By admin | May 18, 2009
By Richard Allen
Were some teams in the Sprint All Star Challenge using tricked up transmissions or some other unapproved gadgets to help them get going on the restarts?
I have no way of knowing, but at least one driver thinks something was not exactly above board when it came to getting going on those all important late race restarts.
If a team were to ever try to â€˜get into the gray areaâ€™ this would have been a good race to do it. After all, it was a non-points race so to have something go wrong and cause a DNF would not be so damaging in the grand scheme of things.
â€œThe 24 and the 18 have something going on in the transmission or something like traction control,â€ the accusing driver told his crew. â€œThey downshift to 1st coming to the green, then shift to 2nd at the restart and never spin the wheels.â€
There was not necessarily an accusation of cheating. Perhaps the comment was meant as a wish for having the same â€˜gray areaâ€™ gadget.
In such short races, or segments, getting going on the restarts is essential. For $1 million it may well be worth the risk of getting caught, if the teams were indeed doing something illegal.
Ultimately, if there was anything going on with those two cars it may have come back to bite them when the two got going so well at the start of the final 10 lap segment and eventually got into and eliminated each other.
This race has had a reputation of teams â€˜pushing the envelopeâ€™. Ray Evernhamâ€™s Jurassic Park car prepared for Jeff Gordon comes immediately to mind.
There may not have been anything going on at all. This could have simply been a case of the imagination of a driver who wanted to be higher up in the running order.
If indeed there was something going on that was either illegal or in the gray area look for several cars dropping out of the next couple of races for the same reason. Then, look for everyone in the garage to be talking about having something new, or there to be a new rule against whatever this thing is.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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