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Martin Truex Jr. on why his merry ‘bunch of misfits’ were title worthy

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CHARLOTTE – There has been much speculation about how a Denver-based team quickly morphed from underdog to champion in NASCAR’s premier series.

Martin Truex Jr. has a simple explanation for what caused Furniture Row Racing to jell so quickly since joining a team that finished 24th in the 2014 points standings.

“A bunch of misfits got together,” the 2017 series champion said with a laugh during the latest NASCAR on NBC podcast. “Nobody else wanted us all, so we just ended up together. I don’t know that you can formulate the plan or hand-pick all the people you wanted to have the chemistry we have.

“We’re all so different. Our personalities are very different. Our hobbies are very different. Our political views are very different. But yet we go to the racetrack, and we all think as one. It’s just the most incredible thing I’ve ever been part of, and I don’t know that you can just see that coming. That’s just one of those things that you throw in a pot and stir it up and (say), ‘There it is. Let’s see what it tastes like.’ ”

The yin and yang of the team is perhaps best exemplified by the relationship of crew chief Cole Pearn and engineer Jeff Curtis.

“They are complete opposites,” Truex said. “When it comes to the race cars, they’re on top of things. They’re thinking ahead of each other. It’s crazy the way they work together.”

During an appearance on the podcast last year, Pearn explained that a running joke at Furniture Row Racing is asking “Who’s in charge of that?” because the team eschews the hierarchy employed by many large teams. Truex said the emphasis on more autonomy breeds goodwill among team members.

“It’s fun for me because it just has that small-team feel, kind of old-school feel,” Truex said. “We have a lot of fun. It’s not so serious all the time. It’s hard to believe because we’ve had so much success but also because of that, our guys have more fun, they don’t feel as much pressure.

“We’ve all been in situations that we hated before that we didn’t like and weren’t successful in, and we understand parts of the reason we weren’t successful is we weren’t happy. At the same time, our guys have no problem being held accountable if they screw up. You can yell at them all day long, and we go out to dinner and everyone is best friends again. I think it’s all part of like being the runt of the litter. Whether we got fired or lost our job or ride or whatever it may be.”

Truex said that includes Pearn, who is in his second go-around with the team.

“Cole got fired at Furniture Row the first time he was there” in 2011, Truex said. “So it’s almost like this is all everyone’s homecoming. A last hurrah, ‘we’re going to show them’ kind of deal.”

On the podcast, Truex also discusses:

–His Philadelphia Eagles fandom and first trip to the Super Bowl this weekend (he’ll be making some appearances with NBC Sports);

–The career crossroads at which he signed a contract extension with Furniture Row for below market value because “Do I want to be successful or do I want to make good money?”;

–The 2018 outlook for Furniture Row, which is returning to a single car.

Click on the embed above to hear the podcast or listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify or wherever you download podcasts.

Cup commuter: Trevor Bayne has a long drive (or a short flight) to work

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CHARLOTTE – Trevor Bayne will be commuting to Roush Fenway Racing farther than he races for the team on most weeks in NASCAR’s premier series this season.

The Knoxville, Tennessee, native relocated his family last December from the Charlotte area to his hometown, which is more than 200 miles from Roush’s headquarters in Concord, North Carolina.

Bayne, though, plans to travel weekly to his team’s shop so he can meet with officials and crew members on Tuesday or Wednesday.

“They’ve been great with it,” Bayne said during the NASCAR on NBC podcast of Roush’s reaction to the move. “As long as I’m committed in getting my work done, they shouldn’t know a difference.

“A lot of drivers will (use video conferencing) or call into the meeting, and it’s like being there, but I actually want to be present as much as possible for the guys who aren’t in the meeting. The guys working in the shop or body shop that want to see you and know what’s going on to know that you’re committed.”

Bayne said he was encouraged by drivers (such as Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott) who have enjoyed out-of-state residency while racing for North Carolina-based teams.

His Knoxville home is about a three and a half hour drive to Roush Fenway, but Bayne plans on mostly flying to work. He is working on a pilot’s license and can rent planes while compiling his required hours for certification.

“Last year I started flying a little bit, and it’s a really short flight to get there,” Bayne said. “A little treacherous over the mountains. You’ve got to pay attention, but I feel it’s good for my mental state to travel back and forth and spend time with the guys.”

