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Beside the Rising Tide: Beware the Ides of March

It’s been an interesting week both inside and outside the insular little media niche focused on NASCAR racing. A tempest in a teapot unexpectedly broke out over the lowly lug nut. We learned that Daytona Speedweeks is a thing of the past, at least in the plural sense of “weeks.” We’re four danged weeks into a new Cup season and already Silly Season has become a topic of discussion. Something bizarre happened at the end of the Phoenix ARCA race, but nobody seems able to explain what happened and what should be done about it. And there are a few folks talking about a tiny little virus and whether it’s a harbinger of the end of the human race.  

NASCAR officials said last year they intended to release the 2021 Cup schedule by early April of this year, though they began walking that statement back yesterday. Last week we got a quick preview. Typically the Busch Clash and Daytona 500 qualifying have been held on the weekend that falls between the Super Bowl and the Daytona 500. That won’t be the case in 2021. Firstly, because there ain’t no open weekend between the Super Bowl and the Daytona 500 next year. 

Next year’s Clash will be held on Tuesday, February 7th, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise. In addition, the Clash will become a night race. Oh, and rather than being held on the high-banked oval track, next year’s Clash will be run on the 3.81-mile road course the sports car racers use for the 24 Hours of Daytona. I gotta admit I did some head-scratching reading that press release. A lot of Cup fans have developed a real affection for the occasional road racing event as opposed to an endless series of races on 1.5-2.0 mile cookie-cutter tracks. But there’s one slight complication to racing Cup cars on the Daytona road course after sundown: Most of the track’s infield isn’t illuminated. That’s not an issue for the sports car racers because their cars have headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and presumably a handy illuminated vanity mirror in the visor. The Cup cars, on the other hand, have decals somewhat loosely patterned after their street counterparts’ headlights. I mean that’s why they call them stock cars, right? 

In another interesting development, the cars running next year’s Clash will not be the much-ballyhooed Generation-7 cars NASCAR will trot out for the first time in the 2021 Daytona 500. The Clash will serve as the Fat Lady’s Aria for the current and much-maligned Generation-6 cars. In this year’s Clash, most of the 18 cars entered wound up trashed, with one wrecked car pushing another wrecked car across the line for the win. I guess NASCAR supposes the teams can get rid of the obsolete model cars at the Clash. Like for instance when they enter the infield portion of the road course and find it’s completely dark. 

Daytona qualifying will take place that Wednesday. The twin duels will run as usual on Thursday and the trucks on Friday. Saturday will host a twin bill of ARCA and NXS series events. The 2021 Daytona 500 will run Sunday, February 14th. Yep, that’s six days if I’m counting correctly, so no more “Speedweeks.” I guess six days is close enough to a week that “Speedweek” could be used. Hopefully they don’t try trotting out that “Happy Daytona Day” nonsense again. Yep, it’s going to be tight a few days during that week, but it ought to be doable, depending on Mother Nature. You’ll recall it rained a good deal at Daytona this year, even postponing the majority of the Daytona 500 to Monday. With less time slots to move postponed races, even a moderate amount of precipitation will cause substantial havoc next year. So what can be done a year in advance to change variables none of us have any control over? Whistle through your teeth and spit, then hope we all will get by. 

The cars competing in the 2021 Clash will still have five lug nuts per wheel the way God and Big Bill France intended, rather than one central lug nut as will be featured on the Gen-7 car. 

I’ll admit it. The hullaballoo over the single lug nut wheels caught me quite off-guard. Yes, it’s been five lug nuts for a long time. One team did try to use four lugs and studs per wheel once in an attempt to make pit stops quicker. It didn’t say anywhere in the rulebook there had to be five lug nuts. NASCAR told those fellows how danged clever they were, then told them not to show up at the next race unless they had five lug nuts per wheel.

