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Drivers, crew chiefs sound off on speeding penalties

By admin | June 10, 2012

By Richard Allen


Everyone knew the recently repaved Pocono Raceway would be faster than ever before but what no one foresaw was that the greatest speed increases would take place on pit road. Time after time during the early phases of the Pocono 400 on Sunday afternoon drivers were caught speeding during their pit stops.

Needless to say, those who were penalized were not pleased. Drivers and crew chiefs protested vehemently into their team radios regarding the unexpected situation.

In all, twenty-two speeding penalties were handed down by NASCAR to a total of thirteen drivers throughout the day. The vast majority of those penalties occurred in the final segment of pit road.

Not surprisingly, virtually every driver and crew chief disagreed with their penalty when it was called.

“Dude, I was 200(RPMs) under,” Brad Keselowski said after he was hit with the first of his two speeding penalties. “Tell (NASCAR race director David) Hoots he’s got his lines messed up because I didn’t speed and half the field didn’t speed either.”

Kevin Harvick was even more adamant after he was nabbed for being too fast on the exit of pit road. “There’s no way that was us,” he insisted. “If that’s us we’re way off. They’ve got something f***ed up because I wasn’t even close.”

Harvick went on to state his belief that NASCAR should rectify the situation. “They need to stop the race and give everybody their spots back,” he told his crew.

Like Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson was hit with speeding penalties on multiple occasions. Crew chief Chad Knaus eventually warned his driver to be extra cautious in the segment of pit road most responsible for the issues. But at the same, he also believed the fault for the problems lay with NASCAR and not the teams being caught. “You’ve just got to be really conservative from first pit box out to the last scoring line,” he told Johnson over the team radio. “Everything else is perfect which means we’re not wrong.”

NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton did not share Knaus’s viewpoint. His belief was that after the repave and the change in the timing loops on pit road the teams did not make the proper adjustments. “This track’s gone under a lot of reconfiguration since last year,” he said after the race. “It’s a brand new pit road, all brand new loops, positions have been changed since last year. Sections were smaller than they were last year throughout pit road and, actually, the last section is a little bit bigger.”

Drivers are always looking to take advantage of the timing segments on pit road by speeding up and slowing down at certain points to beat others onto the tracks. With passing so difficult on the track, positions made up on pit road can mean the difference in a good day and a bad day. On this occasion, it would seem as though a change caught some teams off guard.

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12 Responses to “Drivers, crew chiefs sound off on speeding penalties”

  1. Tyler West Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 6:12 am

    It’s all good until Johnson and Knaus don’t get their way. They got caught, DEAL WITH IT!!! They get away with everything. At least it’s other divers sounding off on something. Because if it had been one of the Busch brothers saying it they would have been accused of complaining. Hell Johnson still ended up in the top five. That should tell how bad that race was. The “PC police” won’t go after any of these guys.

  2. 61 starliner Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 6:32 am

    Pemberton, is full of Sh–. NASCAR the dictator is never wrong NOT!!!
    You know the fans would not be so distrustful of NASCAR if they would just own up to their mistakes. Just like in other sports when the officials screw up, they admit it and move on, but NASCAR has never admitted it when they are wrong. Consequently, we as fans know they are liars, and therefore believe everything else they do or say is fixed or not true at the least

  3. mikeyfan Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Truex Jr. was one of the first and he admitted he took off before he got to the cone believing he was past the last scoring segment. NASCAR put a 10th section in right after the 1st pit to keep those coming from the first 4 pits from passing those who were ahead of them and had to maintain speed to the cone verse those who had no scoring line between them and the cone. It worked. And for that I commend NASCAR. I hope they do the same thing at Michigan and other tracks. Tired of seeing the drivers in the first 2 or 3 pit boxes pass others who have to maintain speed while they exit the pits a 20 to 30 MPH faster.

  4. mikeyfan Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Tyler if it had been one of the Busch brothers complaining the so called journalist would have told NASCAR they were calling them names and threatening them hoping to see them suspended. What are you thinking?

  5. pixboy Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Mikeyfan … and we… the fans would be the ones censored by the journalists (at least on GODs site) for not agreeing with them.

    All in all you simply can’t have a record shattered by 1.5 times the old record unless something is wrong with either the loop or the calculations they used. Not when you’ve had how many years of pit road speeds. Face it NASCAR SCREWED UP. They won’t admit it (as usual). That’s why NASCAR is such a joke to the other sports.

  6. Russ Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 9:55 am

    When was the last time a driver or race team admitted they did anything wrong? Doesn’t happen.
    Not excusing Nascar they created the distrust that people have for them and fully deserve it.
    But maybe we cant believe the teams either.

  7. pixboy Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Russ why should the teams admit anything. Everything Pemberton does is strictly a judgement call. There isn’t a rule book as time and time again has been pointed out. How can teams admit anything when there are no published rules? And even when there are clear cut rules like templates that the car passes and yet still NASCAR says a car is illegal. Explain how any team can admit they are wrong?

  8. Conelly Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 11:35 am

    The speeding penatlies were Kurt Busch’s fault.

  9. Bill B Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Sounds like Mikeyfan hit this one on the head. By placing that extra timing line after the usual pit road exit line I think that a lot of drivers thought they were officially “off of pit road” when there was still one more timing line.

    That doesn’t change the fact that NASCAR is usually FOS when they say “we didn’t make a mistake”.

  10. Wayne T. Morgan Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Remember dear fans there are only two people in the world that are right 100%. NA$CAR and God.

  11. Jerome Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Don’t have scoring loops and then maybe the teams would not try to game the system like they do now. Pit road speed should be the same fromt he start of pit road to the end of pit road.

    great article Rich

  12. mikeyfan Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    One last thing, The speeding penalties are posted for everyone to see in the press booth I do believe. That way they can’t say JJ didn’t speed when he did. don’t here people in the booth saying it didn’t happen. And 22 penalties amoung how many teams? 14 I do believe that leaves 29 teams who didn’t speed. Meaning someone got the memo.