MRO's Did You Know Newsletter
#DidYouKnow ::: Bristol & Richmond
- For the past two weeks of racing, two short tracks have been in the spotlight and next Sunday the longest oval track in NASCAR will be in the spotlight. Bristol and Richmond Cup races were won by Carl Edwards, and Joe Gibbs Racing punched their tickets into the Chase. In both races, the crowds were small, but the action was huge. At Bristol, Edwards started on the Pole and won, but he had to regain the lead eight different times to secure the win (something unheard of in the recent history of the Cup series). At Richmond, his teammate, Kyle Busch seemed to be on his way to a victory when Edwards ran him down in the 3rd Turn on the final lap and ran into the rear bumper of Kyle, moving him up the track and allowing him to win. This ‘bump-and-run’ tactic is usually not practiced between teammates. However, at Martinsville, when Kyle won for Joe Gibbs, there had been an agreement that in the last ten laps ‘anything goes’ between teammates.
- Dale Jr. finished 2nd at Bristol after going two laps down at the first of the race when the safety switch on his steering wheel (which allows the driver to cut off the engine when his throttle sticks and he is to hit the wall in a corner) was automatically shut off as he was dragging his brake as he anticipated the start of the race. After moving to 8th place, he was content to finish that high until the three restarts at the end of the race found him on the outside for each restart. The outside was the preferred line, and on each restart he advanced and finished 2nd, which Dale acknowledged was not where he should have finished.
- Lug nuts were the biggest issue of the last two weeks. For the last two seasons, teams have been told to “police yourself” in the tightening of lug nuts. When the individual officials were removed from pit lane and all the officials and penalties were to an offsite trailer with camera’s recording each pit stop, the one thing that was not able to judge was the tightening of lug nuts. NASCAR assumed that teams would be ‘judged’ on the track when a tire was loose and they would have to make another pit stop and ‘penalize’ themselves. What has developed is that the teams are only putting four lug nuts on the tires and skipping one. This has resulted in several loose wheels in races and it was most evident at Bristol. Tony Stewart was even fined $35,000 for his comments about the role NASCAR should play in this area. One owner told me that one solution that NASCAR had considered was that each lug would have a sensor that could be monitored in the trailer for tightness, but the technology would cost $125 PER LUG NUT!
My suggestion is that NASCAR requires all wheels to have all five lug nuts glued to the opening and the tire changer will have to deal with them somehow. At the end of the race, in post inspection, any car not having all 5 lug nuts on the car would be penalized.
- On Sunday, Tony Stewart returned to racing for his final Cup season. At Richmond, he qualified 18th and finished 19th. He is scheduled to qualify and start at Talladega, but get out of his car early in the race to try to avoid the “Big One” that usually happens there. The move will allow him to have all points his car gets for its finish, which he needs to qualify for the Chase as he must win a race and be in the top 30 in points after 26 races.
The logic of NASCAR to allow teams to ‘police themselves’ concerning the lug nut issue reminds me of the Biblical call for believers to have ‘self-control’ in life. NASCAR does not grant ‘favors’ to those who do the ‘right thing’ for their drivers by being sure that all lug nuts are secure. It gives freedom to the teams, and ignoring the ‘right thing’ may give you an advantage ‘sometime’ (a faster pit stop can gain more spots on the track), but ultimately the driver and team will suffer because the ‘right (or wisest) thing’ was not followed. Having self-control is not a requirement for salvation. It is not a contest to gain the favor, or extra favor, from our Father. He has favored us with grace through His Son, not through our actions. So, why even seek ‘self-control” or “policing yourself?” The example of the relationship between Jesus and his Bride (believers/church) is the key. Jesus cherishes his church. He has done everything for us, and continues to do the same with comfort, advice and direction every day. When believers respond in like fashion, cherish the relationship He has provided, we respond in obedience to him. Also, we learn what pleases him; we become even more desirous of following him, because our love and appreciation of Him grows. It is not because we ‘have to’ or ‘want something,’ it is because of a deeper love for Him. In a marriage, we ‘do’ because of our love and not of our duty or manipulation for what we want. My wife dislikes taking the dishes out of the dishwasher and putting them away; so, I check the dishwasher each morning hoping I can do this for her. When she gets up and sees that the dishes have been put up, I always get a smile because she is pleased. Now, I have added being sure the sink is clean and that I put the unclean dishes in the dishwasher. I do not “have” to do this, but it is my way of showing my love for her. Unconditional love does not require action in response. It is a gift!
The DYK e-newsletter PIT NOTE is written by Ron Pegram, National Director Kidz Xtreme