Posted on: October 14, 2010 3:17 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2010 3:54 pm
When the NASCAR Hall of Fame decided it would induct a five-man class each year upon opening, I was on board. Though some thougt the first class should be 10 to 15 deep, I didn't see a problem.
Now I do.
With the announcement of the second class -- a class that doesn't include arguably NASCAR's greatest crew chief (at least statistically) Dale Inman and two of the top five drivers in all-time Cup wins and championships (Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough), I'm now fairly certain that the NASCAR HOF has goofed.
Mike Mulhern makes an excellent point that with 60 years of history, the HOF has a lot of catching up to do to induct all the deserving honorees -- http://www.mikemulhern.net/MikesTak
Consider that it's going to be at least three years from its opening before Waltrip and Yarborough get honored. Perhaps attendance is struggling because fans are waiting for more of the greats that they know to be inducted before they bother to make the trek.
It's all hindsight now of course, what's done is done. But there's no reason the HOF has to continue on this path. Officials are certainly in their right to decide that next year that 10 enshrinees will be chosen. It doesn't have to be an every year thing, but maybe the next year or two to get a good solid base in the Hall. Otherwise its going to be a long, slow road to see the Hall.
Posted on: October 13, 2010 9:24 am
Edited on: October 13, 2010 9:58 am
Last year I thought it was pretty clear who should be chosen for the NASCAR Hall of Fame's inaugural class. The five chosen -- Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr. and Junior Johnson -- were the five I had pegged for the honor.
The selection of the second class seems a bit tougher. I'm not sure what the voting committee might be thinking, but here are the five I'd choose if I had a vote.
David Pearson -- Many felt the three-time Cup champion and winner of 105 races (second all-time) deserved to be recognized as part of the inaugural class. It would be a stunner if he wasn't chosen for the second class.
Dale Inman -- Richard Petty made the inaugural class, why not the crew chief who helped him to a majority of his 200 wins as part of the second class? He has more wins (193) and championships (8) than any other crew chief.
Red Byron -- He had a brief, but impactful career. Among NASCAR's pioneers, he captured the first series championship in 1949.
Lee Petty -- And if you recognize the series' first champion, it's probably not a bad idea to recognize the first winner of its greatest race. The father of Richard, Lee won the first Daytona 500 in 1959. He also won three series titles, the first driver to accomplish that feat.
Cale Yarborough -- Before Jimmie Johnson began his assault on the record books, Yarborough had been the only driver to win three consecutive championships. His 83 victories -- fifth all-time -- include four victories in the Daytona 500 (second all-time behind Richard Petty's seven).
Just missing my cut -- Darrell Waltrip, Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, T. Wayne Robertson and Richie Evans.
Among my picks, I'd say Byron and/or Inman could get left out in favor of Waltrip, who certainly has the greater notoriety and could be a bigger draw for the Hall.
I don't think there's room for both Childress and Hendrick in this class. If one of them gets in, I'd go with Childress over Hendrick at this time just based on the fact he accomplished his greatest success at a much earlier time than Hendrick, who's still in the midst of his organization's dominance. Childress was the first owner to win titles in all three NASCAR national series. (Personally, I don't think anybody currently active in the role for which he is predominantly being nominated for should be up for induction, but I digress).
Robertson is an interesting nominee and very deserving choice, but after the Hall inducted two executives (Bill France Sr. and Jr.) last year, I don't believe he'll make the cut.
I'm not sure what to make of Evans, who was a great and highly respected driver, but accomplished all his success in the NASCAR modified series. He's my darkhorse, though I think next year might be more likely for him.
Posted on: September 29, 2010 8:41 am
Posted on: September 24, 2010 5:26 pm
Nobody had stronger comments regarding Clint Bowyer's penalty than Denny Hamlin, and he was strongly in NASCAR's corner.