I have more than a passing familiarity with the sound of air guns going full chat, removing and installing lug nuts and the resultant chuffing of a big air compressor firing to keep up. For several years, I managed a chain tire store. When I was at the counter, I could hear two or three air guns triggered at a time with that peculiar (and annoying) whine you could hear from two blocks away if the door to the shop was open. That whine, annoying though it might have been, was a happy sound. Lots of whining (from the air guns, not the staff or customers) meant lots of tires being installed. That meant a healthy paycheck that Friday. Silence in the shop or only an occasional blast of an Ingersoll-Rand? Either it was a slow day, or it was time for me to run into the woods behind the shop and tell the teenage mutant tire mounters it was time to stop “doping some smoke” and get back to work before some purple-faced angry customers started ripping me a new one again. 

Loose lug nuts are often a problem during a race with the current five-lug set-up. During pit stops, tenths and even hundredths of a second can mean several positions on the track. But loose lug nuts leading to an emergency pit stop to cinch them back up have cost more than a few drivers a race win. Complicating things that much more is that if several lug nuts are left loose, the wheels can wobble, chewing up the threads on the lug stud. Not only does that keep the mounter from being able to tighten the lug on that stud, it gives him a false sense that it is, in fact, already tight. The same thing can happen in a tire shop like the one I ran. Trust me, there’s little more embarrassing in life than having to explain to a customer why the two front tires and wheels on her Mercedes wagon fell off the car as a mechanic backed it out of the shop. Yeah, it was snowing and we were packed, but the real issue was a mounter decided that he simply couldn’t go another five minutes without a cigarette and that someone else would tighten those wheels. A loose wheel was an automatic dismissal offense at that chain. A mounter could have walked into my office smoking a joint and ground it out on my forehead, but if we were short on crew members I’d have just shrugged. Loose lugs? See you, Bud. 

A central-wheel retention device like will be used on the Gen-7 cars next year is nothing new. Even back in the late ’50s and ’60s, Ferraris, Jaguars, Cobras and a few years of Corvettes offered what were usually called “knockoff” wheels as an option. That option was born at the racetrack, where knockoffs allowed the pit crew to change tires more quickly. Typically, the mechanic would strike one of the hub wings with a lead hammer to loosen or tighten it (the hammers had lead faces because lead is a softer metal less likely to mar the hub’s surfaces). The kids in the ’60s were smarter. They didn’t put tools in their mouths to see what lead tasted like. 

When done correctly, the so called “single lug” system works fine. They’ve been using them on Formula 1 and American open-wheel race cars for years. There is a risk, however. Currently, if a NASCAR tire mounter gets sloppy and misses a couple lug nuts, having three installed correctly will usually keep the wheel and tire attached to the car well enough that car can return to the pits to address the issue.

Now if you have a single lug (or retention device) per wheel and it doesn’t get tightened properly, bad things are going to happen. Imagine a nightmarish scenario where a car is exiting the pits and a right side tire falls off. Another car exiting the pits WFO hits that errant tire and sends it flying. Tires bounce frighteningly high and rebound in unexpected directions. At both Michigan and Charlotte, the fans that were killed in the grandstands during IRL races were struck by tire/wheel assemblies that flew over the catchfence into the grandstands. 

After those twin tragedies in the grandstands, the IRL came up with a tether system to keep a tire/wheel assembly attached to the car even in the course of a heavy wreck or failure of the central lug. Simply put, if NASCAR doesn’t have a similar device on the new cars yet, it needs to have one well before the first Gen-7 car turns a wheel in anger on any track. 

This year’s Silly Season could be an epic one. The star atop the 2021 Christmas tree is of course the seat in the No. 48 car Jimmie Johnson won’t be driving anymore as he heads into retirement. A chance to drive for a team that scored seven championships and 83 wins over the years would be coveted by most drivers, irrespective of their current or former allegiances. Two names I’ve heard being thrown around as potential drivers of the No. 48 are Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski, both of whose contracts are up this year with their current teams.

One driver who decided to take his name out of the speculation early is Ryan Blaney. Last week Blaney signed a multi-year extension to stay on with Roger Penske’s team. All three of Penske’s Cup outfits have been running competitively as of late, with Blaney leading the points before a disastrous run at Phoenix this weekend. A lot of drivers might have been tempted to at least put out some feelers to see what they were worth to another owner, but Blaney must have decided that a bird in hand is worth more than two, or even 48, in the bush. 

