Friday, September 26, 2008

A car that fails inspection should not be in the race

KANSAS CITY, Kansas - A few quick thoughts on a warm but otherwise beautiful day at Kansas Speedway:

* * *

Sorry if you're a Juan Pablo Montoya fan (and he comes on our Sirius NASCAR Radio show every week), but the No. 42 Dodge shouldn't be racing here on Sunday.

NASCAR found the rear shocks had too much nitrogen gas pressure in the rear shocks on that car after Montoya apparently won the pole for the Camping World RV 400. Montoya's time was disallowed and he was pushed back to the No. 42 starting spot for Sunday's race.

That doesn't do Michael McDowell any good, though. McDowell's Toyota missed making the race by one spot, but there's every indication that his car was legal. Montoya's was not.

It doesn't matter - or at least it shouldn't - how Montoya's car came to be outside the rules or what the too-high pressure in the shock might have been intended to do in the car. I know fans are going to get all hung up on that kind of stuff because they always do when something like this comes up.

What ought to matter is Montoya's car was outside the rules. So he shouldn't be racing.

I know I am a broken record on this, but I promise you that if I don't actually type these words and have them posted some fans will rear up and accuse me of playing favorites because I've done it before in simialr situations. So here it is.

If your car doesn't make it through post-qualifying inspection, you should go home. Period. No matter who you are.

* * *

Saw Scott Riggs in the garage today and asked him about where he might be driving next year. He said he's confident he'll be in a Cup car but doesn't know where yet.

Riggs is driving for Haas CNC Racing in the No. 66 Chevrolets this year. But that team will be Stewart Haas Racing next year and Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman will be driving its cars.

The other news on Riggs is that he has a bad case of poison oak.

"I was cleaning out some stuff along the driveway on this property I've got," said Riggs, who had a wrap on one arm covering a big patch of the itchy malady and had another large splotch on his abdomen.

Riggs will be fine to race on Sunday.

* * *

Jeff Gordon qualified 13th fastest on Friday. He also practiced his car, but that was about the only thing the four-time champion did. He was under the weather and canceled all of his media sessions to conserve his energy for driving.

* * *

Denny Hamlin had the fastest time in Friday afternoon's final practice for today's Kansas Lottery 300 race in the Nationwide Series. Kevin Harvick, Mark Martin, Greg Biffle and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five in the final session.


Anonymous said...

David, cple questions concerning your "either black or white, no gray area" way of thinking concerning racing or going home. Drivers are allowed 5 mph over on pit road speed, do you think that should be reduced to an exact amount? If the driver exceeds
.00000001 mph over the recognized limit, should he be forced to the back? If you as a driver on the highway, exceeds the speed limit by 1 mph, should you be hauled to jail?
I am totally against the top 35, dont care for some of the other silly rules nascar has, but nascar, nor the world is rocket science and there has to be some leeway on some items. Since you didnt mention how out of line the shock gas was, nor did Nascar, as far as I have heard, get off your soapbox and find another subject thats more worthy of discussing. Like you say on your radio show, Nascar aint changing it, so why it is up for discussion?

Anonymous said...

I am all for guys going home who fail pre race inspection. I feel the teams that get caught cheating shouldn't be allowed to race and they should have to give their spot to the go or go home teams. These guys show up every week to get in on time are sent packing because teams that are guaranteed a spot still cheat. Its not right, not fair. Why not just have 43 cars only in the series. It seems NASCAR favors its little group of teams that bring the fans in and forgets about the rest who are there to race. Its just one more reason why the top 35 should be scrapped, top 12, everyone else races to get in.

Monkeesfan said...

Anoymous #1, you make a poor analogy with citing pit road speed limits because that is a case of a ridiculous rule. Drivers should not be penlized for "speeding" on pit road to begin with.

As for Montoya's qualifying run, Poole is correct - he should not be in the field because that outfit was caught outright cheating.

The bashing of the top-35 rule (by Anonymous 1 and 2) has to stop, beaue the concept is sound - the stars and the regulars should be in the field. The problem is it's a compromise; it needs to be extended beyond just the top-35, because qualifying is supposed to determine where you start, not whether you start.

Anonymous said...

Monkeesfan, pit road speed limits were instituted as a safety measure, so yes, drivers should be penalized if they exceed them.

Anonymous said...

David, are you prejudiced towards foreign people? You always seem to dog Montoya or Franchiti.

jamie said...

sorry i cannot remember the actual driver, but last year a go or go home driver failed post-race thus sending him home.

my only query with mr. poole is that he criticizes the top 35 yet feels john force shouldnt miss a race.

Blackbug99 said...


A bigger travesty to the sport was Mikey being allowed to race at Daytona after he blatantly cheated 2X's. That was a pack it up and go home moment if there ever was one.

Anonymous said...

Cheating is cheating is cheating. Yeah, Montoya should be sent packing. My own view is, these crew chiefs and engineers are pretty smart. They know when they're cheating so make the team pay big: Pre-qualifying violation... NASCAR keeps the car. period. use em for testing or something. The team gets 1 shot at getting in legally with the back-up car RIGHT OFF THE TRAILER. If that car fails, send the hauler home empty. Sorry bout that boys.
Waltrip never should have raced at daytona. No one looks at it this way: when you cheat, you are stealing money from your competitors. Think about that. Montoya gets in the race, and McDowell goes home. Montoya makes money, MWR loses money. Whats right about that?