Listen to the news conference or read selected comments below:
Denny Hamlin(12 minutes, 32 seconds)
"Our cars did have to go through twice and I'm just not sure whether it was, the front or the back, so I can't be 100 percent correct. Those cars get extremely, extremely hot and when they do they either settle down or they settle high. That's what that grace period is for and they let you go back through again to make sure because that is something that is an issue when the cars get hot. Our car came back and it was correct, but it wasn't built incorrect and that's one thing that their car was: built incorrectly."
"You can talk about how small the thing was off and you can really try to say that 60 thousandths didn't help him perform any better – that is a crock. Let me tell you something, that helps a lot. I know when we gain five points of downforce our car runs a ton better. NASCAR has been very, very lenient, I feel like, on this car and they've given those guys chances. It's not Richmond.
I think that they should just be happy that they're in the Chase at this point. They were warned and they were warned before Richmond. Everyone in the garage knows that. They're the ones who wanted to press the issue and get all they could to make sure they got in the Chase They got in it and then they were busted. They kept going with it."
"The more they reel the other teams in, the better off our team's going to be. It's going to affect the 29, the 31 and the 33. I think the only difference is the 33 won the race so he went to the tech center. It's just one of those things where I think our team is very strong and we do it, I feel like, the right way. Sometimes that makes to where our performance is behind at times, but you know what, we're going to be 'green' all the time."
"There has to be a point where it's black and white. It's no longer gray. If NASCAR let them get away with this 60 thousandths of an inch, then when do you stop, when do you break it and say, 'Now we have to penalize'? There has to be a point in which they say, 'This is it, this is the tolerance, if you go past it, you're in trouble.'
"If they let him go, then they're just going to open up the whole field to let them do whatever they want. That's why some teams choose to get closer to that line than others – because there are things that happen out on the race track. There are variables that happen during the race that could make you be wrong, but you're taking that risk.
"If you're going to go out on the racetrack and take the risk of, 'I can't afford to get one bump or my car's going to be illegal,' that's a risk that ain't worth taking. That's why we don't do it with our organization."
Posted on: September 24, 2010 4:57 pm
Richard Childress, owner of Clint Bowyer's No. 33 car, met with media and discussed the infraction and penalties following Bowyer's win at Loudon last weekend.
Richard Childress' news conference (9 minutes, 38 seconds)
“Really I don’t have a lot more to say than we said in our press release. Three things that stand out to me that we said in the press release is that #1 we were close at Richmond. And they told us don’t bring the car back. They were going to look at the car after New Hampshire.
"Well, I hope the integrity that RCR and Richard Childress has built-up over the forty-plus years in this sport………..we wouldn’t be…and I will use the words dumb enough, stupid enough to bring a car to the race track that we know is out of the tolerances.
"Two, I can assure you…..and I looked at the numbers personally and looked at the cars on the plates before they went to New Hampshire that those cars were legal when they left.
"And three, the only thing that we can come up with is why was the car a thickness of a penny over the tolerance – which was sixty-thousandths……….why the car got up there…..the only thing we can say is that when the wrecker hit the car and a couple other people hit it…Jaime (McMurray) got into it and who knows what really happened there. And I don’t think anyone could look us square in the face and say without a shadow of a doubt that that wrecker couldn’t have moved that car sixty-thousandths. That is where we stand today and we appreciate the press working with us and not that I didn’t want to talk to a lot of you that asked earlier today, but I felt it was better to just make a statement and…..thank ya’ll.”
“Well I think everybody gets close and you are competitors. When you get closer to racing for a win, they always think you are cheating. Hell, everybody thought for years that Jimmie Johnson might have been cheating but that is the competitors and they have the right to say what they feel. I don’t ever try and throw a competitor under the bus. We try and go out and beat them on the track.