It’s never made sense to me, but Sunday evening we all went through the “Spring Forward” ritual setting our clocks ahead an hour. On a brighter note, you’ll be pleased to know after three late afternoon races on the Western Swing, next week’s Cup race at Atlanta starts at a slightly more civilized 2:00 p.m. ET. In fact, the next seven races (Atlanta, Homestead, Texas, Bristol, Richmond, Talladega and Dover) all start at or around 2:00 p.m. ET. Yeah, I’d still prefer races start at 1:00 p.m. like they shoulda, oughta, useta, but some consistency in start times can’t hurt fan engagement at all. And now, all we have to do is fall back an hour from 2 and call it NASCAR Savings Time. 

As this is written, a growing number of sports sanctioning bodies are dealing with the unhappy idea of holding games or other sporting contests without fans allowed in the grandstands. The NBA seems to be on the point on this one, but the timing of the annual March Madness NCAA basketball tournament couldn’t be any more awkward right now (it is scheduled to run from March 17th to April 1st this year). Even the fate of this year’s Olympics is in question. And it’s not just sports. Some concerts have been canceled or postponed as well. The annual SXSW music “happening” was canceled (to the great disappointment of Frontstretch’s own Kevin Rutherford).

The Ultra Music fest was officially postponed for about a year last week. Awkwardly enough, that event was scheduled to run in Miami the same weekend NASCAR is scheduled to run at the Homestead-Miami track. My guess is fans who had been eager to attend the Music Fest aren’t going to be very happy with the notion they can’t gather to celebrate their culture and music, but it’s OK for the Good Ol’ Boys of NASCAR to come to town and paint it red. From the research I’ve done, it seems a lot of years the Ultra concerts and the annual NASCAR race draw about the same number of fans. This year will be a bit different of course, because the race at Homestead has typically been the season-ending, championship-deciding NASCAR finale, while this year it’s in mid-March. 

In F1, the Grand Prix of China has already been postponed. The Grand Prix of Bahrain is still scheduled to be run and televised, but there will be no non-essential personnel (like fans) allowed, so the grandstands will be empty. Other events including the Australian Grand Prix are in limbo right now waiting to see if new quarantine and travel restrictions in Northern Italy and elsewhere will allow some of the F1 teams to be at the races. F1 officials have already said that if such travel restrictions keep teams from being able to be at the track, those races will not be run, or at least won’t be run as points-paying events. 

Even for those hoping the race can go off as planned, it’s perhaps time to do some planning regarding “what if?” If the local, state or federal government were to request the race be canceled or postponed due to the virus, I cannot imagine NASCAR would ignore that request. So would the race be postponed until later this year? There’s a dearth of open weekends on the schedule except for that two-week break NBC demanded for the Olympics and Easter. Easter is April 12th, so I doubt this whole virus thing will be sorted out by then. And of course we don’t know if any more future races will also need to be postponed. Would one or more of those races need to be canceled? 

Perhaps equally importantly, when will these decisions be made and how will the information be disseminated to fans? News of a postponement or cancellation of a race needs to be trumpeted to fans in time to let those planning to drive or fly to the race to cancel those plans before they leave home, not when they are halfway there. To the best of my sometimes faulty recollection, the last time government types got involved with asking NASCAR to reschedule an event was the Firecracker 400 that was to be run in July of 1998. Wildfires were closing major highways fans typically would have used to get to the track. The race was postponed until October of that year. When the announcement was made that the race was going to be postponed, my neighbor Kevin and his clan were somewhere in Georgia heading toward Daytona in his huge motorhome. They’d traveled a lot of miles from our tiny town of Guthriesville, Pa., and I don’t recall Kevin, his wife or his kids being very happy about that state of affairs. Postponing the race was the right call under those circumstances, but the delay in making the decision was inexcusable. 

