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Transparency apparently not an option for NASCAR officials

Inside Motorsports

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Wednesday, Apr. 13, 2011

It’s way past time for NASCAR to clear up the controversy about its method of patrolling speeding on pit road.

NASCAR uses an electronic monitoring system on pit road consisting of scoring “loops” to determine average speed between spots on the track. If a driver exceeds the announced pit road speed – plus a 4.99 mph tolerance – a computer flags the driver for speeding.

The problem has been that NASCAR officials in race control are the only ones who see the computer results in real time, all the time. Competitors are shown read-outs after the fact, if requested.

Trying to squelch the uproar started by driver Jimmie Johnson’s complaints, NASCAR allowed a Fox Sports camera in race control last weekend at Texas to show video of a speeder getting caught (in this instance Tony Stewart).

In addition, earlier in the weekend, a NASCAR official posted a picture on his Twitter account of the pit road speeding monitor screen.

But NASCAR still refuses to let anyone else to see all the speeds, every time in real time.

In its effort to defuse the controversy, NASCAR only made the situation worse. By posting pictures on Twitter and allowing Fox to shoot video, all NASCAR officials did was demonstrate that they have the capability.

In turn, that just begs the question: If NASCAR officials can show the speeding results occasionally, why can’t they show them regularly?

Some sort of competitive advantage has been the usual reason cited, but NASCAR officials tromped all over that excuse by making exceptions to the long-standing policy of not showing the speeds.

The simple answer here: NASCAR officials don't want to.

What is still lacking: a legitimate explanation as to why.

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