"Second the tolerances that NASCAR gives on this issue I think, again I think because I haven’t seen it in writing but the numbers we were told in thickness were ten-thousandths over a penny. I don’t know. That is what we were told and everybody gets as close and if you are going to weigh a car and its supposed to weigh 3400 lbs, then you are going to get it on 3400 lbs. That is the competitor in everybody. You get it as close as you can and we got close at Richmond, but we haven’t crossed the border. And how this happened………the only thing we can come up with is that.”
“All I am going to ask for is a fair appeal. That is all I want, is a fair appeal. And I have only in the history of RCR………..I don’t think we have been but to maybe three appeals. Didn’t win any of them.”
"That's what the appeal is for is to have an appeal board to hear both sides of the store. Hopefully we can present a case enough to know that being bumped pretty severe a couple of times by a tow truck is enough to move it sixty thousandths."
"Well, I don't think it puts a cloud over it because we haven't been out of the box. This is the first time that they've said we were out of the box. Everybody gets close to the lines, no matter what the tolerance of the engine is supposed to be; 358 you're at 357.9. I think that timing for our sport with sponsors is pretty critical right now for anything to happen to a team."
"We have some ways to do it. We'll have to save that for the appeal and how we're going to approach that. A fair appeal is three men that do understand the sport and understand things that could happen that could change this out of our environment."
"A lot of work went into it. We did have new cars up there but the cars that we brought up there, the bodies were legal. The thing that we had when we started out the Chase was brand new brakes, brand new radiators, brand new hoses; every piece on those cars are brand new. When we say we brought brand new cars, you're in a box. You can't go but so far. What we did, we invested in components, parts, pieces, spindles, hubs, rear housings, you name it; millions of dollars here to win this championship with brand new race cars. And by you saying brand new race cars, that's every component where we don't have failures.
"And I'm proud of our team and I'm going to walk just as high; I ain't going to take a step out of the way for nobody, and I'm going to look anybody in the eye because I know what we did. I know what we've done to get us here, and we haven't cheated to get here. I can look everybody in the eye and walk down through here. We have did as much as anybody in the sport to get back where we're at. We've spent millions of dollars and put the right people in place and a sixteenth of an inch isn't going to make me have a cloud over my head."
"The last one (question), I would be bad to say what I really want to say. Bite your lip. Okay. The first one (question) we have one of the most sophisticated measuring systems in the sport. And we measure every car and we know where we're at to the thousandths. It's the GPS system set-up in our race shop that we know where we're at when we leave and we know without a shadow of a doubt that that car left within the tolerances, well within the tolerances."
Posted on: September 24, 2010 3:10 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2010 3:40 pm
Selected comments from Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle regarding Clint Bowyer's penalty ...
SHOULD WINS BE TAKEN AWAY FROM TEAMS THAT ARE FOUND TO BE ILLEGAL AFTER THE RACE?
“I just think they should be consistent, what that is. I don’t know a lot about what was wrong or the penalty, but I think as long as they’re consistent everybody is happy with that.”
“I don’t know a lot about it. NASCAR set the precedent early that they’re gonna be real serious with this car and if anything is out of tolerance, that’s what was gonna happen. That’s why they give you a little bit of tolerance. Of course, with everybody being racers
“It depends how you run. If you run like Clint ran last week and can run like that in the top three or four every week, and be up there and lead laps and be in contention to win – you can make up a lot of points fast, and there are some races where people could lose a lot of points fast. You never know. Stranger things have probably happened, but it puts you in a pretty big hole. It’s tough to come out of that, but the I think the first thing you’ve got to look at is their performance and see how they perform.”
THERE WAS SOME SUGGESTION THAT IT’S BEEN KNOWN IN THE GARAGE FOR A WHILE THAT THE 33 HAD BEEN MANIPULATING THE CHASSIS AFTER CERTIFICATION. HAD YOU HEARD THAT BEFORE?
“I haven’t heard absolutely anything about that. I never even heard about the Richmond deal and them being warned or if they were on the edge. The last thing I remember is the 48 and the 5 controversy, where they ended up not fining them and they were within, I think they called it a piece of paper of stepping over the line and it was getting so close that it was hard to regulate or hard to make the decision if they were legal or illegal. That’s the last on the body stuff and rules that I’ve heard.”