The call to postpone the New Hampshire Cup race the weekend after 9-11 was also made well after a lot of fans and media members (me among them) had left to drive to the track. Before I left, I called NASCAR one more time and asked them if they were absolutely certain the race was not going to be postponed. Absolutely not, I was told. With all commercial air travel still banned in the U.S., a lot of scribes drove long distances to cover that race … a race that never happened. Or didn’t happen until November anyway.

I take comfort in watching the increasingly grim nightly news that the mainstream media has gone off the alarmist deep end and gotten the story wrong before. I can only shake my head recalling that some of you reading this (and even some of my Frontstretch staff members) weren’t even around the night 12/31/99 changed to 01/01/00. You missed the whole Y2K hysteria as the new century was about to begin. Because early computer programmers hadn’t thought to use four digits for years rather than two, every computer in the world was going to be baffled, not sure if it was 1900 or 2000. And there was going to be hell to pay. Every bit of data on your computer was going to be irretrievably lost. Power plants were going to shut down en masse, plunging most of us into cold and darkness. If your power came from a nuclear power plant, it was about to go into full meltdown and make any area within 100 miles of it uninhabitable for generations. Airplanes would be falling from the sky. Traffic lights and toll booths would fail, leaving the nation’s drivers trapped in gridlock. But they wouldn’t be stranded long. Once they ran out of fuel they wouldn’t be able to find any to buy anywhere. And since your credit cards and debit cards would be useless as well, people were hoarding cash. Life as we knew it was about to cease to exist. 

As the New Year rang in back in 2000, I was sitting with some friends on the back porch of a place I was renting in Broomall. All of us cracked open a fresh beer during the countdown to the New Year, waiting and watching expectantly to see what happened next. We’d been discussing all evening how it wasn’t going to be a big deal. We were too suave and sophisticated to be drawn into the mass hysteria the media had been creating (of course, if by some fluke the power had gone out right around midnight, the five of us would have been screaming like Jamie Lee Curtis in a slasher flick). As the church bells rang in the New Year, you know what happened? Absolutely nothing. Not in Broomall. Not anywhere across the U.S. Nowhere around the world. Nothing. Y2K was a complete bust. Civilization woke up the next day slightly hung over and a bit worse for the wear, but intact and functioning as well or poorly as could be expected. We all learned to write 2000 rather than 99 on the checks we filled out. Let us all pray that the predicted pandemic is as much of a bust as Y2K,  nothing beyond some insignificant thing like postponing a race or forcing you to go Neanderthal and use bar soap and lukewarm tap water to wash your hands for 20 seconds rather than using hand sanitizer like a cool dude in a loose mood. 

Speaking of decidedly uncool dudes, with decidedly bad attitudes, guess who’s back? This week our old pal Brian France slogged from the swamp and announced his plans to sue John Steele. Since 2014, Steele has been running a Twitter account under the name of “Drunken Brian France.” You might recall France’s first brush with the law and a DUI charge was in 2014, not the infamous 2018 event on Long Island. In the previous incident, several panicked motorists called police to say that France (or someone driving a car registered to France) had hit several cars and fled the scene driving recklessly. But France made it home to his condo before being apprehended. And in Daytona Beach, apparently if you’re wealthy enough and famous enough, the law is like a game of tag. If you reach home base, you’re safe. 

Steele’s account is and always has been clearly labeled a parody. At times the posts are clever and at others they are juvenile, but I’ve never seen anything that was outright nasty or over the line on that handle. Now France is demanding damages. Basically, he’s saying Steele’s posts made him look like an ass. Et tu Brian? Sorry, Brian old Buddy, there was no need for anyone to make you look bad. Your baffling decision-making that allowed you to reverse the progress the France family business had made over the decades in about 15 years at the helm made the contemptible buffoon you are abundantly clear to any reasonable person. The missteps you made ruining stock car racing and driving away millions of once-loyal fans are likely the topic of a full honors course at Wharton Business School as an example of what not to do, right after “New Coke.”

