Monday, August 25, 2008


Staying with the "gate" theme, I would like to share my thought's on the Joe Gibbs Racing magnet fiasco. By now most already ready know what happened, but here's a little background.

Earlier this year some of the non-Toyota driver's started talking about a horse power andvantage that Toyota had in the Nationwide series. Dyno test were done and sure enough, they had a 20-30 horsepower advantage (these number's have varied based on who who listen to). As a result, Toyota was issued a smaller restrictor plate than those used on the other cars in Nationwide. This was an effort to bring all the manufactures in line.

At the Michigan race, it was widely known that NASCAR would be testing some cars on the chassis dyno. This was to verify that the Toyota plate was doing it's job. Apparently, some people on the #18 and that #20 team's were concerned about this. It appears they felt that they still had advantage, and if NASCAR found out about it, they would take it away.

So how do you make a chassis dyno test ( the entire car is on the dyno) come up with less horse power than you have. You limit the throttle travel. If the throttle is pushed to the fire wall but only produces 95% of full throttle, the butterfly valves on the carb will only open to 95% and there you have it.

So you take a magnet whose thickness is calculated to only open a given percent, between the pedal and the firewall. But how do you get it there without being seen. The driver does it while still in the car after the race? I've spent 30 laps in a cup car, and beleve me, there is no way I could even come close to touching the pedal let alone put something behind it. Even with the steering wheel off. ESPN was widely criticized for suggesting the driver's did it. I don't buy it.

So that is one of the mystery's, how did they get it in there with the car being in constant control of a NASCAR inspector. We will probably never know, as I suspect a real flaw was found in the inspection process, and NASCAR won't want to publicize what it was. Another mystery is who at Gibbs knew about it. Did it go to all the way to the top? I doubt it. and here's why.

This was possibly the dumbest move I have ever seen. The risk versus reward was horrible. The guy's who decided to go through with this were not the sharpest knives in the drawer. And Joe and JD Gibbs strike me as pretty sharp knives. Add to that, as it turns out, it wasn't even necessary. When tested without the magnet, there was only an 8 horse power gain. Toyota wasn't even in the lead. You mean to tell me that a team the caliber of JGR didn't know the actual horse power the cars were putting out? That they thought they had something to hide? Very strange.

So, all that money, all those employees who might never see the light of day at JGR, all that for nothing. JD Gibbs has said that they will add to the penalties of the employees once they know what they are. But they will not fire them. I'm not asking for blood, but if it was me, I might consider letting the person or person's who signed off on this go based on a lack of good judgment.

The Geeze

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Sunday, August 24, 2008


Alright, I know this is late in the game for this topic, but a few comments have urged me on to post more so here it goes.

The Indy tire debacle. What a mess for NASCAR, the track, and the fans. Tony George has been blamed. Goodyear has been blamed and of course NASCAR has been blamed. So who's fault was it?

Tony George laser ground the track two years ago. That made it more abrasive. Why, thats it of course. We have our fall guy. But wait, we have raced there twice without near the tire issues exhibited this year. Why now? Maybe he's not or fall guy.

Goodyear had a tire test at Indy with three cars. The compound they brought to the test proved to be pretty durable, but the driver's felt they were to unstable. Now what? Bring the same compound to Indy that was used last year. They had some tire issues last year but nothing horrible. A reasonable decision one would think.

NASCAR did not hold a mass testing at Indy to run in race conditions. A mistake? Probably.
So, the big question here is what was different this year than the last two year's? The track? no.
The tire? No. The car? Whoops.

The car. The COT. You know, the one that the teams have to use the tires as the suspension so it will turn. The car that is notoriously hard on right side ties. The car that appeared for the first time at Indy this year. The only variable was the car.

Now, I'm not a COT basher. It's just not there yet and they need to keep working on it. Had NASCAR run a full three day testing session at Indy this year, would we have seen what we did during the race. I doubt it. While it's true that with Indy booked up in May for obvious reason's, the test would have been held in April under quite different weather condition's than it was on race day, I think that a tire not lasting more than ten lap's would have reared it's ugly head.

So there you have it. Not enough testing of the new car on a track it's never seen before. Was the track a factor? Sure. Was the tire a factor? sure. But I don't think they would have been had they done a full test.

As far as how NASCAR dealt with it on race day, there didn't seem to be much of an option. Do they pack it up Saturday night and go home? Yeah right. You think people were upset with the way it went, you would've had to evacuate the folks from the infield in helicopters under heavy guard.

Some people were upset that NASCAR didn't leave it up to the teams as to when to pit for new tires. I was listening to several driver's radio's. Most could not wait for that ten lap competition caution. They kept asking "how many more laps till we pit. I've got cording, Ive got a vibration".
That would indicate to me that a lot of the teams would have done what NASCAR did anyway.

Other teams would try to push it. Thats what racer's do. They don't like to pit. Some would think that if they could just stay out for fifteen to twenty laps, they could get an edge. Based on what I saw, that would have been an accident waiting to happen.

So when it is all said and done, NASCAR did the only thing they could do. As a side note, I saw some pretty good racing during those ten lap sprints.

The Geeze

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