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Of the 2019 package and rules changes, the most exciting new rule on the books this season moves post-race inspection to the track itself instead of the cars being taken to the R&D Center in Concord North Carolina. The first and second place cars and a third, randomly chose car will be pulled for inspection as usual; however, the teardown of the vehicles will take place at the track itself. If a “major” infraction is found the win will be immediately taken away from the driver. Let me repeat that: thewin will be taken away and directly credited to the second place car (providing they pass inspection as well. There are no incumbered wins anymore. If a driver has the win taken away, they will be scored last and receive one point.

This is excited and precisely what fans have been wanting and calling for.

There will also be stiffer penalties for failing pre-qualifying and pre-race inspections. If a car fails pre-qualifying inspection, it will not be allowed to qualify at all. There will also be the removal of team members (I am assuming at least the car chief) from the team and practice time will be docked.

For pre-race inspections, if a car fails twice, it immediate starts at the rear of the field. If it fails three times, the car will suffer a pass-through penalty after the beginning of the race. The result of driving down pit road (at the pit speed limit) while the race is green will be more devastating to the team and put them at a disadvantage of having to make up positions, possibly even a lap depending on the track.

NASCAR is meaning business with these stiffer penalties. Personally, I am a fan of moving the inspections to the track. It means that we don’t have to wait for DAYS to find out if there are any penalties. Stiffing the penalties to pre-qualifying and pre-race inspection means we won’t have any of these cars who can’t get through inspection because they are running through so many times. You fail, you get one chance to make it right without penalty. Then you start to suffer consequences. I like it.

Have a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2019 from your friends at BadGroove.com

 

Merry Christmas From BadGroove.com

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The one thing missing from my December was going to the Champion’s Week festivities in Vegas in celebration of Joey Logano’s 2018 Monster Energy Series NASCAR Cup victory. Previous Champion’s weeks were always fun for me- you can see some of my previous posts about it:  Champions Week 2017 and Champions Week 2016 and Champions Week 2015 (there are more- I had previously been to every Champions week since they started having them in Vegas).  This year there weren’t enough fan events beyond watching the drivers walk into the awards banquet- and going to the fan viewing of the luncheon.  It has been sad to watch Champions Week in Vegas decline as it as. They did move the burnouts to be the weekend of the fall race in Vegas- which I didn’t go to because I frankly had other obligations that weekend that I would instead do- or I would have been there. There was no After The Lap, which was always a favorite. It seems to me that they are likely getting ready to move the banquet over to the Hall of Fame in North Carolina. At least that is what I assume they are doing since the 2018 NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver (Chase Elliott) complained about having to go all the way to Vegas three times a year on the Vegas evening news (I might not have been there…but I know people). It doesn’t ingratiate one with the locals that is for certain.  Sad because I have always enjoyed traveling to Vegas to see the different Champion’s Week Events AND I have met people at the various events who traveled way farther than me to get there.

One thing I am excited about for 2019 however, is to see some of the new driver/team combinations. Kurt Busch to Chip Ganassi (which he had stayed at SHR), Martin Truex Jr to Joe Gibbs Racing, and while not a driver/team pairing I am also interested to see how Jimmie Johnson will do with a new crew chief and how William Byron will do under Chad Knaus.  It will be an exciting season for certain.  What are you looking forward to this season??

 

(photo source: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Photo: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

I have seen two schools of thought regarding the actions on the last lap of the race on Sunday at Martinsville:

1. Joey Logano was racing for the win, for his chance at the championship.

2. Logano is a dirty driver and punted Martin for the win. (more…)

When I saw that Dale Earnhardt Jr had a book out, I one-clicked it on my Kindle without even reading the description. I figured if NOTHING else I could use Racing To The Finish: My Story as another book review for ye old racing blog. I will say that while the book was not what I expected, it was good and some of it hit a little close to home for me- someone who hasn’t suffered a concussion in her life, But I am getting a bit ahead of myself here.  Since I didn’t read the description, I had expected the book to be a general memoir.  It is not.

This book does detail  Dale’s life story but only referentially. The focus on this book is his experiences with concussions in NASCAR. The book starts with a Forward by Dr. Michael “Micky” Collins, the Director of UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program before Dale dives into anything. In the Forward, Micky, as he’s referred to throughout the book, talks about his experiences working with Dale throughout many years with his concussions.

As a clinician in charge of his car, I never really worrkied about the return-to-racing issue; I was much more focused on his living his life without the burden of and hypervigilance about his debilitating symptoms.   – Dr. Michael Collins, Racing To The Finish.

As you will find out as you read the book these symptoms varied both in manifestation and severity depending on the concussion. (more…)

Image borrowed from the Stewart-Haas Racing Facebook Page

I mentioned in my last post about the dominance of Ford this season, specifically the SHR Fords. While yes a few of the SHR drivers only made it into the round of 8 by the skin of the teeth the point is they made it.  That is an impressive feat.

Think about this little factoid: Stewart-Haas Racing drivers now make up HALF of the playoff field.  HALF!!!  I think that might be considered a fairly impressive showing. I hope that any detractors who were vocal about the team switching manufacturers are eating their words right now.  I do not deny that there wasn’t a money factor involved- but the fact that under the bowtie SHR would have never likely gotten the resources or opportunity to be the powerhouse team for that manufacturer- those claims have always gone to HMS.  I think you could pretty much say that right now SHR is the powerhouse team for the blue oval right?  For those keeping track of manufacturers in the round of eight, there are five Fords  (all of the SHR drivers and Joey Logano), two Toyotas (Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr) and one lone Chevy (Chase Elliott).  Stewart-Haas Racing has every reason to proud as heck of their hard work right now.

(Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Back when SHR announced that they would be moving to Ford as their manufacturer there was a huge segment of the community that balked at the switch in manufacturer. I have long said that I could understand the reason- with FORD SHR had the opportunity to be the top team for their manufacturer. They would never get that support from Chevy- who puts all of their support over to Hendrick Motorsports. With Ford as their manufacturer, Stewart-Haas Racing has the change of becoming more of a rival to Hendrick Motor Sports. With Stewart-Haas Racing’s impressive performance all season, it has become clear to me that they are indeed working on becoming a real rival of HMS/Chevy. (more…)