NASCAR’s Penalty Box: Uncontrolled Tires

NASCAR changed the ‘arms-length uncontrolled-tire penalty’ after pressure from fans and drivers who complained that the rule was too subjective. Does the new rule solve those penalty problems? Does NASCAR Need an Uncontrolled Tire Rule? A wheel/tire combination weighs around 70 lbs. A 3200-lb car at a pit road speed…

NASCAR’s Laser Inspection Process: Confidence and Accuracy

There Will Be Rules… The last time I was at the R&D Center, I was given a copy of the official NASCAR rule book for 1948. It was about a quarter of a page. Now there’s a thick booklet filled with detailed specifications, part numbers, measurements, tolerances and AutoCad drawings. Weekly…

Is Stricter Enforcement of Pit Road Speed Limits Making Pit Road Less Safe?

The Purpose of Pit Road Speed Limits NASCAR implemented pit road speeding rules in 1991. The year before, Mike Rich, a tire changer for Bill Elliott, had been pinned between Elliott’s car and the car of Ricky Rudd when Rudd came into the pits fast and locked his brakes. Rich died in surgery. To…

NASCAR Drivers’ Risky Behavior and the Peltzman Effect

The introduction of automotive safety innovations is usually accompanied by concern about the side-effects of those innovations. For example, when seat belts were introduced, people worried that the belts would keep them from getting out of a car quickly enough if they needed to. When HANS devices first became available,…

A Band Aid for NASCAR’s Tire Bleeding Problem

There are three things you don’t mess with in NASCAR: engines, fuel and tires.

Tuesday, NASCAR handed down a P5 penalty – the penultimate penalty on the books – to Ryan Newman’s 31 team. Crew Chief Luke Lambert was suspended six races, fined $125,000, and Newman and his owner Richard Childress were each docked 75 points. The tire specialist and team engineer were suspended for six races as well. RCR is appealing the penalty, but I wager they’ve got an uphill battle.

NASCAR’s made its stand loud and clear in the last few weeks. Tire bleeding will not be allowed. If you persist in trying, they’ll come down hard on you.

An Open Letter to Randy LaJoie: What the Media Hasn’t Said.

It was quite a surprise getting into the car Tuesday and turning the radio to my favorite Sirius NASCAR  show.  A very distraught Randy LaJoie was explaining that NASCAR was about to announce that they had suspended him for testing positive for marijuana.  The details are widely available, so I…

Eight Issues NASCAR Needs to Address in 2010

Because NASCAR likes nothing better than unsolicited suggestions, right? If I could change just one thing about NASCAR during the off season, it would be banning people from calling into Sirius radio talk shows and suggesting versions of The Chase that rival the BCS and string theory for complexity.  If…

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