Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Bump & Run: Should NASCAR give out 4-race suspensions for loose wheel penalties?

Leave a comment

Parker Kligerman joins Dale Jarrett and Jeff Burton from 5:30 – 7 p.m. on NASCAR America. Kligerman, Nate Ryan and Dustin Long discuss the this week’s hot topics.

The Cup team of Kyle Busch and Truck team of Chase Briscoe face major penalties for losing a wheel this weekend. NASCAR’s Rule Book says it will judge such matters on a case-by-case basis, but also states that a crew chief, tire carrier and tire changer responsible for a tire coming off face a “mandatory minimum” four-race suspension. How should NASCAR rule on these matters?

Parker Kligerman: Exactly as it reads, on a case-by-case basis. To me this allows NASCAR to do exactly what Brad Keselowski asked them to do and that is to measure the intent of the team. This penalty, in my opinion, is a drastic overreaction to the loose wheel problem of the last few years and probably should be re-worked. I believe there is a middle ground here and a four-race suspension of all those crew members is uncalled for. 

Nate Ryan: In this case, NASCAR should rule by the spirit rather than the letter of the law and provide dispensation to both teams. The rule was aimed at pit crews that intentionally put their drivers in riskier situations by skipping lug nuts for faster stops. Neither of these cases met that standard – no one in their right mind would leave a wheel completely unsecured for the purpose of gaining speed. Be lenient on these teams and then rewrite the rulebook to make an exception for a tire that comes off while the car effectively remains in the pits.

Dustin Long: Simple. Do as the rule book states. Four-race suspensions. NASCAR shouldn’t be in the business of trying to determine intent. There’s no doubt the rule can be written more clearly and should be adjusted for next year, but NASCAR should follow its own Rule Book and hand out the penalty spelled out.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. raised the issue of doing away with the overtime line except Daytona and Talladega. Do you agree with him? Why or why not?

Parker Kligerman: Yes, and here is why. I didn’t quite understand the reasoning behind this change in the first place. To me the GWC or overtime rules were introduced to allow races to end under green flag for the fans. But in creating this newest system, I believe there is a higher chance the race ends under caution than before. I haven’t done the research, but I would say in most races that ended up going to multiple GWC attempts, the leader would have been by the overtime line as the crash happened that caused the next attempt. Therefore to me, the solution was just to allow more attempts or unlimited attempts. Or this is the way it is and we leave it. 

Nate Ryan: Yes, and as my notes column suggested this week, I think NASCAR probably shouldn’t stop there. The quest for green-flag finishes has been well-intentioned, but the practice has grown too unwieldy because it’s been retrofitted so many times to account for countless situations that can vary according to the racetrack. At a minimum, Earnhardt is right that the line truly isn’t needed anywhere but the restrictor-plate tracks.

Dustin Long: Yes. Get rid of it. If a race ends under caution so be it.

Since winning at Richmond, Joey Logano has finished 32nd, 37th, 21st and 25th in his last four points races. How concerning is this to you?

Parker Kligerman: The finishes are not as concerning to me as the lack of speed. The 22 team lacked speed at Charlotte in both the All-Star Race and the 600. They lacked speed over the weekend in Dover and blew a tire. It is one thing to have speed and have unfortunate finishes. It is another when you are lacking speed. This team will be seriously evaluating the trends in their setups and feedback from Joey from the last couple weeks to see what may have been going wrong and try and compare that to what were the trends when they were fast. 

Nate Ryan: The first two results weren’t as concerning – Logano led Talladega and seemed to have speed at Kansas Speedway (qualifying second). But it’s been surprising that Logano seemed to struggle so much at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway. Given teammate Brad Keselowski’s early misfortune the past two races, it’s difficult to measure if Team Penske is way off its game, or if Logano’s team is in a mild slump. But noting how he ran the first nine races (eight finishes of sixth or better and a stage win with 82 laps led in a 31st at Phoenix), it’s clear Logano is missing something at the regular season’s midpoint.

Dustin Long: It is puzzling that Logano was off so much at Charlotte and Dover — two tracks in the playoffs. I want to see how this team recovers in the next couple of weeks. If the lack of speed remains, then I’d be very concerned.

