A dissertation on NASCAR’s COT.

As explained by one Jeffrey Michael Gordon.

I’ve talked to inspectors about the pros and cons of NASCAR’s “Car of Tomorrow.” I’ve discussed it with John Darby, the Nextel Cup Series president, the Grand High Chief of all supervisors. But never have I read, or heard, or had explained to me, a more thoughtful pro/con argument than what Jeff Gordon said earlier today.

He poses a great question: What if the points race stays this tight, with more than one driver in the running for the Nextel Cup Championship, right on down to the final week of the season at Miami? And what if the championship is taken from a driver when his car fails its post-race inspection? It could happen. Very easily, Gordon says. Stick with his train of thought ’til the end (taken from a GM press release), and you’ll be rewarded:

“My opinion is that in some ways by creating these templates that go over this car and all these different heights. Too high and too low. Every thing that NASCAR does to make the cars more equal and make the competition tighter, it also puts NASCAR into a tighter box to have cars not meeting those requirements when the race is over because you’re in a much narrower window for everything to be right. If you talk to these crew chiefs, they’ll tell you. It’s almost nearly impossible to know exactly what a spring is going to do and be exact every single time and the shock, there are variances in there that we can’t live up to. We’re actually having to redo every side of the Car of Tomorrow every single race because just the flex of going through the race makes the sides buckle just enough where it won’t meet their templates. And so while we’re trying to save money and not have all these magician body men, we’re having to redo t he sides every single race because their tolerances are so tight. To me, what’s happening is the tighter the tolerances, the more the chances are of us not meeting those tolerances, especially after a race. But even before the race, going though inspection is going to be tougher. So yes, there has to be judgments on what’s plainly deliberate and trying to figure that out, but at the same time, if you don’t meet the inspection, there’s got to be some kind of penalty. I have issues not making the five-minute clock for qualifying. To me, we’ve been seeing guys be 10 to 15-minutes, I think Kenseth changed gears somewhere, went into the garage area and changed rear-end gears, came back out and qualified at like Michigan. There was no penalty at all. He came out, made his two laps, and qualified. So to me, everybody needs to be held accountable. If they’re going to make those rules, you have to be within them. If you don’t meet them, then there’s got to be a judgment as to why you didn’t meet it. If they can determine that it’s deliberate that you didn’t meet it, and they’ve got to go through a lot of different things. There are all kinds of rumors going through the garage area right now that No. 99 (Edwards) lowered their car throughout the race and expected the shocks to hold them up. I don’t believe all that stuff because it’s just that these things happen all the time. I think NASCAR has to try to determine what those penalties should be. I don’t think they should be the same all the time. But I think the reason they were so harsh on us was not that what we did was so severe in enhancing the performance of the car, it’s that they said don’t do this and we did it and they wanted to set a precedent for this car; send a message not only to us, but to everyone out there, as to what they mean on these tolerances. To me, it doesn’t matter if you’re high or low or what it is, I think there is going to be a penalty coming. I just wonder if NASCAR really wants that to happen. Do we want to get to Miami-Homestead and the winner of the championship comes through inspection and he’s an eighth of an inch low and is that 25 points? What is that? Does that win the championship or not? It’s great what they’re trying to do with this car. It’s safer. It’s definitely more competitive than I’ve ever seen it among cars in the difference in the speeds. But that’s also putting us all into a box that’s going to make things very challenging and difficult for them to make those judgment calls.”

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.

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