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Severity of No. 8 penalty not surprising
Tom from Las Vegas, Nev.: How can Tony Eury Jr.'s 100 points/$100,000 penalty for unapproved brackets be equal to Michael Waltrip's team using jet fuel? Or, will all penalties increase every time, regardless of the infraction?
Larry McReynolds: I may have been a little surprised at the severity of the penalty: the 100 points, $100,000 and the suspension for six points races and the all-star race. But over the winter, I worked with NASCAR to learn as much as possible about the Car of Tomorrow. With a lot of feedback from owners, NASCAR's New Car was created so each team wouldn't have to build a dozen and a half cars to race the full schedule. The teams have to have so many current cars to do different things with the body, even with all of the templates that we have. For the Car of Tomorrow, NASCAR created an egg crate, which we call "The Claw," to tie all of these templates together. It prevents teams from twisting, pulling down and pushing up parts of the body. There are reference points, including the wing, for every car on the egg crate. NASCAR was adamant that these wing-mounting brackets didn't have to be purchased from one source or each team could make them. Regardless of how you made or obtained them, they had some very strict, zero-tolerance specifications for holes, hole location, thickness, size and shape because the egg crate ties into those points on the car. If those brackets are off, it throws off the whole egg crate.
When I think about it that way, I'm not surprised, but does it warrant the same penalty that was levied against Michael Waltrip for a foreign substance in his engine? That surprised me a little bit. But it's NASCAR's way of looking at the other crew chiefs and saying, "We told you we were not going to play with these brackets." Since the brackets are so critical and crucial, I wish NASCAR would have instituted the same guidelines that they use for roof flaps. You have to run them, and you have to get them from one source. Such a guideline could have prevented this problem.
Inspection explainedKY1WING from Owensboro, Ky.: How many inspections did the car go through? What did NASCAR look at during each inspection?
Larry McReynolds: NASCAR uses the egg-crate template to check the brackets as each car is unloaded at the track. After that, it's random. They may check random cars before or after qualifying. It's a random deal, which is good because teams can't think, "Well, they're not going to check it after qualifying so we'll do something for qualifying and then we'll change it back for the race." NASCAR laid down some very strict specifications for every element of these brackets because it's not only what holds the rear wing, but it dictates where the egg crate touches the car. That's why this penalty was so severe because you cannot run unapproved wing-mounting bracket.
|Speed Mail Larry McReynolds|
Can't determine intentChris from Dayton, Ohio: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s offense wasnt deliberate, and Jeff Gordon's Duel 150 infraction wasn't deliberate. Sounds the same so why are the penalties different?
Larry McReynolds: Regardless of whether it was intentional, unintentional, accidental, NASCAR is trying to prevent this from happening again with these cars by issuing a severe penalty at an early stage in the use of the New Car.
Barbecue previewPossum from Buffalo, N.Y.: Hi Larry, I don't know why I am going to tune into SPEED Thursday at 7 p.m. ET for Larry Mac's All-Star Barbecue Weekend Kick-off Party (nobody is going to be keeping a score or nothing) but I am. What are you cooking and who's doing it? My favorites are slow cooked country spare ribs and half chicken, and don't forget the all important BAKED BEANS. Larry McReynolds: We actually have a group this year that's sponsoring the show, Famous Dave's Legendary Pit Barbecue. They're handling the menu and the cooking, from what I have heard about their food, nobody will leave the barbecue hungry.
FOX race analyst Larry McReynolds has more than 25 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, crew chief and broadcaster. He and his fellow Crew Chief Club members take you behind the wall at www.crewchiefclub.com.
"How to Become a Winning Crew Chief" is on bookstore shelves, or you may order your own autographed copy from www.DWStore.com.