Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How old school is this?

Brian Vickers finished eleventh at Martinsville. But his #83 Red Bull Toyota was chosen for random inspection after the race, and the NASCAR inspectors found that the sheet metal on some parts of the car's body work was thinner than the .025 inch required by NASCAR. That has resulted in a 150 points penalty for Vickers and 150 points penalty for the Red Bull team. Kevin Hamlin the crew chief was suspended indefinitly, according to this article, and fined $100,000. Car chief Craig Smokstad was also suspended indefinitly.

The sheet metal was allegedly made thinner by acid dipping. A better explaination than I can provide, of how this would affect the performance of the car is given at Stock Car Science, but if there is less weight in the body work, then more weight in ballast can be added, and that extra ballast could be used to lower the car's center of gravity. That would help the car perform better in the turns.

Smokey Yunick lives! That was my first thought upon reading the story. Yunick set the bar for crew chiefs, and his innovations were so subtile, NASCAR officials were never sure if what he did was actually cheating.

Then I wondered, how in the heck did they think to check the thickness of the sheet metal? It seems to be getting harder and harder to get away with cheating these days.

1 comment:

on pit row-steve said...

If it is like anything else--somebody sang like a canary. Whether it was over a few adult beverages or in the sack; someone's loose lips were busy sinking the USS Red Bull.

A very smart high school teacher of mine said the administration never worried about finding out who did something. They were always so proud of their indiscretion that they had to tell somebody. Invariably that someone, in turn couldn't keep their mouths shut--and so on.