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Blog Entry

Road racing weekend - part two

Posted on: June 26, 2011 9:58 am
By Pete Pistone

After spending a wild and to say the least crazy day at Road America on Saturday covering the Nationwide Series race, I'll turn my attention to the west coast and Sunday's Sprint Cup Series Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway. 

There's no reason to believe Sunday's Cup affair won't be any less nutty than what took place Saturday at the four-mile course in ELkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Maybe there won't be a bizarre triple overtime finish with leaders running out of gas and NASCAR needing to review video as well as timing and scoring loops to declare the winner as was the case in the Nationwide race. But stock car racing on road courses, especially in recent years, have had a knack for providing some pretty dramatic and yes chaotic moments.

The strangeness seems to have already started in Sonoma with this story from The Sporting News outlining the pit stall selections teams have made for today's race:

At an oval track, it's a no-brainer that the top qualifier will choose pit stall No. 1, closest to the exit from pit road. So why did Greg Zipadelli, crew chief for polesitter #20-Joey Logano, choose pit stall No. 11-just short of the start/finish line-for Sunday's race? Quite simply, there are considerations at the 1.99-mile road course that don't apply at an oval track. Here's the explanation: 

Given the likelihood of green-flag pit stops and the danger of running out of fuel, Zipadelli opted for a pit stall that gives the team room to push-start the car in a situation where it's out of gas. There's a small opening in front of pit stall No. 11, which would give the team room to push the car without rolling through another team's pit box. 

AJ Allmendinger's crew chief, Mike Shiplett, chose pit stall No. 1 with the seventh pick. Yes, there's a clear exit from pit road, but there's also a risk. If Allmendinger happens to run out of fuel, his team won't be able to push-start the car, because of the proximity of pit stall No. 1 to the racing surface.

That's why the first 10 stalls at Infineon aren't popular picks with most crew chiefs.

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Category: Auto Racing
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