Race Weekend Central

What’s Vexing Vito?: Still Too Many Stuck Throttles in NASCAR

About six years ago, there was a tremendous amount of time and effort spent trying to cure the epidemic of stuck throttles in NASCAR. For the most part, it had been a thing of the past until this past weekend at Martinsville. There were four incidents that occurred that were the result of throttles hanging open – Parker Kligerman in Truck Series practice Friday, Dennis Setzer in Cup practice Friday, Jeffrey Earnhardt in Saturday’s Truck event and then Martin Truex Jr. in Sunday’s Cup race.

Four throttles in three days is four too many. With the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on engines and R&D, and years of car construction, why in 2011 is it so hard to assemble an engine that does not have a throttle operate properly? Perhaps the advent of fuel injection will help curtail this if a drive-by-wire throttle set up is used.

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Something needs to be done about the quality of NASCAR commercials. The Toyota ones are typically among the best, but that new one with the curly haired kid and Joey Logano is just creepy. Why is Logano cruising around playgrounds picking up kids, and telling them to get into his cool car? It’s just not right. Also, I don’t need to see Michael Waltrip’s big ass shaking on my 57” Hitachi seven times a Sunday.

Have the people who design the paint schemes completely run out of ideas? Ryan Newman’s car at Martinsville looks like an ode to Kevin Harvick’s Goodwrench paint schemes from 2002-2006. Mark Martin ran a Quaker State-sponsored car this weekend, but Jamie McMurray’s car looked like a carbon copy of Ricky Rudd and Brett Bodine’s No. 26 green machines from the late ’80s/early ’90s. Come to think of it, what is a Widia anyway?

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NASCAR is a fast-paced sport, and at a half-mile bullring where laps are eclipsed in the 20-second range, things move pretty fast and positions are constantly changing. Why then, does the position crawler atop the screen do just that – C R A W L – at a speed that the rubber sweeper truck would snicker at? It literally takes about five laps for the field to scroll through, and by then, who knows how accurate the information is.

Speed it up about three times as fast. If you miss where your favorite driver is running, give it about 20 seconds – or a lap – and you’ll be able to see. Perhaps he’s made some progress. Or perhaps he has just launched his car into the side of Bobby Labonte.

About the author

Vito is one of the longest-tenured writers at Frontstretch, joining the staff in 2007. With his column Voice of Vito (monthly, Fridays) he’s a contributor to several other outlets, including Athlon Sports and Popular Speed in addition to making radio appearances. He forever has a soft-spot in his heart for old Mopars and presumably oil-soaked cardboard in his garage.

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