5, 2012

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This week reader Dan Tinney asks,

By how much did Austin Dillon’s car fail post-race inspection at Kentucky? What is the allowable tolerance?

Really good questions, Dan. I don’t know how much it failed by, and I don’t know the allowable tolerance, so I asked someone very well informed and guess what? He didn’t know, either.

His comment was, “Have not heard by how much, but do know that like Elliott Sadler’s car at Iowa, the same deal. Rear jack bolt backed off was the issue.” He added, “We all know that at a track like Kentucky, low in the rear is not good!”

I think that means there was no advantage to the discrepancy.

Austin Dillon was fined six championship points, while Danny Stockman, Jr. was fined $10,000 for the No. 3 being too low during post-race inspection at Kentucky. The tolerance infraction was never disclosed, leading many to believe the penalty was really for wearing a cowboy hat in Victory Lane four days before The King’s birthday.

Like you, Dan, I have to wonder about the information NASCAR puts out on these things. They very rarely spell out how much discrepancy there was, and as far as I know, also seldom quote specifics — they just give the title of the rule violated. Not being a competitor I don’t have a book, so I can’t tell you what the maximum allowable tolerance happens to be.

In this week’s “Mirror Driving” on, Tom Dalfonzo notes,

Michael Andretti’s IndyCar team already has strong sponsorship deals with DHL, RC Cola, Venom Energy Drink,, etc. Why doesn’t he bring those companies over to sponsor his new Cup team? That’s enough sponsorship cash to field a two- or even three-car fleet in the Cup series. Andretti would take the Cup world by storm.

Well, Tom, it’s not all that simple. I’m sure those deals are in place only for IndyCar program, and I have to doubt that Michael feels there is enough money involved for a full-fledged Cup effort. I’m also sure that he’d want more money from those sponsors for such a venture. Similarly, it’s probably a given that he’s discussed it with them.

Bringing a lot of money to the table isn’t always the answer. A lot of IndyCar people thought Roger Penske, then Chip Ganassi, would “take the Cup world by storm,” but it hasn’t happened. In a similar vein, there were also people who said Juan Pablo Montoya, with his IndyCar and Formula One credentials, would be virtually unbeatable.

Turns out the stock car world isn’t so easy to take by storm.
Billy G. says,

“You’re always writing about some of the ‘fun’ times you and your crew had at what was once Indianapolis Raceway Park. How about some examples?

Hmmm. Boy, just thinking about that place and my 15 years there brings a smile. There are so many things. I’ll have to go through some of my notes and mention some things that didn’t make it into “Driven to the Past.”

Like maybe the time during the Junior Dragster Nationals when a Cadillac pulled up alongside my golf cart on the return road, the window came down, and A.J. Foyt said, “Potts, I want to watch my grandson race. Where’s the Houston track pitted?”

John Potts maintains that receiving a hug from Miss Hurst Linda Vaughn was not something he’d soon forgot. We’re not sure why…

I told him I’d show him if he’d show me his credentials. I saw that Cadillac come through Gate Six without stopping.

“You mean I have to go back and buy a ticket?”

“I’m not saying that, A.J. You’re a VIP by any definition. I’m just saying you have to go back up to the office, sign in, and get a credential. You’ve been doing this long enough to know that.”

He agreed.

Some VIPs liked to park their cars at the office during a big event and be driven around in the cart. No problem there. You have no idea how much it lifts your spirits to drive (slowly) from the front gate to the dragstrip tower during the U.S. Nationals with Linda Vaughn sitting beside you making small talk and rubbing your back.

By the way, she’s a very gracious lady, and anyone who knows her will tell you that she never forgets a name.

Another of my favorite memories involves Linda. She was our Grand Marshal for the Busch Series race about 1989 or so, and that was about the time the race really caught on; I even had to put “Sold Out” on the big electronic sign at the gate. After checking the sign, I went back to the oval tower and told Bob Daniels that we had two sure signs that our race was now a bona fide “event.”

He asked what they were, and I said, “Linda’s here, and there’s a guy across the road from the main gate with a sign saying that he needs tickets.” I got a BIG hug for that one.

And a hug from Linda Vaughn is a thing not to be forgotten easily.

Contact John Potts

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


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Glen H.
07/05/2012 10:11 AM

About Tom Dalfonzo’s statement on Andretti’s sponsors for IndyCar – NA$CAR Cup racing is a lot more expensive than IndyCar. If Michael brough all four of his IndyCar sponsors over to NA$CAR, he might have enough funding to put one Cup team on the track.

Michael in SoCal
07/05/2012 11:16 AM

Thanks for the comments about Indianapolis Raceway Park. It’s a dang shame the NW & Truck series isn’t going there anymore. Which leads me to this joke:

What do you call a Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis?

A great reason to go outside and enjoy the day.

07/05/2012 03:54 PM

I have a picture of me getting a nice big hug from Linda in the garage in Daytona in 1972 after the FIRECRACKER 400 … … when I was 12 years old!! … … yep … one never forgets a hug from Linda Vaughn!! Especially when you are eyeball-level with her … … neck.

Tom Dalfonzo
07/05/2012 05:26 PM

I would like to thank John Potts for taking the opportunity to answer my question on Andretti’s Cup team & sponsor contracts.