Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Commitment line penalties strike Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and others

3 Comments

The video was clear and to make sure competitors understood, NASCAR repeated the rule in the drivers meeting before Sunday’s race at Richmond International Raceway.

Drivers needed to have all four tires under the orange box at the commitment line to enter pit road.

Six drivers — including Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. — were penalized for a commitment line violation Sunday. Also penalized for the infraction were Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Danica Patrick and Reed Sorenson. This came a day after four Xfintiy drivers were penalized for a commitment line violation in that race.

In the rules video, which was played before Sunday’s Cup race, it stated: “The yellow commitment line is identified by an orange painted box. You are committed to pit road if you put four tires below the orange box.’’

After the video, Richard Buck, Cup series director, went over a few points with drivers, including the commitment line. Buck told competitors: “Once again, at pit entrance it’s all four tires under the orange commitment box.’’

If there was any doubt, Section 10.9.3.e of the Cup Rule Book states: “The commitment line has an outer boundary identified by an orange painted box. Vehicles are required to pass over the commitment line inside the outer boundary. All four tires must be beneath the orange box when passing over the commitment line at all Events, except those at Martinsville Speedway. For Events at Martinsville Speedway, two tires must be on/beneath the orange box at the white commitment line.’’

Truex was ninth entering pit road on Lap 368. He was among five cars that went to the outside of a safety truck between Turns 3 and 4 and had to cut down quickly to cross the commitment line to enter pit road. Others who came from around the safety truck were Busch, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. All four made it under the commitment line without penalty at that time.

“I knew I was really pushing the issue there but the field got all jammed there because of that safety vehicle on the race track,’’ said Truex, who finished 10th. “I had to go outside around that thing and when I knew – I knew pit road was open and we were pitting and I’m sure I could jerk that thing left as hard as I could and get to pit road without crashing the 41 (Kurt Busch) who was on my left side and I guess my right sides were on the box but not completely under.’’

“I thought the rule was two on or under the box, but obviously the call was that we were illegal and had to get a penalty, so I don’t know what the deal is there.

“They changed the rule I think last week on how it is, and I still thought it was if you had four at least on or under the box you were good but I don’t know. It is what it is. We were going to finish about 10th either way. We just weren’t that good today. Just one of those days where you battle all day and hope to get a top 10 and we barely did that.”

Busch was penalized 10 laps later. He was running second. Leader Joey Logano cut down at the last moment and got underneath the orange box to pit during a caution. Busch did not and was penalized. He had to start at the rear of the field and finished 16th. Fox asked Busch after the race about the penalty and he said: “Balls and strikes.’’

Truex’s crew chief, Cole Pearn, let his feelings be known after the race on Twitter about the commitment line penalties:

 and on Facebook

NASCAR suspends Camping World Truck crew chief one race

Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

NASCAR has suspended Camping World Truck Series crew chief Kevin Bellicourt one Truck event and fined him $5,000 because Justin Haley‘s truck failed minimum height requirements after last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The L1 penalty also docked Haley 10 points and the team 10 owner points. He finished 17th in an encumbered finish.

NASCAR also announced Thursday that Joseph P. Light has been reinstated after successfully completing NASCAR’s Road to Recovery program. He was indefinitely suspended March 16.

 and on Facebook

Stewart-Haas Racing, Nature’s Bakery reach tentative settlement

Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images
3 Comments

Counsel for Stewart-Haas Racing reported to North Carolina Superior Court on Wednesday that it has executed settlement documents with Nature’s Bakery.

A status report was pushed back 21 days to June 23 in the event the that the parties have not filed a stipulation of dismissal by that date.

No details of the settlement documents were detailed to the court.

Stewart-Haas Racing filed a $31 million breach of contract lawsuit against Nature’s Bakery on Feb. 3. Nature’s Bakery had two years remaining on a three-year contract to sponsor Danica Patrick’s team when the company sent the team a notice of termination on Jan. 19 . Nature’s Bakery was to have paid $15,212,000 each season to sponsor the team.

Nature’s Bakery filed a counterclaim Feb. 25 stating it did not see the return it was led to believe in sponsoring Patrick’s team.

Click here to read court document

Thursday’s schedule for NASCAR Cup, Xfinity at Charlotte

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Charlotte Motor Speedway kicks off its weekend leading up to Sunday’s main event, the Coca-Cola 600, with today’s action.

The Xfinity Series will hold two practices, while the NASCAR Cup Series has one practice and qualifies in the evening.