With two children under 2, it also will be good for childcare. The parents of Bayne and his wife, Ashton, live in Knoxville. “I really think this is going to be great for my racing and for our personal health,” he said. “Having grandparents around for a night a week if Ashton and I want to go on a date night or if I’ve got an appearance somewhere. … I think it’s going to be a really good thing.”

Bayne finished 22nd in the points standings last season, his third full time in the Cup Series. The 2011 Daytona 500 winner had a career-best six top 10s.

“Last year, we had a lot of big changes on our team with structure and different people,” he said. “This year, it’s more about refining those changes and seeing where we missed the gaps.”

You can hear Bayne at the 13:00 mark of the podcast, which also features William Byron, Aric Almirola, Michael McDowell, AJ Allmendinger and Clint Bowyer.

Click on the embed above to hear the podcast or listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify or wherever you download podcasts.

Jimmie Johnson: ‘Everywhere we look, there’s change’ at Hendrick

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CHARLOTTE – Half of Hendrick Motorsports’ driver lineup will be new in 2018, but that only represents the surface level of the team’s massive overhaul for this season.

In a visit to the NASCAR on NBC podcast during this week’s preseason Media Tour, seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson outlined the structural facelift of its sprawling 140-acre campus near Charlotte Motor Speedway. After running its four cars in pairs based out of two buildings for more than a decade (last season, Johnson’s No. 48 and Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 were in one shop with the teams of Chase Elliott and Kasey Kahne next door), Hendrick has redesigned its approach and will bring many of its processes under one roof.

“Everywhere we look, there’s change,” Johnson said. “Our two shops are now one. The process is just a lot different. So the way we’ve known it, we’re all trying to pull those layers back and say, ‘Let’s start over.’ We’ve got a great new starting point. And let’s figure out what the new normal is and how to make this work.”

The organizational chart for Hendrick’s competition department was redone last August, two months after the departure of general manager Doug Duchardt (who joined Chip Ganassi Racing). Hendrick also added longtime GM Racing executive Alba Colon last month.

Johnson said it’s changed the workflow for his team and crew chief Chad Knaus because “the way we go about doing our jobs, it’s a bit different now” as Hendrick attempts to building more cohesiveness across its lineup, which will add Alex Bowman and William Byron in place of Earnhardt and Kahne.

“Just from an efficiency standpoint and also trying to get all of the smartest people in a huddle on any given part of the car,” he said. “What’s been tough for us is we’ve had so much success with four teams sharing data … but all four cars are coming to the track different. Especially from the 48-88 shop to the other shop, pretty big differences.

“Why don’t we have all these smart people in one room think-tanking ideas? From engineering, brakes and transmissions, aero … down the entire line. So that’s really what we’re doing. In today’s world with sponsorship dollars where it is, it’s smart to be more efficient.”

After spending much of the last two years with his family in Aspen, Colorado, Johnson said he also plans to reside in Charlotte more often (while splitting time in Aspen and New York) as he takes a larger leadership role.

“I just feel that an area I haven’t fully exploited is just my involvement in the energy and the atmosphere within our race team,” said Johnson, who was winless over the final 23 races and finished 10th in the points standings, tying the second-worst finish of his career. “I’m around. I’m there. Definitely know my role as the driver, but just feel like I can do more. When I watch other pro sports, college sports, and you just see a locker room environment that looks very interesting and amazing. That’s something I feel I can help lead and orchestrate within the 48 and at Hendrick Motorsports.”

You can hear Johnson at the 9:30 mark of the podcast, which also features Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Denny Hamlin.

Click on the embed above to hear the podcast or listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify or wherever you download podcasts.

Ryan: Matt Kenseth deserves to call the shots on how his career ends


In the end, and this truly could have an extra measure of finality, it wasn’t up to Matt Kenseth whether he would compete for a Cup championship.

When his pit crew inexplicably broke its own carefully mapped out protocols and dispatched an extra man over the wall at Kansas Speedway to fix his No. 20 Toyota (which seemed repairable), NASCAR responded in kind by literally taking the wheel from the Joe Gibbs Racing driver – eliminating Kenseth from playoff title contention in what might be his last season on the premier circuit.

The feeling of powerlessness had to be familiar.