“Whoever cheats the best wins, that’s the old say, right? That’s an old joke and an old saying that’s been around forever. That probably has something to do with it. I mean, it’s not cheating until you get caught and whoever cheats the best wins. Those are all the sayings that are around. I know one thing. When we merged our organization, the Petty cars had better downforce on the back of their cars and we knew that because we blew ours in the windtunnel and saw a difference. I won’t talk about how
“I’d be all for it because the way I understand the system works is we take the chassis and the body over to the R&D Center and get it certified. So if you bring it home and change it, then it’s not legal anymore. But keep in mind that if you bring it home and you scrape it up and put a new panel on here or there, I don’t think it goes back and gets re-certified for every single change that is made. But if you’re bringing it home and cutting it apart, then it’s not gonna be legal anymore. Could they take every car? That’s why they have top 10 and a random and they take them to the R&D Center.”
“This discussion came up last year, I remember it. The randoms come from the chase drivers. I remember that discussion and it’s not a bad idea, but you don’t want to turn your head to the guys 13th on back that they have free reign – ‘we’re not gonna get checked so we’re just gonna build whatever we can to try and win races right now.’ So you’ve got to still keep it within reason. We often sit back and look at, ‘Are we doing enough? Are we close enough to the edge of the rule? Can we get our cars better and faster by pushing
WILL THERE EVER BE A SITUATION THAT ONCE THE CAR LEAVES THE R&D CENTER IT HASN’T BEEN ALTERED?
“I agree with you that they should be able to have some kind of test rig here that maybe they could check the chassis alignment here. Maybe they could build something to be portable more than stationary back at the shop, but the thing about that is it’s a cumbersome piece of equipment or chassis plate that they use to check, and they probably have roamers or more sophisticated tooling there that they can check it with, but that’s the other reason why NASCAR does not take the win away. We have the same winner and he still has the trophy and his name is in the book that they’re gonna print for the rest of our lives. That’s the way NASCAR has done this. There is an argument there as well is do they lose the win and the trophy? You get to keep the win and the trophy, but they take the points and the money back. I agree with you. If they brought that equipment to the race track – I don’t say never, you guys know more than I do, whether they’ve ever disqualified the winner and said the number two guy gets the trophy and the money. That’s basically what you’re getting at is, Let’s test it here before we shut the lights out and determine whether he gets the trophy, the money, the points and the whole deal – not fine him, just kick him out completely and start with the number two guy – put him up there and check him at the track. There could be a case made for that. That’s not a bad idea. Whether it’s logistically possible, I don’t know that.”
Posted on: September 24, 2010 2:59 pm
Listen to Kevin Harvick's complete Dover new conference or read selected comments below
Listen to Kevin Harvick's news conference in its entirety (12 minutes, 21 seconds)
“I think anytime you have something that goes wrong you want to rectify the problem and I think obviously that is a pretty big deal to Richard and I think he feels pretty strongly about where he stands on everything and will go forward. So when you have got a guy like Richard Childress who has been a part of this sport for as long as he has and the reputation that he has with his cars on the racetrack I think you have to look at that and say, ‘the guys are pretty honest guys’, so things happen and everybody pushes the limits whether its right or wrong I don’t know but it happens.”
Posted on: September 24, 2010 2:52 pm
Listen to Jeff Burton's complete Dover new conference or read selected comments below
Listen to Jeff Burton's news conference in its entirety (12 minutes, 21 seconds)
IN LIGHT OF CLINT’S PENALTY HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE LEGALITY OF YOUR CARS AND HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT RCR’S REPUTATION?
“Well we…………and I am not going to spend a whole lot of time talking about this and if it’s okay I will say everything I want to say about it in one shot here.
