As part of the coverage of the Bank of America 500, Frontstretch attended the drivers’ meeting before the race. We realize that this is something that the average fan is not afforded the opportunity to do, so in an effort to take you to places that you don’t normally get to go, here is a quick synopsis of what occurs behind the doors of the drivers’ meeting.
The meeting begins with a thank you to the folks at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for all of their hospitality and efforts at putting on a great show. There was then a recognition of all of the dignitaries in attendance at the meeting. The list included representatives from:
Bank of America
The Army National Guard
The Air Force
The National Champion of the Whelen racing series
George Martin, who is doing a walk across America to raise money for 9/11 responders and recovery personnel
Pat Whitaker, who has climbed to the top of the highest peaks on all seven continents.
The drivers were then given the agenda for the day. Cars were to be pushed to the frontstretch by three members of the crew at 6:20, driver introductions would take place at 6:50 and the drivers would be driven around the track in pickup trucks. The invocation would take place at 7:24, the National Anthem will take place at 7:25 and the command to start engines will take place at 7:31. Drivers were told, after getting into the car, to lean against their belts and pull on the steering wheel. The cars will start into turn 1 very slow to make sure that everyone could tighten up and get a good read on pit-road speed. The pit-road speed for this weekend is 45 mph.
The NASCAR folks then covered the location of pit road timing and allowable locations for cars to be considered inside their pit box. Pit-road rules and the blend into traffic on the way out of the pits were briefly discussed. If it is necessary to take a diversionary trip down pit road, the drivers are required to slow down the length of pit road. The signal for one to go will be given between turns 3 and 4. The minimum speed required to stay in the race after damage is 33.08 seconds. Crew members were reminded that they need to keep the fire lane behind the pits open so that members can move equipment easily and safety personnel have access.
Questions were requested, and when no one hand any, a prayer was offered and the meeting was adjourned. The entire meeting took 10 minutes and was very efficient and informative. There wasn’t any secret information or any special handshakes distributed; it was just to make sure everyone was informed so that they would not have any excuse if they violated any rules.