If there is a recurring theme in Kenseth’s career, it’s that too often his Hall of Fame brilliance has been blunted by forces entirely beyond his control.

The most obvious example is unfolding in real time: The cold realization that the Cambridge, Wisconsin, native is winding down what most likely will be the four remaining races of his 18th and final year in Cup.

That also isn’t Kenseth’s decision.

He remains highly competitive and in peak physical condition at 45, but the whims of corporate sponsorship and economics of team ownership are denying him an exit from NASCAR on his own terms.

Though there are whispers he could remain in a competitive ride if willing to compromise on the at-track conveniences and salary commanded by someone of his accomplishment and experience, the fact remains that Kenseth is in a unique situation when compared to retiring peers Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. – none of whom were forced into facing such hard choices beyond choosing the year of their last go-round.

Kenseth, who always has faced the incessant and tough questions (even if his answers weren’t necessarily as pithy and quotable as many wanted to hear), simply deserves better in being appreciated for what he has delivered during one of the more unheralded careers in NASCAR.

It isn’t just the 38 career wins (third among active drivers) or the 13 playoff appearances in 14 attempts (second only to Jimmie Johnson). It’s the overlooked stand-up style of a star whose laconic nature belies his lead-by-example methods that can be quietly forceful when things aren’t going right. Joe Gibbs Racing likely won’t miss a beat in performance when Erik Jones replaces Kenseth in 2018, but a veteran presence certainly will be lacking in its Tuesday debriefs.

Yet there are some who might complain Kenseth hasn’t been outspoken enough, which misses an important point about the last truly blue-collar driver in Cup.

Hailing from a state known for its dichotomy of fiercely independent politics built on firebrand flourishes of expression and hard-working labor constructed on head-down agriculture and manufacturing, Kenseth rarely diverts from the task at hand (in this instance, racing).

But yet when he has something to say, he always does – and often with the deadpan wit that can make a sharp point while simultaneously defusing the most emotionally charged controversy (NASCAR officials should have thanked him for his post-Richmond ambulance tweet).

That wonderfully droll sense of humor also has a veiled crossover appeal. He hardly gets mentioned when compared to his transcendent counterparts, but the funniest bit involving a NASCAR driver on National Public Radio was Matt Kenseth as the straight man who turned Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me into a laugh riot.

It was hilarious in part because it was such an unlikely stage for Kenseth, who never bothers concealing disdain for self-aggrandizement. He can’t help it if he isn’t the sort who toots his own horn – just as he can’t help having any say over many events in the past two decades that precluded him getting his due.

When he found the spotlight, first in the Xfinity Series in 1998 and then again in Cup in 2000, Kenseth couldn’t have controlled being caught in the shadow of a 14-time most popular (but less successful) driver for the entirety of his career.

When he won the 2003 championship with the most workmanlike of efforts, it wasn’t Kenseth’s call to change the title format (he memorably wasn’t even consulted before NASCAR chairman Brian France announced the change) – though it forever (and unfairly) became linked to his greatest achievement.

When he took Johnson to the wire for the 2013 title, it wasn’t Kenseth who committed the comedy of errors at Phoenix International Raceway that doomed what probably will be remembered as his last great bid at the championship. Just like last Sunday at Kansas, it was his team that cost him the shot.

Kenseth merits at least one more opportunity.

He doesn’t have the power to make that happen. But someone does – and should.


Put aside the debate over whether NASCAR needs to eradicate the echoes of “Office Space” that have seeped into its officiating (“We noticed you’re having trouble with restarts … did you not get that memo about the apron, inside lane and white line and why it’s OK to do something illegal if someone else does it first?”), there’s no question that communication needs to be improved about the rules.

It is a problem when drivers meetings – which are decked out with enormous red carpets, omnipresent countdown clocks and ear-splittingly high-volume warmup music that would make Nickelback shudder – are held up as some sort of sacrosanct forum for discussing the rules and their game-changing applications that could determine the course of a championship.

They are the NASCAR equivalent of holding school board meetings at Chuck E. Cheese’s.

Yes, it is the responsibility of teams to understand the rules when they are presented to them.

It also is the responsibility of NASCAR for delivering the information in a manner that ensures its absorbtion.

The current dog and pony shows that drivers meetings have evolved into over the years don’t meet that standard.