We have a lot of belief at RCR about integrity and about doing things the right way and by no means did the 33 car go to the racetrack believing in any form or fashion that they would have any trouble with tech whatsoever. Like other teams, they had been warned the week before that, that NASCAR was telling them that they were really, really close to the tolerances with that car and so there was an effort put in so that there was no issue. And of course, there was an issue, so there is a circumstance there that is an odd circumstance and I’m obviously not questioning NASCAR’s measuring abilities because it’s pretty precise the way they do it but the intent was certainly to be 100% legal and to the point where it was very clear that car was going to the tech center so there is a circumstance that is odd there that Richard has made it pretty clear that he is going to appeal it and his grounds for appeal…….he has stated so that is what it is and its disappointing.
We feel 100% confident that we don’t have a problem with our cars based on the fact that we’ve not had a problem with our cars. Prior to the last two weeks there has been no issue and we just have to believe in our measurements and believe in what we know and what we have learned and it is what it is so it’s a very disappointing thing for the 33 and its made us all look very closely at what we are doing and certainly there is a cause for concern for the other two teams and certainly for the 33 as well but we believe we have the matter under control.”
“Well, the more cars they take to the tech center, the more cars are thoroughly looked at. That is not to say that I want to insinuate that I think there are a bunch of illegal cars running around out there. I don’t believe that. I believe that in this case there is something that happened during the race that changed. I know the work that went into that car to make sure that it was legal. There was a tremendous amount of effort after Richmond to make sure it was legal so something odd happened.
The more cars they take to the tech center, the more cars will be looked at in a more thorough fashion. I think a lot of fans don’t realize the difference between teching at the race track and teching at the tech center.
The inspection process here is as diligent as it can be but there is no way to measure the cars here the way they can measure them there. It’s just impossible so just so the fans understand, the first step in the inspection process happens here. And the final step, which is a more thorough view, happens there. And a lot of people are concerned as to how can a car pass tech pre and post race but not pass on Tuesday and people need to understand that the way that you can measure it at the tech center is completely different than the way that you can measure it here. And I feel there is a great deal of confusion about that.”
“Well we all work very well together, we work hard together and when a team is doing well or a team is having a problem, we have all done it together in one form or fashion so I am not standing here today to say that it’s a 33 problem or a 31 problem, it’s a RCR problem. And if it’s an RCR problem then we all need to pitch in together to fix it and it just is what it is. I just need to think that everyone needs to understand that everyone knew that car was going to the tech center. And there is no way that something intentionally would have been done to make that car illegal. You know what I mean? That is what is difficult about this situation.
And after they got close to the tolerances after Richmond, NASCAR……….the same way they did last year with the Hendrick cars you know when you start getting close and they start looking closer at you – which by the way they should. You know?
No one is questioning NASCAR’s ability to measure cars and no one is questioning the fact that they should measure cars. You know, when you start pushing the edge and they start looking at you close, they need to look at you closer. They are here to police the sport and so when you get real close, but you are still legal, they are going to start looking at you harder so Richard was aware that most likely they were going to take that car so it wasn’t a surprise that whether that car won the race or finished 30th it was going to the tech center.”
“I understand why it is and I understand why some people don’t agree with it and I understand why some people agree with it. They have always been consistent with it at this level, but they haven’t always been consistent with it at lower levels.
I had a win taken away from me in the Nationwide Series years ago. Won the race and was deemed illegal when the race was over and they did take the win away. But at this level they seemed to never have done that.
I think consistency is important and if NASCAR decides at some point if you are illegal and they are going to take the win away there needs to be an announcement about that. You know what I mean? At this point they just can’t jump up and say, ‘well, we will take the win away’, because they never have at this level so if they decide to change that policy then that would need to be done between years or would have to be done with an announcement like, ‘hey in the future we are going to…..’. It couldn’t just be a deal where they say ‘well, in this situation we are going to do that’, because that would be inconsistent with what they have done with every other car.”