Watch Parker Kligerman with Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett and Marty Snider on NASCAR America from 5:30 – 7 p.m. Tuesday on NBCSN.

Woman arrested for stalking, intimidation, terroristic mischief vs. Tony Stewart, family

Getty Images
Leave a comment

A Florida woman who allegedly felt spurned when Tony Stewart did not give her an autograph is under arrest and facing several felony charges including intimidation, stalking and terroristic mischief.

Sixty-eight year old Kathi Kathleen Russell – who also goes by the name Mary Kathleen Russell – of Cape Coral, Florida, is being held in the Lee County, Fla. Jail, awaiting extradition to Marion County, Indiana to face those charges – as well as violating an order of protection.

Kathi Kathleen Russell (Photo courtesy Lee County, Florida Sheriffs Office)

Russell’s arrest and the charges against her was first reported by Indianapolis TV station WRTV.

According to the criminal complaint and probable cause affidavit cited by WRTV, Russell allegedly harassed Stewart, his family and employees from March 2016 through last month after he did not sign a piece of memorabilia at an unspecified race she attended. Among the things Russell is accused of:

* Made a total of 333 phone calls to Stewart, his mother, sister, sponsors and several of his businesses, according to WRTV. Those calls came at all hours of the day and night, according to the complaint.

* Many of those calls were also allegedly threatening in nature, according to the WRTV report. Russell is also accused of playing threatening audio clips and song clips during several of those calls, according to the complaint and WRTV’s on-air and online stories.

* On Sept. 27, according to the WRTV reports, Russell allegedly sent an envelope containing a white powder to the Indianapolis office of Stewart’s attorneys, Ice Miller LLP. The scare prompted the evacuation of the One America Building in downtown Indianapolis, which houses Ice Miller’s offices. The white powder was eventually determined to be baking soda, according to WRTV’s online report.

NBC Sports reached out to Stewart. In an email reply, a spokesman for the former NASCAR Cup driver and current co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing said: “We’re going to decline comment and let the legal process run its course.”

It’s unclear when Russell will be extradited to Indiana to face the charges against her. NBC Sports reached out to the Marion County (Indiana) Superior Court, Marion County Sheriff’s Office and Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, but has not received replies as yet.

Questions and answers about NASCAR’s pit crew cut, at-track roster limits

Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images
Leave a comment

NASCAR announced Wednesday a reduction in pit crew members and limits to the at-track rosters beginning in 2018. Here’s a look at what that means and other questions about the changes.

What is NASCAR doing?

NASCAR will cut pit crew members from six to five. NASCAR will set limits on how many team members can be at the track, starting next season.

Why the change?

It’s viewed as a cost-cutting method for most teams, although some small teams likely won’t save much money because they typically don’t reach the limits that will be set. NASCAR will make crew lists available to help promote these people. NASCAR also views reducing the number of pit crew members as a safety factor by having fewer crew members go over the wall.

What position will be eliminated on the pit crew?

Likely a tire carrier position. What you probably will see is a tire changer carry their own tire. So, a pit crew in 2018 likely will have two tire changers, a jackman, a tire carrier and a fueler.

Anything else different about the pit crew for 2018?

Yes, a fueler can only fuel the car. No longer can a fueler help remove a tire or make adjustments to the car.

How much will this slow pit stops?

We’ve yet to see, but it is likely to slow the stop. As the season progresses, teams will become more proficient in what they do but it seems those 10-second pit stops are gone.

Any other changes on pit road for 2018?

Yes. Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said Wednesday morning that series officials are looking at teams using a standardized pit gun to change tires with in 2018. Teams are responsible for their own pit guns and more effort has been put into that area in recent years. Teams have had engineers dedicated to making pit guns faster to provide an advantage. A standardized pit gun will take away that advantage some teams have.

What about these crew limits?

In Cup, teams will be limited to 20 or 21 people per car. For an organization that has one or two Cup cars, it will be allowed to have three people in the organizational category, 12 in the roster category and five pit crew members. For an organization with more than two cars, they can have four organization people. Cup teams will be able to have an additional road crew position for the three road courses and Indianapolis.

So what are the classifications: Organizational, road crew and pit crew?

Organizational category includes the competition director, team manager, technical director, IT specialists, etc.

Road crew category includes crew chief, car chief, engineers, mechanics, shock specialist, tire specialist and aero specialists.

Pit crew category includes the over-the-wall members.

What about the limits for Xfinity and Truck teams?

Xfinity and Trucks teams will be allowed one organizational member each and five pit crew members each. Xfinity teams will be allowed up to seven road crew members. Truck teams will be allowed up to six road crew members. Xfinity teams get an additional road crew member for up to 10 races. They can choose the 10 races. Truck teams are allowed an additional road crew member for up to five races. They can choose which races.

Who is exempt from these lists?

Team executives, public relations personnel, etc. The crew limits are for those who directly work on the vehicle.

At Homestead, a crew member from Kyle Busch’s team worked on Martin Truex Jr.’s car after he hit the wall in practice. Will that still be allowed?

For that to happen in 2018, the crew member would have to be listed on the roster for both teams. Otherwise, they would not be allowed to work on the car. If they did, it would be a penalty.

What is the penalty for a crew member working on a car they’re not assigned to?

That has yet to be determined, but O’Donnell said: “It will have some teeth to it. I think the teams and NASCAR are in agreement that this is something that we want to work for all the race teams and there needs to be a penalty behind this when it is violated. We’ll make that clear to the media and the fans as we head into (the 2018 season).

What happens when there is a crew chief suspension or car chief suspension or other team member suspension? Will the team be able to replace that position or will they lose a spot for each suspension on its at-track limit?

This also is to be determined, O’Donnell said. He added: “Still working through some of those details. We’ll have prior to the Daytona 500 … what the final aspects are.’’

 and on Facebook

Oh, baby: Ty and Haley Dillon welcome first child, daughter Oakley Ray

Photo courtesy Ty and Haley Dillon
Leave a comment

Brothers Austin and Ty Dillon have long called Richard Childress “pop pop” as an affectionate alternative term for “grandfather.”

But as of Tuesday, Childress may soon come to be called “great pop pop,” as Ty and wife Haley announced the birth of their first child – and Childress’ first great grandchild.

Daughter Oakley Ray Dillon weighed in at nine pounds, eight ounces, and was 21.5 inches long, according to an Instagram post by Haley.

“Our baby girl waited just in time for her daddy to get home from Homestead to make her grand entrance,” Haley wrote in her post.

Ty Dillon recently agreed to a contract extension to continue driving the No. 13 Chevrolet for Germain Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Four other NASCAR drivers and their wives or girlfriends will soon be part of the NASCAR baby boom.

Brittany and Joey Logano are expecting their first child in January, while DeLana and Kevin Harvick are expecting their second child the same month.

Due in May is the first child for Amy and Dale Earnhardt Jr., and the second child for Katelyn Sweet and Kyle Larson.

NASCAR reduces pit crew members, sets at-track roster limits for 2018

Getty Images
Leave a comment

NASCAR will enforce crew limits for its three national series next season and reduce how many will go over the wall, the sanctioning body announced Wednesday.

Pit crews will be reduced from six to five beginning next season as part of a cost-cutting measure for teams.

Rosters will be divided into three categories: Organizational, road crew and pit crew.

Organizational includes the competition director, team manager, technical director, IT specialists, etc. Cup organizations with no more than two cars will be limited to three people in this category. Cup organizations with more than two cars will be allowed four people in this category. In Xfinity and the Camping World Truck Series, each team will be limited to one person in this position.

Road crew includes the crew chief, car chief, engineers, mechanics, shock specialist, tire specialist and aero specialists. Cup teams will be limited to 12 people. Xfinity teams will be limited to seven people, and Camping World Truck Series teams will be limited to six. Cup teams will be allowed an additional road crew spot at road courses and at Indianapolis. Xfinity teams will be allowed an additional road crew spot at up to 10 races. Truck teams will be allowed an additional road crew spot at up to five races.

Pit crew represents over-the-wall crew members. Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck teams will be limited to five individuals. Also, NASCAR announced that the fueler can only perform the task of fueling the vehicle beginning next season. Previously, fuelers could help with removing the left rear tire, making adjustments or some other role if the team was not fueling the car on a stop.

 and on Facebook