Saturday, February 26, 2011
Changes ahead for Talladega?
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AVONDALE, Ariz. -- NASCAR officials are looking into making changes for Talladega based off last week's Daytona 500, but admit that maybe nothing needs to be done.
The two-by-two drafting that dominated Daytona is expected to play a key role at Talladega, the next restrictor-plate race. So, what might NASCAR do before the April 17 race there?
"We're still looking at some things," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. "I don't think it's something that's broken, that's my personal opinion. We'll have to see. I think we'll just have to sit back and watch a little bit of it and see what happens.
"When I say considering things, it just means that it's not an open-and-shut case like that. We're getting some feedback from teams but, ultimately, we have to make the decisions on what is good for the garage area. So, we're continuing our internal discussions, knowing that the timeline is very short because teams are preparing for Talladega already. You can't make a decision that's so late that puts teams in jeopardy of getting properly prepared."
Kurt Busch said he would like to see NASCAR ban drivers from switching to another driver's radio channel, which happened in the Daytona 500. Typically, drivers stay on their own radio channels in a race. Last week, with cars nose-to-tail in the draft -- and the driver trailing unable to see ahead -- drivers switched to the same channel so they could talk.
"We shouldn't be able to communicate," Busch said. "Let's just say a driver wrecks and he throws his steering wheel on the dash and keys up the mic and he was just on your channel. Now, you're messed up because that channel is omitted because it's just got the squelching going on. I think we should stay on our own channel and leave it up to the crew chiefs and the spotters to communicate."
Carl Edwards said he preferred to allow drivers to switch to the radio channel of a driver they're paired with in the draft.
"It was necessary, I thought, for safety," Edwards said.
A bill was introduced into the Washington state legislature Thursday seeking to create a public speedway authority, the first step of a renewed process to build a track and lure NASCAR to the Northwest.
The authority would be authorized to search for a site for a race track and all that goes with it, including financing, acquiring permits, design, development, construction, maintenance and more.
Sen. Brian Hatfield, a Democrat, is the lead sponsor of the bill. He told The Seattle Times that the issue will "definitely get a hearing" in his committee. He's the chair of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Committee, He also told The Seattle Times that any action might wait until next year because "I don't think this rises to the level of urgency with all the things we're considering this year."
Only 40 Nationwide cars are entered for today's race, three short of a full field. With the series switching to a new car for this season, the costs have proved challenging for some teams.
This will be the first time since Feb. 2008 at Auto Club Speedway that the Nationwide Series has not had a full 43-car field. It is the first time that there have been 40 or fewer cars for a Nationwide race since Watkins Glen in 2001.
"I think it's got to be expected," said Kevin Harvick, a Nationwide team owner. "I think as the new car was coming, I think everybody knew that there was going to be some shortfalls in the fields just because of the fact that there just aren't a lot of cars in circulation. A lot of the teams that aren't able to participate, there are no old cars and there's really nothing to be sold at this particular point."
Kyle Busch was the fastest in Friday's final Cup practice session with a lap of 136.085 mph. He was followed by David Ragan (136.034 mph), Carl Edwards (136.024), Jamie McMurray (135.993) and Greg Biffle (135.716). ... Qualifying is today for the Cup series. There are 44 Cup cars this weekend, therefore only one car will miss the race.