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100 % that those breaking the rules should be dq'ed from the race they were going to run, not sent to the back but totally be not allowed to compete in the race they failed inspection in. When I read that Montoya had lost his pole spot I had hopes McDowell would get his last place starting spot, but alas, it was not to be.
I also think McDowell is getting the dregs of the Waltrip cars. He is a much better driver after less than one year in cup than Waltrip will ever be, yet he seems to have the most problems.
Thanks for letting me bend your ear.
Carol Lehr
Hohenwald, Tn.

john said...

The real question is: Why should NASCAR limit the pressure in a shock? NASCAR should just build the cars themselves and assign one to each driver on qualifying day

PJ said...

Have to agree - he should have been sent home.

Anonymous said...

Tech inspection is not only for illegal performance modifcations it is also for safety checks and to make sure the car conformes to NASCAR rules. Now I don't know if the shock was rebuilt and charged with gas but not calibrated by the shock guy.. maybe..maybe not. I wasn't there. To say they should go home is boneheaded. How about all those cars goin sideways down the straits or crabbin if you want to call it that. Wink Wink Nod Nod it was called just operating within the rules. Can't have the stars sittin out the race because the people paying for all those fancy stickers on the cars whould be a little PO'ed. Can you see Jr nation whipped into a tizzy because thier idol is not running on Sunday. Half of the TV viewers would be lost and NASCAR would implode. WE can only hope....

Monkeesfan said...

Anonymous #4 - NASCAR Myth # Umpteen: Pit road speed limits were instituted as a safety measure.

Reality - they were instituted as an excuse for the officiating tower to take more control of the racing. Pit safety would have meant ending the practice of closing pit road, the practice that had made pit road less safe to begin with. Before 1989 (the first season pit closure was instituted) pit safety was never an issue; it only became one with this rule.

Anonymous #5 - Montoya is grossly overrated and Franchitti is a bust. What's your point?

prof pi said...

Is there room for a little science here? The first sentence in your article,..."a warm day.."
If you recall your science classes, or perhaps you weren't there that day,...a basic law in science on gas pressure:
PV = mRT, which says in a confined space (volume as inside a shock) the pressure increases with temperature. The shock may have been filled correctly in the hauler where most teams have their shock dyno set up at most of them are air conditioned, i.e., cooler than outdoors in the sun light.
NASCAR didn't say how much over pressure, perhaps the shock person set them at 73.6 PSIg, with the idea that the pressure would increase with temperature (outdoors) and use; running the shock up and down does make them warm up.
Then at post qualifying the pressure is 75.1 PSIg, which implies that NASCAR can accurately measure to 0.05 PSIg, which I seriously doubt. Point is, we don't know because NASCAR likes secrets, as in "double secret probation" in the movie Animal House.
Unless the 42 car were simply way over in gas pressure (an honest mistake by the shock person?, as in none of the readers has ever made a mistake in inflating their tires, I'm sure), I'd argue this one until the world runs out of ink.

Monkeesfan said...

prof pi - never believe that teams make honest mistakes in areas like shocks where cheating can be masked as "an honest mistake" - like "mistakenly" putting in the "wrong" crankshaft and that's why the engine measured well above 358 cid.

Anonymous said...

They had to Johnson on the pole and NASCAR will do anything for Hendricks.

Anonymous said...


David Poole said...

Jamie -- Ah, no. I have never criticized the top 35 rule. I think it might be better at 30, but the idea of protecting the top names so they'll be in the race is good in NASCAR. That's why it ought to be in force (pun intended) in NHRA.

Anonymous 1: I believe that if NASCAR has a speed limit it should penalize anybody who violates it. Should there be a 5 mph "grace?" Maybe not, but since the cars don't have speedometers that are exactly right I can see where that comes from. But if the limit is 35 and you're going to penalize at 40 then you need to penalize EVERYBODY who goes 40.00000001 or higher.

MONKEESFAN -- Wrong, as usual. Pit road is absolutely safer with cars going 35 mph than they are with cars going 135 mph. It's just dumb to suggest otherwise.

ANONYMOUS #5 -- I have nothing against Dario or JPM. Juan is on our Sirius show every week and we get along fine. I think he does a good job. Dario didn't get a fair shot in NASCAR. I don't "worship" ex-open wheel guys like some of my colleagues in the media center, but I have nothing against them.

PROF PI -- Two things against your argument. First, I'm hearing the 42 car was WAY over the limit. Second, even if it was barely over the limit, the fact is that the other teams managed to get their pressures right in the same weather conditions. If they can get it right, the 42 teams should be able to.

Anonymous said...

That is way too funny when someone would somehow suggest that Nascar would sabotage Kyle's car, what desperate thoughts on that issue. People have had bad luck,especially Biffle early one but Kyle has basically avoided this type of bad luck during the pre-chase, post-chase and lady luck is collecting some of the debt Kyle owes. Parts break, people get caught up in wrecks and that is just part of racing.

