FOX TV's NASCAR colour commentator Darrell Waltrip appeared on SPEED TV's Wind Tunnel With Dave Despain programme in the US this week and said that NASCAR should take a leaf out of the sports 'good ol' days' before it goes completely high-tech in its efforts to stop a recurrence of last weekend's farcical ending to the Pocono 500.

The issue of timing and scoring at the moment of caution has been a thorn in NASCAR's side ever since they abolished the racing back to the yellow flag rule mid-way through last season. Although the Series acknowledged that the new rules would take time to iron out, issues relating to what exact position cars were in when the caution flag came out have now clouded two races in succession.

Waltrip, never one to mince his words, had some interesting suggestions for NASCAR.

"A number of things come to mind," he told Despain. "One of the things that appears to me is happening, it's almost like a race team going to the race track and doing (research and development) work every week. They're falling out of races; they are not a contender because they keep doing this R&D stuff. ... That's kinda how I feel it is happening with NASCAR right now. The timing and scoring thing is electronic, and you have lines around the race track, you have loops around the race track that tell you where the cars are every so often, not nearly enough of those in the track right now to make the system work flawlessly. I would put that on the shelf. I would do something that everybody could understand.

"The start-finish line is king. Whatever happens there has always been gospel. It's in front of me, it's in front of you, and it's in front of everybody. If I win the race by an inch, it shows up right there. If I get a lap back by an inch, it shows up right there.

"I would go back, and this is an old-school thought and way of doing it, I'd go back to the last green flag lap. Now a lot of people say, 'Oh, you can't do that,' but we know that works. It's foolproof. We know that works. In the meantime, be doing your R&D work; be working on your computerized system. And when you have it worked out and you know it's bulletproof and you know it is flawless, then you put it in service.

"That's the first thing I'd do and there are a lot of other things. You know, the freezin' the field was a great idea, but we knew it was going to cause a lot of problems that we couldn't envisage. There are a lot of things that can be done, but you can't just keep saying you are working on it. You need to go back to things that have worked in the past. Races finishing under caution, they've been finishing under caution for years, and that's just a product of racing. Every time somebody complains, every time there is an e-mail or every time there is a bad letter in a racing magazine or some guy gets on TV and says he doesn't like something, we can't fix everything that goes wrong every Sunday."

"One more thing -- I would open the pits up, pace car goes on the track and you go in the pits when you want to, not when somebody tells you you want to. If you go in too early and screw up -- bad luck. If you time it right and come out ahead -- good luck. It's the way we always did it. If the pace car went out on the track, if you could get in the pit and get out before the pace car came around and lapped you, then more power to you.

"Another thing I would do, every re-start, the inside cars would be the odd numbers (positions 1,3,5 etc), the outside cars would be the even number and if there were cars at the tail end of the lead lap, they would go around and start at the back of the field. There are just so many simple things that could be done."


Loading Comments...