By admin | May 17, 2010
By Richard Allen
It seems as though NASCAR goes out of their way to give conspiracy theorists(like I often am) all the ammunition they need to make accusations against the sanctioning body. One area in particular is that of pit road speeding violations.
This past weekend Jimmie Johnson was penalized for being too fast on the exit of pit road after his last stop of the day in the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover.
“I don’t know how it’s possible,” Johnson declared over his team radio after being informed of his violation. “I got passed exiting.”
NASCAR tells the teams and the broadcast networks exactly where on pit road the violation occurred. However, all anyone really has to go on is their word. That, of course, leads to speculation and innuendo.
On the other hand, many would argue that since it was Johnson who was caught on Sunday there is proof that no conspiracies are in place because it is his team that is often believed to be favored.
Perhaps the most well known speeding infraction took place in Indianapolis last year. Juan Pablo Montoya was busted when it appeared as though he was on his way to the biggest moment of his brief NASCAR career. After dominating much of that race and seemingly only needing to coast to victory he was issued a penalty which cost him the win.
Montoya, much like Johnson on Sunday, could not believe he had been speeding. He protested vehemently over his team radio but to no avail.
NASCAR could end all the complaints by drivers and the speculation by everyone else if they would simply allow the television networks access to the telemetry used to gauge pit road speeds. After all, this is not something that is a judgment call. The car is either too fast or it isn’t.
Instead, as they so often do, NASCAR has chosen to make it hard on themselves.
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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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