Race Weekend Central

Voices From the Heartland: Sanctioning Body Totally Clueless Again

Just a few months ago, back in May, Brian France was asked what NASCAR thought of the new ‘two-car draft’ style of racing that they accidentally created back in January.

“The truth is that while it’s different, it’s just what we like,” France replied. “It’s close and competitive with spectacular finishes and record lead changes. It would be hard to us to say that we want any more out of those big speedways.”

Well hold on to your blow up seat cushions, fans, ‘cause France and company has indeed implemented a plan that they hope will get them more of what they think they want out of ‘those big speedways’ for next month’s race in Talladega.

In techno terms, ‘the size of the restrictor plate that teams will use to prepare and practice for the race will increase by one sixty-fourth inch and is now going to be fifty-seven sixty-fourths inch diameter. This will provide the teams with an additional 7-10 horsepower. Additionally, the pressure relief valve on the cars’ cooling system will be recalibrated to reduce the pressure by approximately eight pounds per square inch.’

Swell! Just what we need. NOT! But hey, that’s just my opinion. Let’s hear what some of the experts predict will be the result of these changes. Rodney Childers, crew chief for David Reutimann, gives his opinion on the changes.

“Changing the plates will be better,” Childers said. “It should make it more racy, where you can pull out and pass. If they are wanting to make it where people can’t draft as long, it’s going to do that. Probably only a half of a lap or a lap is all you’re going to get out of it.”

And what happens after that half of a lap? Well you’ll have to pass or swap with your partner, of course.

“That could make it dicey,”said Chad Johnston, crew chief for Martin Truex Jr. “Drivers will have to swap while also avoiding the two-car packs closing in behind them. The chances of something going wrong on a swap are going to go up obviously, but hopefully it will eliminate or lessen the two-by-two racing,”

I think I see what the ‘more’ is that France wants out plate racing. Not satisfied by the record number of lead changes that this type of contrived racing has produced, they want even MORE lead changes and even MORE wrecks, and I predict that that is exactly what we will see next month.

Then … and THEN … Brian France, or one of his puppets, will tell us how this was the greatest Talladega race ever and we should all be grateful that these geniuses gave it to us. The one sure thing that these changes mean is that ‘Dega will be even more of a crapshoot than ever before.

Will it break up the new two-car-draft style of racing? No. Those guys will still push it to the limit and then have to execute a swap while driving over 200 mph beside two other guys trying to do the same thing, who are in front of two guys who just swapped and are coming up real fast, given that they didn’t just get run over while doing the same move … yada yada yada.

Oh yeah, there will be records set next month, record lead changes, record number of mini Big Ones and possibly, record number of laps under caution.

That’s my prediction. Hide and watch!

Stay off the wall,

Jeff Meyer

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