For those Pollyannas out there determined to find the ruby in a mountain of rocks, the virus issue could actually be a boost for NASCAR’s TV ratings. One of the few stocks not to take it on the chin in the recent bloodbath on Wall Street is Netflix. I suppose if people are going to be quarantined, voluntarily or otherwise, and others are avoiding movie theaters, bars and popular gathering spots, they’ll need something to keep them entertained. That could mean renting a film on Netflix, or tuning into a NASCAR race they might otherwise have skipped. 

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Matt joined Frontstretch in 2007 after a decade of race-writing, paired with the first generation of racing internet sites like RaceComm and Racing One. Now semi-retired, he submits occasional special features while his retrospectives on drivers like Alan Kulwicki, Davey Allison, and other fallen NASCAR legends pop up every summer on Frontstretch. A motorcycle nut, look for the closest open road near you and you can catch him on the Harley during those bright, summer days in his beloved Pennsylvania.

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17 comments

  1. Avatar

    Brian France proves the theory that you can never trust anyone with no sense of humor, or someone who can’t laugh at himself. One does wonder why, after 6 years he decided NOW that he has suffered ‘damages’ to his rep?

  2. Avatar

    i don’t think na$car has to worry about virus. stands typically haven’t been shoe-horned packed, except maybe for daytona. plenty of seats available for ams weekend. i briefly thought about going, but rain is still in the forecast but past few years i haven’t been too crazy about being in situations with huge crowds. i’ve also taken a hit in the wallet over this virus, so extra funds i have will be stuffed under the mattress to go towards my retirement.

  3. Avatar

    I may be overlooking something but it seems that if they get the wheel mounting wrong in F1 the driver figures it out before the car even gets off pit road. Lots of sheepish faces and arm waving before the car is lifted over the wall as the driver walks back to the pits.
    Surely the best drivers in the world can cope?

  4. Avatar

    I was comparing this to Y2K with my wife last night. People are stocking up and freaking out in a similar way. I remember that year quite well, my whole family was in Disney World. Was a great time once we got there…Astro van over-heated several times in traffic on the way there from Michigan. That being said, I would not be surprised if some NASCAR races are postponed if this virus continues to spread.

    I am a fan of NASCAR reducing speedweeks, this move feels like it was made for the fans and not so much the networks. It will be interesting to see when Daytona releases that it is adding a lot of lighting to the infield. I have honestly never paid enough attention as the cars racing that course have headlights like you stated. The single lug is a good move with the AL rim, however, you brought up a great point. NASCAR engineering should develop a design that keeps that tire tethered to the vehicle just like they do with the deck lid and believe hood now as well. We have seen tires come off these cars several times in the past due to mechanical failures, so this 100% is something that must be addressed with the new car. I am still very excited for 2021

  5. Avatar

    I wish I could equate this virus deal with the Y2k deal but I fear this is an entirely different beast. The one take away from the comparison is that the news media continually sensationalizes every bump in the road because they need to fill up 24/7 of programming and want people to think it’s the end of the world in order to keep ratings up. After crying wolf so many times it’s hard to differentiate a real threat from those the media manufactures, embellish and sensationalize. I guess we will see.

    If Brian France didn’t want to be made fun of he shouldn’t have done so many stupid things. Seems to me he’s earned it.

    Not surprised by the contraction of speed weeks. If you want to make the season shorter that seems like some low hanging fruit. Of course it may just be a result of there being less time between the superbowl and the start of NASCAR season. I don’t see lighting being and issue. I regularly see construction work being performed at night with portable lighting so something should be able to be worked out.

  6. Avatar

    Speedweeks, as we know them is actually speed 10 days… I just don’t get the uproar. Currently, practice on Friday for the clash cars, practice Saturday for the 500 cars, ARCA on Saturday, cup qualifying and the clash on Sunday. After that, three days of nothing on track. So, it seems to me, there will be no on track action for 3 days and then Katie bar the door. What’s the problem?

