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Pit-road brake-checking rule not needed

In the nearly week-and-a-half, two weeks by the time the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series cars hit the track for the Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on Sunday, since the Cup Series last raced at Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, several topics of conversation have come up for debate. I guess fans needed a little something extra to talk about with the Cup guys and gal off, even though there was an exciting NASCAR Xfinity Series race with a heartwarming finish to fill the void. But that’s beside the point.

Anyway, one of the subjects up for debate in the last week or so has been the need, or not, for, yet, another new rule — one aimed at stopping brake-checking while exiting pit road to attempt to get in the desired line for a restart.

I fall in the “no rule necessary, no news here” camp.

I look at a driver trying to control which line he’ll/she’ll restart in as gamesmanship, pure and simple — similar to pit strategy, etc. I don’t want such kind of gamesmanship ruled out.

Those who fall on the side of wanting a rule to stop the pit-road brake-checking cite the possibility of pit-road contact causing significant damage to race cars. Heck, things can get physical on the race track between cars battling for position. Do we want to rule that out? I don’t think so.

As far as the possibility of a pit-road incident involving two or more cars after at least one of them break-checks — I think this is actually one area where we should just leave drivers to police themselves. Granted, drivers have shown that they can’t be trusted to police themselves in some situations. It’s more like leaving the inmates the keys to the asylum, so to speak.  But I think, in this case, it’ll be fine. Here’s why:

A car sustains damage on pit road because someone else brake-checked. I’m sure the brake-checking driver will be put in check. Also, if a driver tries the brake-checking strategy and it doesn’t pan out, like Denny Hamlin and Bristol, he or she will give up on the move. And if it does work, good deal, job well done.

And if pit-crew safety is a concern, I really don’t think this makes pit road a more unsafe space for personnel than it already is. After all, the brake-checking is going on over where cars drive to and from their pit boxes, not over in the pit boxes. That, paired with the slow speeds at which cars are traveling on pit road makes me think it’s not a safety issue for pit personnel.

Besides, such a maneuver is only tried a small handful of times a season at just a couple or so tracks, so should we really give it much attention? I don’t think so.

Let’s move on; nothing to see here. That’s my take.

But before I leave this topic completely, I’d like to address the most prominent idea mention — a “cone rule” popular at the local short-track level. Honestly, that idea seems rather convoluted to me. For one, fans already gripe about the length of cautions, imagine the length of cautions getting cars in the right order after their drivers work out what lane they want in. Secondly, don’t you think NASCAR has things figured out at least a little better than the local, grassroots guys, no offense. I’m sure it’s a bigger deal in the “big time” that the restarting order is just right.

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily).  Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on August 29, 2017. Filed under Blog by Amanda Vincent,Featured,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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