Nascar Post Race Inspections

Nascar Post Race Inspections

Post by grunge0 » Wed, 27 Sep 2006 12:36:26

Straight from Nascar.Com....

It does say that team crewmembers HELP to tear down a car during the POST
race inspection EXCEPT for certain things like Shocks.  Doesn't that give
the defeat the purpose/give the appearance of impropriety???? Shouldn't
Nascar do ALL of the post race inspection by themselves?

The media is fueling this whole RCR alledgedly cheating issue, Is there
one??? I don't know.  Last year RCR was not doing so good, this year they
have what 2 cars in the chase.  Harvick seems to have the busch race title
locked up, but notice that as soon as the story starting getting a lot of
media attention, harvick went from winning to a 3rd place finish. Hmmm...
Coincidence....maybe... And in the Cup Race Harvick finishes way back due to
engine problems as does RCR teammate Clint Boyer.  nice way to spin it so
Harvick is temporarily out of the spotlight huh.

Is the media to blame for this whole thing? or is there really a problem???
You be the judge.
or read below.
Passing the inspection process harder than ever
Getting through tech makes recent cheating allegations longshot
By David Newton, NASCAR.COM
September 25, 2006
10:21 AM EDT (14:21 GMT)

DOVER, Del. -- Inspectors are everywhere, separating shocks into countless
pieces, using sophisticated gadgets with tubes and fluids to determine
engine compression and measuring parts that have names only true gear-heads
would know.

Welcome to post-race inspection.

After a week of questions over whether the Nextel Cup teams of Kevin Harvick
and Jeff Burton manipulated tire pressures at New Hampshire -- an issue
NASCAR flat-out denied occurred -- it seemed logical to explore whether such
a trick could escape the long arm of the NASCAR police.

So it was off to post-race inspection at Dover International Speedway, where
car parts are scattered like Lego blocks in a playroom.

This was done with the blessing of drivers, crew chiefs, car owners and
NASCAR officials, particularly NASCAR officials who want to show that there
is no *** to help the Richard Childress Racing teams of Harvick and
Burton win the title.

The conclusion: Does cheating occur in NASCAR? Absolutely.

Does it get past NASCAR? Occasionally.

Is it tough to get anything past NASCAR? Most definitely.

"It's [inspection] as level as it's ever been,'' says Burton, who won
Sunday's Cup race at Dover. "There's no question as our sport has grown
there's become much more of an effort to make sure that we're doing the
right thing.

"And it's much more of an effort if we're not doing the right thing they
make us wish we would have.''

NASCAR goes to great lengths to catch cheaters, from the 165-point checklist
it begins the weekend with to the post-race inspection where officials check
off mandatory and random items on tear-down charts before a race can be
deemed official.

They do this without pretending to be the big, bad sheriff as was the case
10 or 15 years ago. They do it in complete sight of anybody with a garage
pass that wants to watch.

"There was a day when it was my way or the highway,'' says John Darby, the
Nextel Cup Series' director. "Fortunately, that's gone. Our position is more
aimed at making sure everybody is on an equal playing field.''

That doesn't mean teams won't push the gray areas. Many watch the inspection
process hoping to find patterns they might be able to take advantage of.

That's why NASCAR constantly shakes up the checklist, randomly looking at
things this weekend that it didn't the week before.

"I'd like to say nothing gets past us, but I don't think anybody is that
na?ve,'' Darby says. "But if they're getting by, for the most part it's
something meaningless that won't mean the difference between finishing 15th
and getting to Victory Lane.''

That's why Darby and other NASCAR officials were so outraged when it was
suggested they looked the other way on the "AirGate Scandal'' last week.

Could such a manipulation have gotten past them? Sure. But does Darby
believe it did? Not with all the checks and balances during inspection.

And not with the way tires and rims are transported and stored by
independent agencies between races without stopping at the team shops in

Why is that significant? Because most in the garage agree the holes that the
SPEED Channel reported were drilled into the rims of Harvick and Burton to
slowly release air pressure would have to be done at the shop and not in the

"The machine it would take to do that is not something you just throw on top
of the tool box,'' Darby says.

And the pain NASCAR goes to catch such infractions isn't loosely thrown

"It's imperative,'' Burton says. "If we don't have credibility we have
nothing. For our sport to continue to succeed every team has to know they're
getting the same shake as another team.''

So here's an example, using Saturday's Busch Series race in which RCR's
Clint Bowyer finished first and Harvick third, of how the post-race system

The procedures used after Burton's win were almost identical.

            5:10 p.m.