  7. Avatar

    Well I agree with the people saying that its ridiculous for Brian France to be sewing the parody account. I hope the court throws out the case.

    I think contracting Speedweeks is a good idea.

    I don’t recall whether the government was involved but the Dover race in Sept 2001 was postponed due to the terrible events of 9-11. A decision that was the right one in my opinion. Of course then as now with the corona virus thing – people want to price gouge and Dover banned bringing in coolers etc and then ran out of water, beer, soft drinks etc. because back in 2001, the stands were filled to capacity.

    I agree with you Bill B in that it is very hard to tell fact from fiction with having the feed the 24/7 news cycle. I have always done many of the preventative things (extra thorough hand washing, avoiding shaking hands, during any flu season). I know from experience that having to travel to a race takes planning, I usually bought my plane tickets well ahead of time and even if we were driving one direction, I often had to fly to get home so advance notice would be a good thing for people. As Janice points out however the stands are not full like they used to be but still I’m avoiding crowds.

    • Matt

      WCF- New Hampshire as scheduled to be NASCAR’s first race after 9-11. I believe it was scheduled for 9-15. Like I said in the column NASCAR insisted right up until the last minute the NHIS race would run as scheduled. I jumped in a Thunderbird I was driving at the time and headed northeast from my home in the northwestern suburbs of Philly towards the track.
      I recall at most overpasses along the Interstates people had hung American flags and drivers were either honking or flashing their headlights to honor Old Glory. My route took me close enough to NYC to see the smoke that was still rising from the wreckage of the WTC though of course all highways in the immeadiate NYC are were closed.
      I was driving through the Southern tier of Vermont when I heard the new on the radio NASCAR had postponed the New Hampshire race. And yeah, I was hotter than the Fourth of July. But since I’d already driven all that distance I changed course and decided to drop in to see my sister Jeanne, my then Brother-In-Law Ken and my nieces and nephew.
      Ken and Jeanne ran a nice Little Inne right off of 9 and kept horses in the field behind the Inne. They had plenty of room for the weekend. After I got there Ken and I cracked open beers and sat on the post and rail fence that outlined the horse’s pasture. We talked about what 9-11 meant and how different a world his kids were going to grow up than the one we’d known. In Israel people had lived under the cloud of a possible terrorist attack for decades. And that appeared to be the new norm for the US too. As we sat there chatting, drinking our beers and enjoying the sunshine a Bald Eagle began circling the pasture above us. Eagles were fairly common to that area so it was hardly an omen but watching that Eagle soar gave me a feeling that everything was going to be OK. We as a nation and as individuals were going to get through the time of crises and refuse to live our lives in fear.
      Dover was in fact the next race NASCAR actually held after 9-11. It was run on 9-23. In the minutes leading up to the start of the race (it might even have been during the pace laps. news broke that the American military was launcing attacks in the Middle-east to respond to the Attack on America. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won that race and did his thing with the flag to the thunderous approval of the crowd on hand.

      • Avatar

        I remember Ken Schrader drove the Stars and Stripes Pontiac at Dover for that race. Although many drivers had patriotic themed paint schemes, Schrader’s sponsor, M&M’s let the team drop the logos and run a “clean” US flag car.

  8. Avatar

    There is nothing remotely similar between the Y2k bug and the coronavirus. With Y2k, it was a completely known entity and the same programmers who put the bug in place knew exactly how to fix it and had been working for years to do just that. Conversely, the coronavirus is a new entity and there is no vaccine or cure for it. Scientists will eventually get a handle on it, but anyone who compares the two only shows his ignorance of both.

  9. Avatar

    Thank you SK – I was just typing the same comment. I was in IT consulting in the 90s, and we were advising clients on how to fix and test for Y2K problems a good 5-10 years before anyone outside the industry had heard anything about it. Many, many billions were spent ensuring this was not a disaster.

    BTW – my memory may be fading, but I don’t recall anyone panicking or shutting down the world last year, when the boring old Flu killed over 34,000 people in the U.S. alone.