Either the meetings need to be conducted within an environment and with a purpose conducive to a real discussion about the rules (see the example below from Formula One this past weekend in Austin), or the important ground rules (particularly those changed on the fly during a weekend that are track specific) need to be disseminated in a way that is fair and foolproof.


Martin Truex Jr. wasn’t tipping his hand much, but the championship favorite had to be good with the trade he essentially got from the competition during his victory at Kansas.

While it seemed that Kyle Busch and then Jimmie Johnson would be the strongest driver eliminated, that it became Kyle Larson was an outcome that could be abided by Truex (or anyone seeking the title).

Busch has been his strongest rival of late in pure speed, and Johnson is the crafty seven-time (and most recent) champion, but Larson is the unquestioned best of the field at Homestead-Miami Speedway (where he led a race-high 132 laps last season).

The path might not necessarily be easier, but it certainly has gotten clearer – for the first time in the four-year history of this playoff structure, it might be less than even money that the series champion also wins the season finale.


Social media and the myriad digital channels available for drivers to communicate with the world have been hailed as a godsend for showcasing NASCAR’s emerging personalities.

But this week’s episode of the Glass Case of Emotion podcast put forth an intriguing debate (inadvertently, perhaps).

Is there a threshold on how much fans need to know about their heroes? Or is there a generational divide in which the younger set puts no boundaries on the benefits of sharing?

As the Millennial wave begins its takeover of the Cup Series in earnest, that question probably will get answered (perhaps in overly abundant detail).


Speaking of podcasts, Toyota Racing Development technical director Andy Graves was the guest on the latest NASCAR on NBC episode. Beyond some engrossing tales of life as Jeff Gordon’s roommate for several years (just as both were starting out in NASCAR), Graves also shared some good insight on how he and TRD have gotten Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing to work together so seamlessly.

“To get everyone working together is extremely difficult,” Graves said on the podcast. “It’s fortunate we have so many great people at TRD on the vehicle side and on the engine side, and the teams have great people, but to get them to all click together … everything today is a compromise. In 1991 and ’92, you could find a new part and bolt it on the car and it was worth two 10ths of a second, and it never hurt any other area of the car. Today every decision you make is a gain in one area, and it will hurt two to three other areas. Every decision is, ‘What is the best compromise at this point?’

“We’re making decisions together, and it’s OK if we’re willing to put this part on the car and it’s going to hurt power but help mechanical grip. If it’s faster on the stopwatch, let’s do it and we’ll take it on the chin. Those are very unique situations that don’t happen very often. We have a lot of contributors that just want to win races and are willing to sacrifice individual goals for the good of the team.”

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the embed below or download and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts by clicking here.

It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here and also can be found on Google Play, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

The free subscriptions will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone.

Ryan: Did self-policing in NASCAR reach a new level of social media shaming after Chicagoland?


When NASCAR announced a private testing ban three years ago, it also disclosed an intriguing twist in how it would monitor roughly 4 million square miles.

Posting 24-hour sentries at every short track in America wasn’t an option, of course. But the 24-hour omniscience of social media?

A reality of 21st century community policing in any neighborhood, especially NASCAR’s.

“The teams are not too shy about telling on one another,” chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell said at the time. “So we know it won’t be just NASCAR (enforcing the policy). We have a lot of people out there with social media.”

That was driven home by the 2017 Cup Series playoffs’ first major penalty, which was the subject of a social media firestorm long before Chase Elliott lost 15 points and crew chief Alan Gustafson this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

NASCAR officials certainly were cognizant of the potential wrongdoing to Elliott’s No. 24 Chevrolet well before the photos and video went viral in various corners of the Internet that purported to show aerodynamic modifications Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway that were deemed the reason for the punishment.

The sanctioning body has access to cameras around the track as well as the PRO system of about 50 high-definition cameras that provide nonstop observation of every pit stall. It certainly is plausible that officials were aware Elliott’s team might have been on the wrong side of the rulebook before the race even was over.

But the same knowledge also likely was available to teams, which work with manufacturers that employ photographers who take thousands of photos of cars on track during every race weekend. There are some moral stipulations that are followed for garage photos (as noted in this excellent USA TODAY Sports feature from 2015 by Mike Hembree), but the amount of on-track images taken are staggering. To ensure swift transmissions of massive data files to their home bases (and teams), manufacturers in NASCAR have benefited in recent years from tracks upgrading high-speed connectivity in every garage.