Easy Money said...

David, you are right. How can any logical person think that an illegal car should be allowed to race and a legal car be forced to go home? That's as insane as having someone with a name like Obama be on a presidential ticket in the UNITED STATES of AMERICA!!!!!!!! Thats right, I said it.

Anonymous said...

Monkeesfan, I suppose my cousin could have ended up just as DEAD if the car that hit him while he was doing his job on pit road was travelling 35 MPH instead of the 110+ that it was.

Pit road speed limits are safety measures, first and foremost. They may also bring about some officiating conveniences as you suggest, but safety issues led the way. Period. The end.

Anonymous said...

Montoya is the best pure racer out there. If him or Franchitti either one raced for Gibbs they would be in the Chase.

Billy said...

How did the officials miss this before qualifying? Are these parts not checked then?

As far as I'm concerned, they could do away with qualifying- except for the non top 35 cars.

Or, qualify the field and then start the slowest cars first.

Anonymous said...

Do I remember right that pit road speeds were instituted after a tire changer on one crew (Bill Elliot?)was killed after cars collided speeding down pit road?
Maybe not, but a tire changer was once killed by an out-of-control car.

Monkeesfan said...

David, wrong again. Pit crashes increased dramatically when NASCAR started closing pit road in March 1989; before that the cars went 135 MPH down pit road and it was safer, because pit crowding was far less frequent. I notice you didn't even mention the act of NASCAR's pit closure rule because to do so undecuts your argument. David, don't lecture me or anyone else about anything until you get the facts straight, because all you showed here is you don't understand the sport's history and thus don't understand where the sport is getting things wrong.

Anonymous #21, no, pit speed limits are an excuse for the officiating tower to take more control of the racing. If they wanted (or want) to improve pit safety, stop closing pit road; let cars dive into the pits before taking the yellow or a lap after like they did before this rule. That rule is why pit road is riskier than it was before March 1989because before the rule there was far less pit crowding - what amazes me is a ot of people have forgotten that.

Anonymous #24, what happened was a Bill Elliott crewman was killed at Atlanta in November 1990. NASCAR banned tire changes under yellow to break up mass-pitting in the first five races of 1991; the rule, however, led to so much stroking to conserve tires that no one could race, especialy after several crashes happened on worn tires. NASCAR then tried a bizarre pit staggering system at Bristol in April 199 where cars that qualified on the inside row pitted first under yellow, then cars on the outside row pitted; this created more trouble as fewer "odd" cars were left on the lead lap at the end, but could pass the field under yellow for restarts; this allowed Rusty Walace to pass a group of cars under yellow and line up as the leader for double-file restarts.

It was after this race that NASCAR hit upon the present rule. But nowhere in NASCAR's groping did it appear anyone in the sanctioning body ever considered dropping the pit closure rule, even after numerous pit crashes such as Jimmy Spencer and Darrell Waltrip at Talladega in 1989, Stanley Smith's brutal impact into Tracy Leslie there in 1990, and numerous pit incidents on the short track swing in 1990 showed how the rule was making things far worse than the'd been before, and even after electronic scoring came on line and wiped out the ostensible reason for the rule - alleged scoring breakdowns.

It says a lot about NASCAR's obsession with control and the absurdity of that obsession that letting go of a rule it didn't need and which was responsible for greater pit risk was never considered - better to put in more regulations from above (the ideology that led to the present Wall Street breakdown) than to let go of some control? That's stupidity on NASCAR's part.

majorshouse said...

I definitely agree, the 42 car was clearly cheating and this is just plain wrong. I think that NASCAR should have sent a clear message to not only Juan Pablo, but to Chip as well.

Sympliredd said...

Monkeesfan.. It's incredible you think they should fly down pit road @ over 100 MPH.. gee I guess then it would be okay to go that fast on any freeway and not have regard for anyone's safety including their own.. come on.. get real and get some common sense in that brain of yours.

As for the person that says NASCAR car fixes the Championship for Hendrick Drivers.. specifically Jimmie Johnson.. GET REAL!! I guess you don't watch much of the races, because almost the entire Hendrick team was stinking up the place early in the season. Don't be mad that they have great personnel that know how to do their job. That is why that organization has won 7 Championships. Rick Hendrick is a great owner and very respected by anyone involved in racing.

Sympliredd said...

Oh.. David you are right about cars being sent home if they don't pass inspection. I would hate it if it was my driver, but that is the price you pay for not building the car correctly in the first place.

Oh, and I bet Monkeesfan is guilty of man-feet! LOL!!

Steven Young said...

Definitely they should not be in the race.

Monkeesfan said...

simpliredd, I'm old enough to have seen cars roaring down pit road at 100 MPH when pit road wasn't closed. The risk then was less than it is now, because there was less pit crowding. History doesn't lie in this instance - NASCAR made pit road less safe with its pit closure rule, and repeal of that rule is what will improve pit safety.

You compare it to highways - as it happens, speed limits have never served any safety purpose; they're revenue streams for bloated state bureacracies.

Start getting the facts straight before you post, redd.

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