Here is today’s schedule:

(All Times Eastern)

11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. – Cup garage open

1:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

2 p.m. – 3:25 p.m. – First Cup practice (Fox Sports 1)

4 p.m. – 4:55 p.m. – First Xfinity practice (FS1)

6 p.m. – 6:55 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (FS1)

7:15 p.m. – Cup qualifying (multi-vehicle, three rounds) (FS1, Performance Racing Network)

Long: Hall of Fame moment is special for father and son

Photo by Dustin Long
Leave a comment

CHARLOTTE — Sleep has not come easy for Doug Yates in some time.

It has only gotten worse lately.

He can’t stop thinking of his father, Robert, who battles liver cancer. Robert has undergone chemotherapy, but at one point doctors said they weren’t sure what how to treat the 74-year-old former NASCAR team owner and engine builder who was selected to the 2018 Hall of Fame Class on Wednesday.

That helpless feeling of not solving a problem counters what Robert and Doug have done all their lives. If there was an issue with an engine, they worked harder and longer until they fixed the matter.

This they can’t.

While Robert Yates undergoes experimental treatments, Doug is there to help take care of his father. There are bad days, Doug says, wincing.

“What I see is a man who is broken down and built back up because he is watching his father,’’ said Whitney Yates, Doug’s wife. “Sometimes (Robert) is so sick he can’t do anything and Doug is there.’’

They are more than father and son. They share a treasured relationship not every boy and his dad experiences, their bonds woven early and strengthened with each day together.

Doug fondly recalls sleeping on a cot in a race shop when he was about 5 years old while his father worked on an engine through the night. They traveled to races together. Doug reminisces of a trip to Richmond where his father, tired from work, told his son, then 12, to take the wheel while he slept. Yet, when a deer ran across their path, it was Robert who asked his son if he saw that.

They often went to the race shop together. Although family, Robert was still the boss. He would be hard on his son at times, but Doug cherishes even those memories.

Robert was only teaching his son what it took to succeed. Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett won two Daytona 500s and Davey Allison won another for Robert Yates Racing. Jarrett won the 1999 Cup championship with the team. As an owner, Robert Yates won 57 Cup races and 48 poles.

Now, Doug is the boss. He oversees the “vision” his father had of the Roush Yates Engines shop, which powered Kurt Busch to a Daytona 500 win and Ford teams to four other victories in the season’s first 11 races.

“He wants to make (his dad) proud,’’ Whitney said of Doug. “He’s always trying so hard.

“Doug is always moving the bar. I think Robert is so proud of that.’’

While Doug does what he can for his father and the family business, he couldn’t control what happened at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The past three years Robert, Doug and the rest of the family came to the Hall of Fame to see if Robert would be selected. Five are chosen each year. Robert ranked sixth in votes received twice, just missing enshrinement.

Robert Yates reacts after he is announced to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Each time, Robert said the voting panel got it right.

“Selfishly, I didn’t think so, but he did,’’ Doug said. “That was a lesson for me. Everything happens for a reason.’’

As Wednesday approached, Doug Yates’ anxiety grew. It was worse Wednesday morning and throughout the day.

As Doug walked into Hall of Fame, ahead of his father, he conceded he was “nervous.’’

He also was prepared.

Doug stocked multiple tissues in the pockets of his slacks.

“If he didn’t make it, I was going to break down,’’ Doug said of his father making the Hall of Fame. “If he did, I was going to break down.’’

Robert also felt nervous.

“If I don’t get in,’’ Robert told himself before the announcement, “that’s the reason to work real hard to be here next year to get in.’’

The family didn’t have to wait long to celebrate.

Robert Yates, who received 94 percent of the vote, was announced first.

“Wow,’’ Doug said. “I’m glad that’s over.’’

His father, sitting a row in front of Doug, reached back. Doug leaned forward. They held hands. 

After that it was a matter of relishing what had happened as four other men — Red Byron, Ray Evernham, Ken Squier and Ron Hornady Jr. — were selected to join Robert Yates in the next Hall of Fame Class.

Doug stay composed throughout. He wiped his eyes once.

When the ceremony ended, Robert Yates reached his arm around wife Carolyn and embraced her.

“My family means so much to me because they allowed me to work night and day,’’ Robert Yates said. “Do I love engines? Yes, whether one cylinder, two cylinders, six or 12 or 24. I love engines.’’

That passion led him to this moment.

“I feel like I could take a jack,’’ said the former jackman.

“I don’t know if I’ll sleep tonight.’’

Doug Yates will.

His father will be in the Hall of Fame.

 and on Facebook