            The top five Busch finishers are held after the race to go
through tech inspection. Credit: Autostock

The race ends and the top five teams are held on pit road for interviews.
While this takes place inspectors check tire pressure, making sure there is
no discrepancy between what their charts say it should be and the other

If there's a discrepancy, the tires will be investigated further, from
dipping them in water to checking valve stems for leaks.

"Much has been made about bleeder valves this season,'' says Joe Balash, the
Busch Series' director. "I have a big bag of valve stems we've pulled from
tires and put in dunk tanks.''

The winning car then goes to Victory Lane, where at least two inspectors
stay with the car from the time it leaves the track until it arrives in the
inspection area.

            5:28 p.m.

The first of six cars begins the process, rolling onto a platform where the
height of the roof and spoiler are measured.

Six cars are the norm, usually with the top five and a random selection. The
Cup inspection may look at eight to 10 cars, including the pole winner, race
winner, top five and a random pick.

The random pick in Cup usually is selected early in the race by the first
crew chief of a car that is sidelined. The crew chief will pick a finishing
number from one to 43, such as the 12th-place car, and that car will come in
for inspection.

On this Sunday, it was the No. 22 driven by Dave Blaney.

            5:29 p.m.

The first car, which like the others stopped for a full tank of gas before
coming to the inspection area, rolls off the height spec onto another
platform for a weight check.

If it's close to 3,400 pounds with the right side weighing 1,625, it
continues on within a matter of seconds.

By now the second car is beginning the process, with the rest in line.

            5:31 p.m.

            Teams disassemble their own cars with the exception of shocks,
which NASCAR officials handle. Credit: Autostock

The first car is rolled into an empty stall, where crewmembers begin
disassembling shocks, sway bars and whatever is on the check list for the
day. It might be completely different at superspeedways such as Talladega
and Daytona, where aerodynamics play a bigger role and the process takes
much longer.

As each piece is removed and measured an official checks it off of his list
that includes between 12 and 20 items.

Most of the parts are taken apart by the teams, with shocks being the

"They do a good job of policing everything,'' says Jimmy Fennig, Matt
Kenseth's Busch Series crew chief and a longtime Cup crew chief. "I usually
like to hang out here just to see what the competition is beating us with.''

Fennig said technology has made testing the gray areas much more difficult.

"They have like 50 templates [actually 36], compared to five or so 10 years
ago,'' he says. "They've really cracked down.''

            5:50 p.m.

RCR owner Richard Childress walks into the garage to congratulate
crewmembers as they break down the cars of Bowyer and Harvick.

"It's so much more serious now than it was 10 years ago,'' he says of the
process. "They check so much more now, and they check so much random stuff,
that it's hard to get anything past them.

"The inspection process is the best it has ever been.''

That doesn't mean Childress doesn't encourage his people to test gray areas.

"You have to push the line of everything without going over it,'' he says.

He's still baffled by the previous week's report, pointing to the haulers
that will take the tires and wheels as soon as they leave inspection.

"We don't see the wheels again until they are mounted next week,'' he says.

            6 p.m.

            Clint Bowyer's car isn't rolled through the tech line until
last, since it has a more intensive checklist. Credit: Autostock

The first car is cleared, but Bowyer's car is more than an hour from being
cleared because only the engine of the winning car is torn apart in the
Busch Series compared to two or three in Cup.

By now the engine is out of Bowyer's car and inspectors are checking
everything from compression to gear teeth, using all the latest technology.

Each inspector has been through training at NASCAR's Research and
Development Center in Concord, N.C., to assure they know their jobs well.
They range from mechanics to engineers to body specialists.

Inspectors in the Cup garage are the best of the best that have advanced
through the Truck and Busch Series as NFL officials have advanced from
college. Their resumes are much longer now than years ago when a person
might be hired with little prior experience.

"We don't get anybody with a blank sheet of paper,'' Darby says. "And every
year we use more technology. As the teams get smarter in what they're doing,
we have to get smarter in what we do.''

            6:28 p.m.

A series official enters the media center and echoes what are the most
famous words in racing after "Gentlemen, start your engines.''

"Everybody has passed inspection,'' he says.

That's not always the case. Sometimes there are violations that result in
penalties later in the week. A problem never has been so serious that a
victory has been taken away.

Darby hopes it continues that way, knowing as the sport grows in popularity
so does his responsibility to keep it clean.

"I hope one day we'll have a magic tube that we can shove the cars into and
a green or red light will go off to let us know if they're legal or not,''
Darby says.

Until then, they'll keep doing what they're doing because it seems to work.

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