    • Avatar

      Exactly, people really freak out over the unknown I guess. That and a flue vaccine doe not always work and there is no cure for that either. I always loved 1000 ways to die intro cause it is so true, yet we never think that way except for some outliers.

    • Avatar

      The problem is that no one has any tolerance built up to this new disease. Yes the flu kills a bunch of people every year but we’ve built up a tolerance where many of us can come in contact with people that have the flu and we never get symptoms because our body can fight it off. You also have to think about the mortality rate. If 1 in a 1000 who get the flu die and 10 in a 1000 who get the Corona virus die, that’s a huge difference. The largest issue is that we don’t have enough information to know exactly what we can expect. Something eerily similar happened just over 100 years ago in 1918. They had a small piece about this on CBS Sunday Morning last Sunday. I would post the link but every time I try to include a link in a comment at FS it seems to never post so, Google this if you’d like to see it….
      cbs sunday morning spanish flu

      You will see links to the YouTube video

      • Avatar

        I watched a documentary on what you are talking about. This virus is in no way shape or form similar imo. People who are passing with this virus are not in good health where that virus in 1918 basically anyone who caught it died. What made it even more severe was the fact that travel was limited and slow back then. Nothing compared to today with air travel and so on. There is an excellent documentary on this called Pandemic on Netflix if you are interested.

        Compare that to the Coruna virus and the stats align more similar to the Flu, so while I get the concern cause we do not know. We also have stores running out of supplies and people brawling over things like toilet paper and bottled water. I would be more concerned if statistics were showing that no matter your age or health, you catch it, you are likely to die. Imo people/media are over-reacting basically just cause of the unknown and what fears and makes for better stories than the unknown? I am hopeful that like the flu, this will have hit its peak and be on the downward trend soon.

        I still would not be surprised if some NASCAR races were to be cancelled if those states reach high levels. I sure hope NASCAR does not follow the NCAA route and just make it a TV only broadcast.

      • Avatar

        I hear you Bill – the unknown is scary. I’m personally in one of the highest risk groups – so, yeah i’m concerned.. The problem is none of the data supports that this is any worse than a typical flu year (as Ice is alluding towards). Imagine for a moment if the news media reported on (showed pictures of hospital wards..etc.) for all of the 500K hospitalizations or 34K deaths from the flu last year (or any of the 35 million that showed symptoms, or 17 million that saw a Doctor)? That is what they are doing for this – every sick person is world-wide news. In my opinion, this is purely political.

        • Avatar

          Agreed. My gut tells me it is being blown out of proportion but how can you ignore something that might be life changing (at least in the short-run). As I said in my first comment, the 24/7 news cycle is not a good thing. Nor is social media. Neither allows time for people to reflect and digest the information. It is just a non-stop barrage of questionable opinions, mutilated facts, and, worst of all, omitted information. It’s a shame that the term “fake news” was coined to explain this condition. It isn’t fake, it’s just “warped” to produce a desired effect. Whether that is political or just to get better ratings the result is the same.

          I also find it interesting that there is a whole generation of people that think the human race should be able to control and mitigate any situation. Some things are just so large in scope that we are at their mercy. It’s like they can’t except that some things are just out of our control.

  10. Avatar

    None of the tragic deaths at the IRL races mentioned, had anything to do with the use of a single lug nut wheel, or a wheel being left loose. They were both the result of the suspension separating from the car in an accident, something that can just as easily happen with 5 lug nuts. The tethers were added to keep the tire and suspension from leaving the car in the event of an accident, just like the hood tethers required by NASCAR. The wheel tethers will not prevent a car from losing a wheel from a center lug left loose.

    If you don’t like the switch to single center lug, just say so, don’t try to come up with some lame apples to oranges comparison to claim they’re dangerous. I’ve been crewing on road racing teams for 25 years, and I think the single lug is probably safer. The design of the hub and wheel usually make it immediately obvious to a driver, if a wheel is loose, unlike 5 lug designs which often take many laps to become obvious.

    By the way, I’m looking forward to the 2021 Clash. I’ve already booked my room!