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Wave-by free passes, pit road blunders and a race too long

By admin | June 7, 2009

By Richard Allen

*The Pocono 500 was the first race to employ the double-file restart after each caution. Everything seemed to go pretty well and there did not seem to be very much confusion.

Several cars got to make up almost an entire lap because of the new policy of waving cars on the tail end of the lead lap by the pace car. A couple of drivers even managed to parlay the makeup into a good finish. In particular, Juan Pablo Montoya scored a Top 10 after being a lap down at one point.

This rule is going to get criticized in some circles but there is something to keep in mind. The wave-by cars are not allowed to pit until the green flag comes back out. At Pocono this could help actually make up a lap. At Bristol or Martinsville any cars who choose to do this are going to lose at least two laps when they have to pit under green and the leaders do not. On tracks such as Michigan and other fast speedways they will lose one lap. Only Pocono, Indianapolis and the road courses will truly allow for making up a lap for free.

*Why is it that 500 miles in Pocono seems longer than 600 miles in Charlotte? At one point I felt as though the race had been going on all afternoon and it was not even halfway.

Of course this year’s Charlotte race lasted an eternity because of the rain but under normal circumstances the two 500 milers at Pocono seem to last longer than any other on the circuit.

400 miles would serve this track much better. NASCAR shortened races in Dover and Rockingham from 500 to 400 miles. It would help this track if they would do the same. I am not one who often advocates shortening races. I actually believe some races are too short, like those in New Hampshire and the road courses.

*Tony Stewart may have won the Pocono 500 but he was unable to win The Dream held Saturday night on his Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.

That race was won by Newport, Tennessee’s Jimmy ‘The Newport Nightmare’ Owens.

* What a bummer for A.J. Allmendinger. He ran inside the Top 15 for most of the day only to run out of fuel on the last lap and score a disappointing 30th place finish.

*New crew chief or old crew chief, it doesn’t seem to make any difference. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. just can’t seem to hit his pit stall.

During a pit stop just after the halfway mark Junior slid through his stall, adding to what is now a long list of unforced errors for car #88.

Shortly after this miscue, Junior tangled with David Stremme which sent the #12 car into the wall. The television crew attributed the trouble to Junior’s frustration over his pit road woes, but it really looked more like a ‘racing deal’ to me.

Additionally, Junior was not the only one to have pit road troubles. Michael Waltrip spun twice on pit road and even Jimmie Johnson slid through his pit and was penalized for pitting at the wrong time.

*Pocono is not a great track for listening to drivers on the scanner. With its long straights, drivers have way too much time to whine and complain, and they do a lot of it.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

Topics: Articles |

5 Responses to “Wave-by free passes, pit road blunders and a race too long”

  1. ed Says:
    June 8th, 2009 at 5:20 am

    sunday just shows you jr. can not drive the new car.i am a jr. fan but even a new crew chief has not helped.

  2. QQQQ88 Says:
    June 8th, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Once again, the 88 team let their driver down. Why didn’t the crew chief install that GPS system that junior promotes? Why didn’t they paint arrows leading into his pit box? Why didn’t the crew chief tell the spotter to tell the 12 car’s spotter to get out of the way, junior is coming through? Why didn’t NASCAR let junior have some extra gas so he could have a better finish…maybe even win? If they don’t get him a new crew chief soon, NASCAR will be forced to adjust the Chase rules again…and nobody wants to see that!!

  3. yankeegranny Says:
    June 8th, 2009 at 9:29 am

    I thought I was the only one who thought the race was almost over before it was 1/2 done. Boring, boring . If they are looking at a place that needs to lose a race, it has to be Pocono, and I am a native of Pennsylvania.I thought the race was way too long because I am a JR fan and he had a crummy race but that race was awful. I have the Raceview and for most of the race, Jr was all by himself with no cars around him Doesn’t make for very interesting racing JR sounded lost this weekend., but he wasn’t the only one. With Michigan coming up this weekend, will Brad be driving for Hendricks. If he is will Tony Jr be on the pit box? Imagine if he has a good race and Jr has more of the same. I saw a picture of Jr playing race games on his computer and I think he had glasses on; maybe he needs to wear them at the racetrace. My husband says he needs to see Dr Sy Ciatrist to straight him out. Who knows. It looks like it is going to be a long summer for Jr .

  4. Drunk France Says:
    June 8th, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    This double file restart garbage is just another ploy to try and make the racing look more exciting. With the COT p.o.s. the racing will always be horrible. After one or two laps all the cars are strung out in single file again anyway. All it does is create the chance for more wrecks. I don’t want to see wreckin’, I want to see racing. Nowadays thanks to the drunk NA$CRAP is a worthless product. When the product is crap (the actual racing on the track), no amount of cheap fixes like this are going to help ratings, attendance and general interest in the sport. Start over at the end of 2003. No chase, No COT, No Brainle$$ France = Problems solved. His old man told him not to mess with it. The sport was already making the France family untold millions. He got greedy and changed it all up anyway. Arrogant little prick. Somebody please drug test the brainle$$ idiot running this ship and kick his a$$ out.

  5. Charles Says:
    June 8th, 2009 at 6:57 pm


    To me there is nothing the matter with long races, this includes Pocono! If you get tired of it, which a lot have go to something else!

    Its not that the races are too long, its that the excitement in the mid portains of a race, and Pocono does have some snoozers along with others, such as the “two forced on us road courses” a year, It that the excitement is not long enough!

    This double file restart will only help at the end of a race!
    I can see now all the ‘phony debris cautions” at the end to have a great finish!

    I still say they need to give “incentive to lead laps ” at the beginning and mid portains of a race to create excitement, not just at the end!

    Paying points to lead laps will ineffect “put a rabbit’ in front of the drivers to chase, and this means passing, not drafting!