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NASCAR Cup: Denny Hamlin thinks uncontrolled tire rule should be changed

JOLIET, ILLINOIS – JUNE 30: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on June 30, 2019 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Denny Hamlin and his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team want NASCAR to change its uncontrolled tire rule, and team officials met with NASCAR officials at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway to plead its case. Hamlin finished 15th after an uncontrolled tire penalty at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., on June 30.

“I don’t know what they can change, but I would like to see a change,” Hamlin said. “I think rules have to evolve, and this is not about us in particular. I made a comment and it has 3,000 likes, 500 retweets, 300 comments, so it touches the fan base. These are people that aren’t Denny fans; they just don’t get it. If they don’t get it at home, then it’s probably not a rule that needs to be in place in the Cup series, because you can’t explain it to them. It’s hard to explain when a tire is just sitting there that it’s uncontrolled. It’s not moving. It is controlled. I don’t know the answer, and I don’t know how to fix it. They are pretty smart, and I’m sure they can make adjustments to fix it to make it a little more simple. But overall, everyone’s arms are a different length. So, what is an arm’s length? Do they have some kind of technology that says ‘Ok this distance from the tire changer to the tire is more than an arm’s length and they can pull a measuring out and they can measure it?’ I don’t know, but that’s just too much rules. Too many things that can change the ultimate outcome of a race. We had earned our spot up front. That’s the crappy part about it. We had earned our position up there. Then, you have to go to the back and in today’s racing, it’s harder than that ever to be able to come back. It’s virtually impossible to be able to come back now, no matter how fast your car is because everyone is running so much wide-open throttle. It changes your race; it changes how you are going to finish. It’s up to us to play by the rules that have been given to us, let’s be clear about that, but we think we are doing that. Sometimes, that judgement call doesn’t go your way and it’s been multiple times this year, that we don’t know what we could have done differently, and we are going to need that explanation so that we don’t do it again.”

According to NASCAR’s rule, a tire is considered to be “controlled” when it is within arm’s length of a pit crew member who is moving in the same direction as the tire when it is moved away from the outside half of the pit box. Also, the tire is not considered to be “controlled” if it rolls into another pit box.

In the case of Hamlin’s penalty from Chicagoland, the tire classified as “uncontrolled” was not moving, but it was farther than an arm’s length away from a crew member.

Hamlin also thinks the rule isn’t being called consistently.

“The team officials have showed me in emails what they have prepared of multiple pit stops just from last week that are identical or more egregious than ours, and nothing gets called,” Hamlin said, as quoted in an NBC Sports article. “Is it just because they happen to be looking at you, you get judged? It’s hard for me to believe that inside the system, it flags you when a tire isn’t moving. It seems like wherever their eyeballs are on that particular stop is who gets especially looked at, but we have multiple video evidence of other pit stops from other race teams that are identical. You can not draw a difference between them and no penalty. That’s my complaint. It is a judgment call. It’s not black and white. There is no line. It’s not a line that gets crossed, it’s ‘Uh, yeah, it looks a little more than arm’s length.’”

NASCAR went from relying primarily on human officials on pit road to a system that includes cameras on pit road monitored by officials in a pit-road officiating trailer four years ago.

Over-the-wall pit crews were reduced from six to five members ahead of the 2018 season. Uncontrolled tire penalties have increased since the pit-crew personnel decrease.

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Posted by on July 6, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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