Monday, September 22, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

NASCAR must address dangers in qualifying format

Brad Keselowski

Brad Keselowski drives during qualifying for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race on Friday, March 7, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

By
March 12, 2014 |

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR would be hard-pressed to find many fans who don’t prefer the drama and intrigue of the new, knockout qualifying format over the old system of single-car runs.

But the rules have created a wrinkle that drivers up and down the grid say is far too dangerous.

NASCAR has now been warned — repeatedly, by some of the biggest names in the sport. And finding an immediate solution to what Brian Vickers called “the most dangerous thing I’ve ever done in racing” should be NASCAR’s only item on the agenda this week.

For two weeks in a row, drivers have complained that their engines are too hot following their qualifying runs. They can either cool the engines or gamble on not blowing the engine on the next fast lap.

Only NASCAR has prohibited teams from cooling their cars on pit road because doing so would require the use of a cooling box. Since few adjustments are allowed during qualifying rounds, the cooling box is not an option because it would require teams to open the hood of the car. Once the hoods are open, inspectors would have too difficult of a time policing pit road to make sure no adjustments are being made to the cars.

So teams figured out their own solution: Drivers are slowing their cars to a crawl and circling the track at slow speeds to cool the engines following their fast laps. It’s going on at the same time as other drivers are speeding along, making their qualifying attempt.

“You’re going 200 mph out there, and cars that aren’t even running are running about 40,” grumbled Clint Bowyer.

Asked for his opinion, Ryan Newman simply said: “It’s not safe. That’s an easy answer. It’s not safe.”

Those were just two of the gripes that came out of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a 1.5-mile track that has enough room on the apron to accommodate the slow cars while the cars whizzing by them making a qualifying run. But NASCAR heads to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend and the 0.533-mile bullring is incredibly short on the real estate needed to accommodate cars driving at dramatically different speeds.

Vickers said there was a point during qualifying at Las Vegas Friday when he was riding slowly around the bottom of the track and Reed Sorenson sailed past him at a speed difference of 170 mph.

“We don’t have impact data on 170-180 mph differential impacts,” he said. “If I hit someone with those speed discrepancies, that’s going to be really bad for everyone.”

What more does NASCAR need to hear before officials figure out a solution? True, the system is only two weeks old and there’s yet to be a serious incident.

Waiting to see how it develops over the next few weeks is a reckless gamble.

After spending much of last year working on a new rules package to improve the quality of racing at superspeedways, NASCAR vice president of innovation and racing development Gene Stefanyshyn warned before Sunday’s first test at Las Vegas that one race would not be a true indicator of progress. Give it time, he urged, for teams to get a handle on the rules and adjust accordingly before deciding if more work was needed.

NASCAR can have all the time it needs to figure out an aero package.

Officials don’t have the luxury of taking a wait-and-see approach on what competitors say is a major safety concern.

Do they wait for a major accident before they act? A driver injury? NASCAR clearly has something good on its hands with the new knockout format, and drivers have warned that something bad could happen unless a change is made. Why even take the chance?

Six-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson had another suggestion, too.

At the start of qualifying, cars are being parked on pit road facing in, requiring the drivers to back out when they are ready to make their lap. It makes for a lot of activity in a very short period of time.

“That initial roll-out is very sketchy and I think we’re going to start crashing cars just backing out, because you’ve got guys at various angles trying to back out and guys backing out before the clock strikes zero and the track is green,” Johnson said. “We need to clean it up a little. I think the format is awesome. It’s great for the fans, it’s great for the teams, but some of the logistics and flow on pit road could be addressed.”

You’ve been warned NASCAR. Don’t wait to see if the drivers are crying wolf.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Vaca Christian hits FM airwaves

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
CHP offers teen drivers class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Golf tourney to help uninsured children

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

Dixon Scottish Games return to Solano

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
 
Hazmat crew responds to Fairfield after spill Sunday

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

SBDC schedules free workshop for small businesses

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Cordelia Rotary to host Senior Center fall dinner

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Master Gardeners schedule annual plant exchange

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Il Fiorello Olive Oil Co. hold butchery class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
American music makes a sweet sound Sunday

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

Local governments schedule meetings

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
North Bay Pediatrics celebrates anniversary

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B8

 
Sutter Solano has new leader

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B8

Popeye’s seeks Fairfield site

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B8, 7 Comments | Gallery

 
.

US / World

32 structures destroyed in California wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Some California wells run dry amid drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

More drought forecast next year across West

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Feds censure local police, yet give lethal weapons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Melted glacier sends miles of mud down Mt. Shasta

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Crews cleaning fuel spill in San Francisco Bay

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Police say rifle carried by ambush suspect found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Gov. Brown signs clean-air vehicle legislation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

Sierra Leone concludes nationwide Ebola lockdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
2016 may loom, but Jeb Bush is focused on business

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

China, US, India push world carbon emissions up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
New Afghan president, but vote totals kept secret

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Del. authorities: Bus overturns, at least 1 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
NASA’s Maven explorer arrives at Mars after year

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

North Korea powerful temptation for some Americans

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Craig Ferguson plays it loose with new game show

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

‘Maze Runner’ races past ‘Tombstones’ with $32.5M

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Opinion

Idealists made mess of 20th century

By Jack Batson | From Page: A8, 5 Comments

 
Thanks go out to Telstar Instruments

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Pulse poll: Will the drought end this year?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Sept. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Ned’s drinking is ruining our parents’ business, health

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

Horoscopes: Sept. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

 
TVGrid Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Stanton leads Cardinals past 49ers 23-14

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Donaldson’s walk-off HR powers A’s past Phillies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Penalty nixes Raiders rally, Patriots win 16-9

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Giants swept by Padres; fall 4 ½ behind Dodgers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Armijo boys run to 2nd-place finish in Irvine

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Hamilton wins in Singapore, takes F1 title lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ex-Titans kicker Bironas killed in car crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Seahawks hold off Broncos 26-20 in overtime

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
NFL roundup: Cowboys erase 21-point deficit, beat Rams 34-31

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Hur pulls away for LPGA Tour win in Alabama

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
Logano wins at New Hampshire in 2nd Chase race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

.

Business

5 ways to protect yourself from data breaches

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8, 1 Comment

 
Native Americans getting final settlement payments

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

For Better or Worse Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C. Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Word Sleuth Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Bridge Sept 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
For Better or Worse Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Garfield Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C. Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Beetle Bailey Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Pickles Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sudoku Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Word Sleuth Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Crossword Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7