Was access to those vast troves of evidence put to use in attempting to try Elliott’s team in the court of public opinion before any penalty were announced, or even decided?

That’s what made this controversy feel different – and also harken back to how NASCAR implemented the testing ban. Just as it predicted teams would help with enforcement, NASCAR received photos of Elliott’s car from rival Cup teams. So did many in the news media.

It is natural to ponder whether the ensuing widespread distribution might have hastened NASCAR’s reaction – usually, penalties are announced after the offending teams are consulted and a fair amount of deliberation takes place.

In this instance, anyone with a Twitter account and following the right people – or any regular visitor to NASCAR Reddit – knew there was extra scrutiny on the No. 24, which was one of three cars taken to the R&D Center after the Chicagoland Speedway race.

If it was a coordinated and deliberate campaign by rival teams to disseminate the visual evidence of an infraction, it certainly seemed successful — regardless of whether the worldwide whisper campaign led to NASCAR uncovering the No. 24’s penalty.

“Self policing” in NASCAR – at least in a public setting — traditionally has fallen into the “Boys, Have at It” realm of frontier justice administered via bumper and fender by drivers who feel aggrieved.

This felt as if it were delivered via point and click by an angry army of engineers eager to drop a dime on a competitor – and perhaps deliver a warning about a new era in the fishbowl existence of these modern times.

Don’t bend that spoiler. Somebody always is watching — and sharing on social media.


Much of the discussion around Elliott’s car centered on whether tape was applied to the spoiler. It might have seemed a relatively minor modification, but NASCAR has been warning teams for more than a year that it would punish teams for even miniscule adjustments.

In the June 7, 2016 race at Pocono Raceway, Brad Keselowski’s team was penalized for improper body modifications, and Cup series director Richard Buck warned teams later that season at the Kentucky Speedway prerace drivers meeting and again before the Kansas Speedway race in last year’s playoffs.

Buck specifically referred to “deliberately adding tape trips,” which create more downforce by altering airflow with strategically placed tiny pieces of tape. Teams also are known to slice cars’ wraps (particularly around the wheel well area) to create more downforce.

The penalty for illegal body modifications is a pit stop for repairs under yellow (which applied in Keselowski’s case) and restarting from the rear and a drive-through penalty under green.

By virtue of a second-place finish at Chicagoland, Elliott’s car received further scrutiny in a postrace teardown at the R&D Center (after which NASCAR announced the penalty). It’s worth considering, though, if a similar situation occurred in the next nine playoff races, would NASCAR consider bringing the car to the pits based off visual evidence (and possibly punishing a team with a loss of positions even if no infraction were found)?

Or might NASCAR consider randomly inspecting cars in the impound area where officials check for five secure lug nuts before team members are allowed near the vehicles?


It isn’t unusual for NASCAR to seize tires for inspection during a race, but Sunday was unusual because of the appearance of a blue tent that housed the dunk tank used to check them.

The tent has been in use this season to establish some consistency in its at-track processes. Because its accommodations vary from each facility (some tracks have dedicated buildings for tire suppliers; others don’t), Goodyear began erecting the tent at the back of the garage near its hauler and tire staging area so that it could check for punctures and leaks more efficiently.

Of course, it also is used by NASCAR during races for random checks – O’Donnell noted on Twitter that it has happened five times in Cup this season.

That it happened to come to light during the 2017 playoff opener and involving the race’s two fastest cars (whose speed had drawn a heavy degree of scrutiny already during the weekend, whether fair or not) made it a major storyline during the race.

NASCAR’s stock answer to questions about Sunday’s tire inspection was “well, we always have done it this way.” Again, that is true, but it falls short of meeting the self-proclaimed higher standards of transparency that officials are striving to reach, and it also implies there was a lack of newsworthiness, which is false.

This was the first time a random tire inspection was witnessed in a conspicuous-looking tent on national TV, and the intimation is that the teams involved might have done something wrong.

A better answer from NASCAR would have been: “With the intense pressure of the playoffs beginning, we reserve the right to hold every team to the highest standard of the rules to ensure fairness. We will be doing random inspections over these 10 races because a level playing field is at a premium, and we want to guarantee that to the competitors. The tires from the 18 and 78 checked out OK.”


There has been much debate about whether NASCAR needs to be in the business of getting embroiled in midweek penalty discussions, but somehow the debate over the illegal modifications made by Elliott’s team didn’t feel in the same vein as the taint that hung over Denny Hamlin’s Southern 500 victory.

Maybe it was because it didn’t involve a winning car, but Elliott’s penalty also seemed to say more about the heightened urgency of the playoffs. Hendrick Motorsports has lacked speed during the second half of the regular season. In the cat-and-mouse game of testing the limits allowed by officials, why shouldn’t it be worth the risk to a team desperately in search of a breakthrough?

Similarly, the discussion about NASCAR briefly confiscating the tires of Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch also didn’t detract from the race; it blended into the main storyline of the weekend, i.e. the recent dominance of Toyotas (and the grumbling it caused by Brad Keselowski).

NASCAR naturally wants to keep the focus on tight battles for position, but in a race decided by a 7.1-second margin of victory, the hunt for compelling angles can lead elsewhere. In both the instances of tires and tape that mysteriously might have been applied to the spoiler, it made for healthy discussions.


After the Chicagoland win, Truex seems even more of a lock to reach the championship finale, but Kyle Larson slipped in another reminder that the tables might turn at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“Obviously, (Truex) is really good,” Larson told NBCSN’s Kelli Stavast after finishing fifth Sunday. “He could probably win nine out of 10, but if we get to Homestead, we’ll have a shot.”

Larson, who said on the NASCAR on NBC podcast last week that he thinks Truex “definitely” will be in the championship round, considers Miami his favorite track and with good reason. The 1.5-mile progressively banked oval favors drivers such as Larson who prefer the high lane. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver led a race-high 132 of 268 laps in a runner-up finish to champion Jimmie Johnson last season.

“I’m not surprised that Larson said that,” Truex said with a chuckle when told of Larson’s comment by’s Dustin Long after his win. “He’s pretty good at Homestead, but we made some big gains there last year. That used to be one of my best racetracks. I have a feeling if we can get there, it’s going to be a hell of a battle.”

Crew chief Cole Pearn also laughed when told of what Larson said.

“I agree; I think (Larson) is the one to beat when it comes to Homestead,” Pearn told NBC Sports. “I think looking at the last couple of years, they’ve been so, so good there. So it’s definitely our weak point that we have to figure out. We’re fortunate to have a two-day test coming up in October that we can hopefully sort out some of the things that ail us there. I think if we play our cards right, we’ll have a shot at it, and that’s really our only option.

“With this one-race championship deal, you’ve got to be good at Homestead. So it’s a weak spot for us that we got to be good at when it comes time.”

Furniture Row Racing skipped the test at Miami last year, raising some eyebrows around the garage, but Truex is enthused about next month’s session. “It definitely will be big,” he said. “We’ll be there. We know what to focus on. I think we have a good game plan going on, but Homestead is a hard place to test. It’s one of those tracks that on race weekend, it’s always a lot different. You have to stay open-minded. You can’t just learn a bunch at the test, go to the track and say this is what we’re going to do no matter what because it could bite you.”


On the latest NASCAR on NBC podcast, analyst Steve Letarte said the preponderance of visual evidence was what surprised him the most about the Elliott penalty.

“That’s why I’m really so shocked by this,” Letarte said. “What a brazen move. There was no secret there were going to be photos of this car on the racetrack. That shocked me about it.”

The former crew chief also said it was a “moral struggle” watching it unfold on social media.

“I’m not sure I like the strategy or goal of whoever it was to put those pictures out there unless they’re going to cover all 40 cars the same way with some sort of moral requirement of, ‘Hey, we’re going to be Big Brother to everyone in the field,’ ” he said. “That’s the bigger problem I have with this than anything. I struggle with this starting on a social site. I don’t want there to be a million NASCAR officials out there.”

During the podcast, Letarte also discussed Kasey Kahne‘s crew chief change and the state of Hendrick Motorsports, Kyle Busch’s pit crew swap, the strength of Toyota Racing Development and whether there was deeper motive behind Keselowski’s words last week.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the AudioBoom embed below or download and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts by clicking here. It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here and also can be found on Google Play, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

The free subscriptions will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone.