Kyle Busch’s Polarizing Persona June 9, 2009Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Controversy, Drivers.
Tags: claire b lang, claireblang.com, Kyle Busch, NASCAR, nashville, nationwide series, Sam Bass, Sirius NASCAR Radio
Note: CBL’s Broadcast Schedule this week is below this most recent blog posting
Phone Lines Light Up – At Mention of KB’s Name
The phone lines are on melt down ever since Kyle Busch did the “rock star”, share-the- trophy-with-the team smashing of the Gibson Guitar trophy at Nashville. He won the Nationwide Series Race – but he crashed the trophy- in victory lane. It was impulsive but real emotion – yet he got criticism for being over the top.
Kyle’s fans want him to push the limits, race hard and have an outside- the-box, less than vanilla persona. Non fans are livid. One thing is for sure – simply mention this racers name and the phone lines light up. Folks want to talk about and weigh in on Kyle every week.
Because I simply could not get to all the KB calls on my show the other day and needed during the pre race coverage to get on with covering racing – I asked my listeners to write what was on their minds and that I’d post a great sample of them on my site in an unbiased manner. Here goes:
I live in Tennessee and I thought what Kyle did was AWESOME! Be a ROCK STAR if you like. It’s his trophy to do with it as he wants. The people that are getting upset need to first accept that the guy is great and second, get a grip on the history of music and rock and roll. I guess they are mad because Nashville is not Rock and Roll headquarters. Cleveland, OH is. If Sam Bass is OK with it, than the rest of the world needs to take a chill pill. Way to go SMOKE!
From Jesse in Orlando:
This kid is slowly pushing the limits of what fans will tolerate in a supposedly professional racer. This kid tries every, way shape or form to irritate and unsettle some traditions of NASCAR. Plus this person is a role model for future generations, you do not teach destruction to young people. Kyle is not a rock star, he is a sports figure. We do not want children imitating this imbecile. Kyle mostly acts before the mind goes in gear, he has no conception of fallout. This causes him to be extremely dangerous. It doesn’t matter whether or not he had Sam’s or NASCAR’s Blessing. He is a shock jock of the first order and therefore will likely drive many parents to prevent their kids from watching NASCAR. Controversy only causes momentary spikes in ratings. I also take offence to the many times this is being replayed on TV. This is to give Media fuel for the fire. This will not ultimately help the TV nor Radio ratings as this gets old quickly. Too bad he doesn’t know how to lose, he would go much further if he did. Life is the judge of how successful a person is, and this kid is not winning this war. Plus there are a slew Rock n Roll figures that committed suicide because they could not deal with reality. Trophies are not expendable guitars. Ask any racer who has lost ones in fires or had them stolen. Many non-fans who viewed “Talladega Nights” thinking this is what NASCAR is all about. Not a true picture of what NASCAR racing is at all. Kyle is portraying the same image as Ricky Bobby, and I take offense. For every action there is reaction, mine is disgust.
KB is an idiot. If he wanted his to have a piece of the trophy order one and cut it up for them . But don’t show disrespect as many of us saw it . Yes he can drive a race car, and if I were J.D. Gibbs he would be standing tall in my office Monday morning. Idiot!!
From Kenny in Delaware:
Kyle Bush. What can be said? I’m not a fan per say but here is another case where I give kudos. The trophy smashing was a classic. I don’t think he meant any disrespect to Nashville Super Speedway or Sam Bass. He wanted his crew to have a piece of the trophy. There are many rock band guitarists who smash their guitars at concerts. I believe he was mimicking that act and also getting his team the pieces he needed to give to them. It is freedom of speech. A way to express himself. Many will agree with this act and many won’t. But it was his trophy and his choice. It was his freedom that let him do this. And it is his right.
All sports need more celebrities who are spontaneous and natural and not some puppet on a string who always do what is politically correct. This is what makes Kyle, Kyle. I applaud him for it and encourage him and others to continue on with being themselves.
From Brian in Morristown, Tennessee
Can you say “Actions detrimental to NASCAR Racing”!!!!!!!!!
Kyle Bush’s actions in winners circle should brought into question. Is it appropriate for anyone to destroy there trophy. Yes you can say it was a “rock star moment” but after that I don’t care to even see him on the track again. I’m not Kyle bashing, I would be upset without regard to whoever did something like, that it’s just un-sportsman like conduct. If he wants to do something to share with his team, why not tear up the winnings check and hand out the pieces. Yes it is his trophy, but he is a representative of the NASCAR family.
From Cheri in Kentucky:
I was appalled when I saw Kyle Busch smash the trophy at Nashville. Not only was it a trophy, it was a work of art. His “rock star” analogy does not work. When a rock star smashes his or her guitar, it is the instrument they use to touch the fans, the “tool” of their trade. And it can easily be replaced. They don’t smash their platinum records, or music awards. These are displayed proudly. Kyle smashed a trophy, a work of art, and what should have been a revered memento of his win at that track. If he wanted to emulate a rock star, he should have taken a saws-all to the car, the tool of his trade. Sam Bass’s comments after he talked to “kyle” show that he is a class act. No artist could appreciate seeing a piece of their work destroyed by a brat. I do not blame the fans at Nashville one bit for uninviting him to their local track. That young man is in need of some serious “home training.” He is a perpetual sore loser, and cannot even figure out how to be a gracious winner. His actions make NASCAR less enjoyable for me.
From Heidi in Lewisberry PA
I defend Kyle’s right under the Constitution to do what he did to the Sam Bass guitar and even found it honorable that he would keep the promise he made to his crew to smash it, so all may have a piece of the trophy. I even found it to be an entertaining Victory Lane celebration. However, at the same time the guitar was smashed, my heart cried. It wasn’t just a guitar that was smashed, it was a piece of artwork that was destroyed. I found it comparable to burning a fine piece of literature or even the flag of our fine country.
Plain and simple. Sounds like Sam Bass accepted Kyle’s explanation, so that should be the end of it. What some people don’t understand ,is Kyle was just doing his imitation of Pete Townsend, and Paul Stanley. Two rock icons that were known for breaking guitars on stage. I’m sure there are others besides them, that has done it. For those who got offended, or feels disrespected.get over it! Sam is and so should you. What’s next, you gonna sue him for pain and suffering?
Claire no matter what Kyle does he is wrong.Tony in TX
From Bob in Bedford, Texas
I was delighted to meet you a couple of years ago at TMS. I wanted to share my disgust about Kyle Busch’s destruction of the beautiful Gibson. I am a guitar player and own some beautiful Martin acoustic instruments. I am sure there are thousands players like me that are NASCAR fans and will NEVER have anything but disgust at his wanton destruction of a beautiful instrument made more special by the artistry of Sam Bass.
I sort of admired Kyle for his skill but now realize he is so far removed from the fans that he has no regard for this valuable instrument. I guess it just shows what happens to these kids when they become millionaires before they reach 21. I don’t buy the stupid excuse that he wanted to share it with his team.
A pox on his house.
From Kevin In Fort Myers, Florida:
I think that KB is a good driver but he is immature! very immature!!
I thought that the guitar smashing was disrespectful for the sport/sam bass/and the tn speedway
He would have finished better at pocono if he wasn’t such a punk at Nashville. Karma!
From Alberto in Nazar, Texas
I sent an email last year about Gordon blaming Jr when he got beat by Kyle Busch- just so you know…..let’s talk about what’s happening now. Brace yourself. I hear a lot of phone calls about Kyle that scares the hell out of me- the state of mind of the callers is what scares me. Yesterday I blew my top when I heard a lady with a husband and 2 daughters who loves Jr and Harvick complain about Kyle’s statement-so hear me out. I can’t tell you what Kyle was thinking when he said that but I’ll tell you what I think he was thinking-he was putting himself on the line to defend a friend who is going to become the next victim they are going to have with the mess with Jr. He was concerned about the crew chief that helped him out when he was driving the #5. He knew the facts -the risk-and that’s why he said what he said. So I’d like to tell that lady to spend more time teaching her daughters not to hate anybody. Being hateful to others is wrong and is not the right way to live. I am not a Kyle fan-my driver died a long time ago. And a lot of your listeners don’t know he won lots of races driving Oldsmobile #2 , Pontiac #2 and Ford #15 before he drove a bowtie product-#3. When someone put a mike in his face he spoke his peace and a lot of times they had to turn the mike off.- when he was running to his hauler trying to escape people chasing him he said “I don’t have a TV in my car”- “its just racing Man”. Kyle reminds me a lot of him. I don’t think he has to look back at anything or apologize to the Jr fans because Jr is not
winning races. If he goes and says what he feels they bitch about it-and when he runs to his hauler without talking to anybody they bitch about it. Get over it Man. This is not a beauty parlor contest-it’s just racing.
Love you and God Bless You-I listen to you all the time
From Ron in Chicago:
The very instant I saw Dumb#%& Kyle Busch try to smash his guitar into pieces I thought “I can’t believe how big of As57ole he really is! Buy doing what he did, I and many others, thought he disrespected Nashville speedway, Gibson Guitars, Sam Bass and everyone who has ever won one of these rare and beautiful guitars. I noticed that after he did that the representatives from Federated Auto Parts (the race sponsor) walked out of victory lane. I think someone should but this idiot in his place. Sure he is a great driver, but he has ZERO respect for almost everyone and everything. Why does he think his crap doesn’t stink, and that everyone else at any given race is below him. I for one, even though he is a great driver, will NEVER be a fan because it is time for him to grow up, act his age and show just a little responsibility for his actions. I say, I hope he never sells another die-cast, hat, shirt or anything else. I would really like to see M&M’s pull their sponsorship and move it to a driver that would do them proud. Kyle is just a immature BRAT.
You are either on one side or the other regarding Kyle Busch and, on this issue, there is a line in the sand and the NASCAR fans are divided. Some folks are really upset. I can understand some of that – it’s everyone’s right to have an opinion and for some – Kyle should have thought through the perception of it all even though it was his trophy.
Fans always bring in him talking to the media or not when he doesn’t win. I am used to taking the approach the drivers take – race someone as they race you no matter what he does to anyone else and Kyle has always been fair to me and never rude, not once. I don’t run after race car drivers as the run from the track if they don’t want to be interviewed – you know that. I usually figure I’ll give the time to someone who wants or needs the exposure at that moment. If a guy is too mad to talk – it means that he is so mad he doesn’t want to talk. I think I get the picture. Sure everyone wants to hear what he might say.
Kyle has admitted himself that he is a sore looser and indeed he is – even he admits that. Way too much sometimes it seems but how do I know what motivates him to be up on the edge? Does racing so many races in so many series keep a guy up on it emotionally to the point that keeping the edge prevents him from handling not winning in an appropriate manner? I wonder.
Point is – it doesn’t matter what Kyle does –appropriate or not – people want to talk about him. He gives us fodder plenty of times to discuss his actions but even on a quiet week for him – I mention his name related to qualifying or practice and the phone lines light up. It’s wild to see. Do folks want him to misbehave so they can talk about him? Do fans desire that in a sport?
I’ll post more of these later – I am just getting unpacked from Pocono. I’ve not posted for a while -but have now caught up on things and will be back on the blog regularly.
Broadcast Schedule This Coming Weekend:
Dialed In with Claire B. Lang at the following times:
Wed. June 10 –“Dialed In” 7-10 p.m. EST LIVE from Charlotte, NC Studio
Thursday, June 11 – “Dialed In” 7-10 p.m. EST LIVE from Michigan
Friday, June 12 – “Dialed In” 7-10 p.m. EST LIVE from Michigan
Saturday, June 13, “Dialed In” 1-1:30 EST LIVE from Michigan leading into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 200 in Michigan
AND Saturday “Dialed In” 4-8 p.m. EST LIVE from Michigan leading into the Meijer 300 Nationwide Race in Kentucky
CBL Pre and Post Race:
Sunday, June 14th -Claire B is in the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio booth for the Sirius NASCAR Radio Pre Race show which starts at: 10:15 a.m. EST
Claire B will be in Victory Lane LIVE after the race and “Dialed In” will follow the post race show two hours after the race is over until 10 p.m.EST.
Time to unpack!
Enjoy the day.
Unwritten NASCAR Rules…… September 14, 2008Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Controversy, Drivers, NASCAR, Trackside.
Tags: claire b lang, contoversy, craftsman truck series, david starr, fighting, Joe Nemechek, mcain, NASCAR, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, New Hampshire International Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Claire B. Lang – New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008
There are a set of unwritten rules in NASCAR – amongst the drivers and the crew members and one of them, I think, played out on Saturday after the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race as team members from two teams fought. David Starr was confronted inside his car on the grid after the race by a crew member from another team. Anyone who knows me knows how much I respect the NASCAR crew members and how much I work to tell their story as well as that of the drivers. However, I can see why Starr drew his fist and used it.
My understanding has always been that the cockpit of a guy’s race machine, car or truck, is his sanctuary and it’s his area. For another driver to come up and pull him out would be setting up for a fight – and I think all drivers would agree to that. For a crew member from another team to go to a driver’s vehicle and grab or confront him- is beyond an unwritten rule – it’s fighting time. In an argument about racing – the crew member and driver are not on the same level. It’s driver to driver and even then there are set areas of acceptable confrontation. David Starr immediately drew his fist – and used it after he was pulled from his truck angered that a crew member would pull him out of his vehicle. In the NASCAR Sprint cup garage today I talked with crew members and drivers about the unwritten rule and the above is how they saw it exactly.
Members of several teams said that they are not even to confront another driver – or ask him why he did something verbally and that the level of pulling another driver out of his vehicle would definitely result in them being fired. The team haulers of the 48 and the 18 teams are parked next to each other in the garage here. The team guys said to me that they get along really well and that if their drivers got in a fight they would not think it was their place to get involved in it…unless a driver came to their pit area- and then that is their turf. What happened violated an unwritten rule. You fight for your team – you’d do anything for your team – but a crew member does not confront a driver. It’s just not how it’s done because the argument was between two drivers. That, despite the fact that the team guys build the cars and trucks and have a lot invested themselves. So, there will be much said about this. I likened it to someone coming up to a guy in a bar and flicking his cowboy hat or baseball cap off. There’s something about that that every guy knows is so over the line that it is violating a “guy” unwritten rule.In this case the crew member violated a driver unwritten rule. He went over the line – and Starr reacted. So, does star get punished for the punch? Does the crew member get fired? “When a crew member comes to a driver and wants to fight…man that driver needs to kick the tar out of him,” Joe Nemechek told me after the drivers’ meeting. “That’s wrong, that’s the worst thing that can ever happen.”Nemechek said that additionally, “In my opinion that crew member should be fired from his team and banned from NASCAR.”
The drivers’ meeting was over and the prayer was said. No questions were asked but the doors were locked and no one was allowed out. We were waiting for a “special guest” who was, of course, US Senator and presidential candidate John McCain. He came into the drivers’ meeting with the media corps that follows him on the campaign trail. The media who were ushered in looked confused being in a steamy and humid drivers’ meeting garage with the drivers and crew chiefs prior to this race with McCain. McCain thanked the group in the drivers’ meeting for supporting the US Military – and the men and women who are serving…”I thank you, they thank you and God Bless America,” was the basic message McCain delivered. He received a standing ovation from those in attendance at the drivers’ meeting.
Crew Chief Handout Info from Drivers’ Meeting:
Pit Road Speed today: 45 mphCaution Car Speed: 50 mph
Pit Road Speed begins: 185 feet before the first pit box
Pit Road Speed ends: 75 feet past the last pit box
Minimum Speed: 33.93 seconds
The race may be influenced by the weather. Let’s hope not. We’ve been soaked all morning and it’s supposed to clear up so – let’s go racing and stay racing through the completion of the entire race.
I’ll keep you posted Claire B
***REMINDER “Dialed In with Claire B Lang” will air 3-6 ET beginning Monday, Sept 15th XM Channel 148 (not 144)
JD Gibb- transcript- Part 2 August 17, 2008Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Breaking News, Controversy, NASCAR, Teams.
Tags: claire b lang, joe gibbs racing, NASCAR, Sprint Cup Series, Toyota, XM Radio
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Gibbs: “No. We kind of do our own motor program for our Nationwide stuff and our Cup stuff. It’s separate from their stuff.”
Q: Are you furious that you didn’t know about this decision?
Gibbs: “Trust me, I’m sure there’s a whole lot of things that I don’t know and I’m glad, but for the most part with our guys and this team they all understand from the day we started this team in 1991 — racing the 1992 season — we’re going to do things a certain way. If you can’t abide by that, go find somewhere else that you can do it. It’s not worth it for us. Hopefully that’s the history that we have. I think if you look back that’s the way it is. So we’ll deal with this and move on. It’s obviously frustrating for all of us.”
Q: Is this a slap in the face to NASCAR for adding the plate a few weeks ago?
Gibbs: “I think more for the guys — they were just frustrated and wanted to make a point like, ‘Hey, we did it and we’re even farther off than you thought.’ I’m not sure exactly what would go through their minds because again, our guys kind of take pride in winning those engine dynos. That’s the only time you can take all of those manufacturers, lay them out there and say what do you got. For us, to win that it’s kind of like a notch in their belt.”
Q: Who called you last night regarding what happened at the track?
Gibbs: “It was a couple guys from our team.”
Q: Is there a time frame in which you will take some action within the team?
Gibbs: “Yeah. Once we get back tomorrow and kind of sit down and hash through it I think you’ll see something pretty quick from our side.”
Q: Is there any indication that NASCAR will respond with a severe penalties?
Gibbs: “I talked to them (NASCAR). I think in years past they kind of looked at the engine dyno-thing as hit or miss — put it on there. But, now they’re starting to make rules based off that. So, I think that becomes a more important piece in their arsenal as to how they keep the playing field level in their mind, and a tool. I think for them it will be bigger, and I don’t know exactly what. I met with them this morning. I’m sure it will be a pretty big slap.”
Q: Do you believe what people have said that the Toyota ‘advantage’ has become a ‘disadvantage’?
Gibbs: “I think when you go back — kind of what we talked about a few weeks ago — is here’s the box to play in. I think our guys have done a really good job utilizing that. I don’t care if it was GM, Dodge, Ford or Toyota — we invest a lot in that and spend a lot of time on it. And, so we want to make sure we are on an equal playing field. I think there was again some frustration there — that’s a separate issue. A rule is made, decisions are made — okay move on and lets work on what we have now. So, to be able to come out of that dyno and have — and again come up with the best horsepower — that would have been a huge notch for our guys. That was the discouraging part.”
Q: How much power have you gained back since the new tapered spacer?
Gibbs: “I probably won’t get into that. That’s all been hashed out a lot in the past weeks. I’m just kind of more focused on what happened here yesterday. I would say it definitely cuts you back some and we’re always working to get it back — what we lost. We are definitely not where we were — we think we were before. But, I think for us — whether they took anything away or not — we’re always working hard to find more stuff.”
Q: Do you believe NASCAR has put the Toyota teams in this position because they gave Toyota too much initially?
Gibbs: “I think when you look at the big picture you usually go — before we were even involved with Toyota — they had a motor and NASCAR made them redo it to be eligible to run in the Nationwide Series. That all took place. They changed a bunch of stuff. Now here’s a new package. It fit within the ‘box.’ Now, as time goes on — you’re always going to have new (things). GM is going to phase in the RO7 and let the SB2 go away. The problem you have in Nationwide I think — the biggest problem in Nationwide — is financially there are such constraints on what you can do. So, I think for us, here’s a package. So, now you change us and we have to go back and spend more money figuring out how we can get back to where we were. I can see Jack’s (Roush) point. NASCAR says here’s some parts for you to use to build new motors. He’s like, ‘I don’t want to build new motors that costs too much money.’ Which is a valid point. So, you are kind of stuck in between. What you don’t want to do is lose sight of our guys that have invested time, effort and financially. Apart from Toyota have invested a lot in these motors to get them to where they need to be. So, that’s frustrating I think for us and for every owner out there. I’m not going to say, Who’s to blame? That’s just part of life. We’ve been through this for 17 years and sometimes you have bodies getting changed years ago. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen any more. That’s to NASCAR’s credit. We’re not changing bodies every couple years. The motor thing is a big piece and I think NASCAR has a pretty good ‘box’ on it. Our thing is we just want to have a level playing field and go to work and do a better job than the next guy.”
Q: Will you still field two NNS cars the rest of the year? Who could be the crew chiefs for those two cars?
Gibbs: “We are not going to speculate on that. We will definitely field two cars the rest of the year. I’m not sure — there might be a race or two where we don’t have two cars lined-up on our schedule. I’m not sure. Things will go on unchanged for us on the racing side.”
Q: Do the individuals you believe were responsible also work on your Sprint Cup teams?
Gibbs: “No. For what we’re talking about here, it’s pretty much that would be there own decision. It is unrelated to the Cup program. Obviously, we have one engine shop that builds motors for everyone, but it would be unrelated to any
Q: Does this fall on the crew chief no matter who in the organization did this?
Gibbs: “Ultimately it starts with, to me, ownership. It falls on our shoulders and then you’ve got management in place and you’ve got crew chiefs in place. I think everyone has a level of responsibility there and it starts with us. That’s the frustrating part. People know how we operate and this isn’t it. I think the crew chief, yeah, they are responsible for what happens at that car and at that track. If something happens that they don’t know about they should’ve known about it. So, I agree with that.”
Q: Did the drivers have anything to do in this whole issue?
Gibbs: “No, our drivers did not have anything to do with this process here.”
Did the drivers have anything to do in this whole
Gibbs: “No, our drivers
did not have anything to do with this process
Saturday Pocono Blog and Goodyear Tires Interview Transcript August 2, 2008Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Controversy, Track Testing, Transcripts.
Tags: Car of Tomorrow, claire b lang, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NASCAR, Pocono Raceway, Tire, transcript, XM Radio
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Image via WikipediaClaire B.log
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Latest in Tire Saga: Goodyear Announces Actions to Address NASCAR tires
Both Sprint Cup Series practices were rained out today and were canceled due to rain. This should make tomorrow’s race interesting to say the least. This morning Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company announced actions toward solving the tire issues that hampered last weekend’s event at the Brickyard.
After the announcement was made – I walked down to the the Goodyear hauler in the garage here at Pocono Raceway to interview Stu Grant, General Manager, Global Race Tires for Goodyear (see transcript of interview below). Before I get to that interview here are the basic steps that Goodyear is making:
Next steps include:
• Completing the extensive post-race analysis in process that includes
all internal aspects of tire design and manufacturing and discussions
with key external stakeholders, including representatives from NASCAR,
, crew chiefs and drivers to gain insight to information
that will provide clarity to the final analysis.
• Engaging research scientists and engineers, including available
assets and modeling capabilities from the Sandia National Laboratories,
to develop a range of potential short-term solutions.
• Scheduling a fall track test at Indianapolis with multiple
participants to test solutions to full fuel stop capabilities and test
again in the spring of 2009 to fine-tune the specific race setup.
• Accelerating discussions with appropriate NASCAR representatives,
team owners, drivers, crew chiefs and track management on any future
tire. Among elements already being considered are larger overall
diameters, wider section widths, and larger bead diameters.
• Developing future tires as a long term solution, looking proactively
at the vehicle, tire, setup and track combinations for a complete
package to assure only the highest level of performance for NASCAR’s
TRANSCRIPT: Claire B. Lang Saturday, August 2 Interview with Stu Grant/Goodyear:’
CBL: Stu in general what are you guys doing, actions to address the tire issues at Indy?
Grant: “Well we understand that it’s our issue to fix and we were unexpected by the results that we saw on Sunday, we didn’t predict that. So now what we are doing is we are analyzing all of our manufacturing operation to make sure that the right side tire that we raced there was actually what we thought it was. We’ve been through that analysis and we’re satisfied that we are ok in that respect so now what we are looking at is that whole mechanism of tire wear that ah we’re trying to model the new car on that race track with that tire combination to be able to predict that wear so that we can come up with a solution for 2009.”
CBL: So what will you do to fix it?
Grant: “Well it’s the attitude of the car when it enters the corner it’s changing the way the tire abrades so what we’ve got is we’ve got again we’re trying to model that exact interface between the tire and the race track. But then what we are going to do is modify the materials that we have in that rubber. We’ve talked to a lot of our research chemists to get some ideas from them and what we’re going to try to do is formulate a compound differently so that in that kind of an abrasion mode we put a tread compound on that tire that will actually rubber in the racetrack.”
CBL: Were you shocked that it didn’t rubber in the racetrack with all the research, all the testing all that you know about tires?
Grant: “Yea we were absolutely shocked. Again we ran the same right side compound in 06 and 07 and we tested it in 08 on the car of tomorrow. It appeared that that right side compound was going to be the best race tire compound that we had available. We saw nothing in that test that would indicate a problem. We did see high wear in that test like we normally do but we, again, thought the track would rubber in and be fine with the race and that’s what never happened. We did see some improvement on the right front and honestly that was a fairly normal wear throughout the race on Sunday. In other words the right front looked to us in 08 almost like it did in 07 and 06 but the right rear wear was just horrendous.”
CBL: Can you talk about discussions about the width of the tire -making it wider- which we have been talking about for years.
Grant: “We actually had some discussions with NASCAR about a larger tire several years ago. We initiated those discussions again with NASCAR in the spring of 08 so we are actually doing a lot of work on that. We have a lot of people doing some modeling on what exactly this tire size should look like. What tire size does this car really want. So we are looking at larger bead diameters, we are looking at larger section width, we’re looking at a larger diameters. We are trying to figure out the right contained air volume to carry the load that these cars deliver and also what we think might provide the best handling.”
CBL: Some of the drivers are saying that NASCAR and Goodyear should come up with a tire that doesn’t depend on the track rubbering in. That might require the drivers to overcome criticism of the tire being harder to handle.
Grant: “Boy that is really a complicated situation. See on a really high abrasive race track you are faced with the rubber going somewhere. Let’s take Indianapolis – one of the most abrasive surfaces that we run at. No matter what you put on there from a tire standpoint – it is going to wear those tires out and it is going to rubber in the race track. So what you’re faced with is – in order to try to get around it – You know that’s going to happen. So if you go there with a simple solution – oh gee lets just put more tire rubber on there – put more gauge in the tread – well then you end up with like Dover in 1994. What happens is – you have a tire and everything looks fine and the track gets rubbered in and then you come to race day and the track is rubbered in and the wear goes away and the tire contains the heat and you blister everything. So you can’t get yourself in that situation. So you have to have a tire that deals with the abrasion but also isn’t going to cause you problems on race day when you know that the track surface is going to change. So you have to be able to deal with that on Sunday.”
CBL: What about addressing things that you are hearing (in the discussion of this) that is not accurate?
Grant:” I’m not sure specifically what people are saying that is not accurate. We should have had a tire there that worked on the Car of Tomorrow on that race track and we did not do that. Our job as a supplier is to produce a tire that has a good race and we didn’t do that. Now in retrospect in the absence of a NASCAR open test like we had at 06 and 07 at Indianapolis in the absence of that we should have gone in there and rented the race track and taken 20 cars there to make sure we had a tire that would go a gas stop. You know that is not something that we typically do but that is something that we could have done and if we would have done that we would have seen the track didn’t take rubber and we could have reacted to that.”
CBL: Why did you not do that?
Grant: “Because what we had was – we had this known quantity – a proven race tire that had worked for us in 06 and 07 – we know the Car of Tomorrow and what it does and doesn’t do so we were comfortable with that aspect of it. The tire test that we had on the Car of Tomorrow at that race track with Kurt Busch, Brian Vickers and Dale Earnhardt Junior was a good test and we saw nothing out of the ordinary there so there was no signal that would indicate to us that we needed to do something like that.”
CBL: Some said that perhaps when you are a driver going to a tire test you don’t push it to the limit or don’t share all?
Grant: “I think that these guys are professional drivers and when we go to a tire test they know what’s on the line. They know that they are there to help us develop a tire that we’re going to go back and race. I think we get 100 percent from these guys. Now the difference is you test and you drive a certain way. The change then is when they race you race a different way don’t you? The car moves around a lot more on a race track as you are passing and obviously you are not trying to deal with practice in a tire test. Sometimes the way you muscle the car around a little bit more during a race as you are moving through traffic does affect the tire wear or tire heat sometimes we have seen that. Honestly, I feel pretty good about the job that these professional drivers deliver for us during a tire test.”
CBL: Why not have a NASCAR or Goodyear tire testing team. Why depend on the drivers?
Grant:” I am glad you brought that up – that is a good question. We have talked to NASCAR about that and they have talked to us about that but we’ve been down that road. We’ve been down that road with our own test team. We did that a number of years ago when we were involved in Indy Cars and Formula 1 we had our own test program. Here’s the problem with that – you cannot keep up technically with what is going on with the race car. If we had our own stock car and we had our own engine program – and so on there is no chance that we or NASCAR even with an in house program could possibly keep up technically with the advancements that the Hendrick Motorsports organization is going deliver or Childress or anybody for that matter. So we are better off saying to those guys hey Jeff Gordon bring your car and bring yourself and lets do this tire test at Darlington. We are way better off using those guys and they are very cooperative about helping us out. We haven’t had any problem getting these people to our tire test and the only issue for us is we just try to be fair to spread it around amongst drivers and teams and manufacturers”
CBL: Will you find what was wrong with this tire? Is it possible you will never know?
Grant: “I am confident we will find an answer. What that is I don’t know at the moment. We’ve got a lot of theories on what we need to do to fix that but I think we are going the right direction. We have got a lot of people working a lot of hours back in Akron Ohio right now trying to analyze this problem and determine a set of solutions. We’re going to go back -we’ve got two dates at Indianapolis already this fall. We’re going to go back twice and see if we can make some progress towards a solution. Because we do need to prove to ourselves that we do have the capability of making a tire that will last a fuel stop on the Car of Tomorrow at Indianapolis.”
That’s it for now. Digest that and enjoy the afternoon. I am headed to the hill. The practices have been canceled and the Nationwide race is about to start in Montreal. More later, everyone have a great afternoon.
Post-Indy Emails…Goodyear Tires July 29, 2008Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Claire B's Mail, Controversy, Listeners, NASCAR.
Tags: Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, claire b lang, Claire B's Mail, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NASCAR, Sprint Cup Series, XM Radio
1 comment so far
Image via WikipediaHey: I wanted to share with you some of the emails that I have gotten regarding Sundays Sprint Cup Race at Indianapolis. The takes are all valid and interesting and they cover both sides of the issue. Some fans are angry, others understand and say move on. Some even say they liked the twists and turns of the circumstances that made the race a series of shoot outs. Everyone is clear in saying that this should not happen again because it does not reflect well on the sport. I thought I’d share some emails that I have gotten for your reading, and discussion pleasure. Thanks to all who wrote the emails – you guys are awesome and I appreciate every single one.
From Marc in AZ:
The Indy Race was what it was. While NASCAR tried to do what was best for the race, they completely missed an opportunity to have a real race! They should have limited the teams to a single can of fuel per stop! Something like they have done in the past when they limited the fuel bladder size to conserve tire wear. Instead of thinking on their feet, they went the safe route and made the race into a bunch of heat races with extremely dangerous pit stop in between. They may have got the safety for the drivers correct but they missed it for the over the wall crews!
While everyone is falling all over themselves praising NASCAR for keeping the race safe, they totally missed having a competitive race! NASCAR fans want to see green flag pit stops, not planned pit competitions! We want to see a race and allow teams to have a bit of strategy. When Mark Martin stopped a lap before the planned yellow, they got smart and closed the pits one to two laps before the planned caution. Now there is a way to defeat strategy!
Hopefully this will never come to pass again but history has a tendency to repeat itself! Hopefully the next time we can see a race and NASCAR can find an alternate way to regulate time on track by restricting fuel and not go to planned cautions. Maybe we could even plan a test session before taking the racing brick to a track and allow all the competitors to participate!
Just my thoughts!
2 consecutive off weekends for a Sprint cup race is torture. During Sundays event (wasn’t a race) I went on mowed my yard because I prefer to torture myself in 100 degree heat than watch a bunch of caution laps. 52 laps under caution is inexcusable.
From Jerry in Indiana:
How many times has goodyear screwed up a race ? To many. Thay should not make the teams pay for those crapy tires. When you have to stop the race every 10 laps and replace a crappy tire with another crapy tire. There is no race left. Jerry. In.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T
From Kurt in LA
The racing was bad. JJ won because he had the best pit crew. Gordan came out 5th cause he had the 5[th best pit crew. During the race I looked forward to the pit stops. They were awsome! No matter how bad the race was, it was better than watching bowling or golf.
From Travis in Kansas:
Damn I thought having a whole bunch of “heat races” in the form of the Brickyard 400 was extremely exciting.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. And goodyear doesn’t make money on race tires, they lose money on every set of tires used at the track according to Smokey Yunick’s autobiography.
Travis from Kansas
From Bob in California:
Wow back to the Tony George of old “I’m not wrong, don’t blame the track” we cannot be held responsible for Nascar’s & Goodyear not testing.
Does he have stock in Firestone?
Bob from CA
From Rick in AR:
This reminds me of the mess Indy had a few years back when F1 ran at Indy and 75% of the teams pulled off the track because of unsafe conditions on the track. If I recall, it had something to do with tires and one of the corners on the Indy road course.
Fans are the ones who suffer in the end. As tough as things are in NASCAR, fans should cast their vote with the pocketbook. That would get NASCAR’s attention.
I haven’t bought Goodyear tires since 1994 and yesterdays race confirmed my choice to use only Michellins. If I had paid to go to that race I would have left and been angry.
If the scheduled cautions were really for safety, they should have required 4 new tires each stop and let them keep their place in the running order. That would have been much safer on pit road with the 35-36 cars and the mad scramble that ensued each time. There were lots of near misses involving crewmen on pit road. Teams could have still done the 2 tire/4 tire deal and hurried stops during the unscheduled cautions.
What do you think?
Mark makes a great point in regards to the pits closing. They should have put the race into the teams hands, had the competition cautions and not made it mandatory to stop on them.
As far as stopping and putting the Pocono tires on with no idea how those tires would have performed not sure that would have been a good idea. Maybe they should have tried those tires (Pocono) the day before, because they knew they already had the problem.
Bob from CA
From JS in ND:
This was not a race. It was awful. The cars at the back of the pack
never had much of a chance to move up and stay ahead. The
commentators have been talking about how Jimmie Johnson had the best
car, fastest in practice and on the pole, that he would probably have
won anyway. He could take four tires each time and get back to the
front, whereas those drivers who were trying to gain track position
had to take two tires and couldn’t keep up with the four tires. He
had the first pit stop which helped him tremendously, along with the
cautions, which also was to his advantage. I agree with the drivers
who said they were embarrassed at how this turned out. I am thankful
that I did not pay to sit in the stands and watch this debacle. They
owe all those fans tickets to next year’s race. Throw out the
results to this race and give the fans a “do over”!!
I can’t believe that Nascar didn’t try the Pocono tires. I would
rather have seen that instead of what we saw yesterday.
JS from ND
From Clifford in Texas:
Claire B –
Last week on your show someone, I believe it was crew chief Kevin Hamlin, made the statement that the NASCAR races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are more competitive, and better races than recent Indianapolis 500s. HAH!
Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star called yesterday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard “the Lamest Spectacle” in racing and I totally agree!
Kravitz also said: “This was the Tire de Farce. A fiasco. A joke. An embarassment for NASCAR and for Goodyear. Unfair to the fans, who paid good money to attend the Competition Yellow 400. And unsafe for the drivers who were screaming around the track on rubberized time bombs that couldn’t last beyond 10 laps.”
Please advise Mr. Hamlin (and any others as appropriate) to direct their apologies to:
Mr. Brian Barnhart
President, Competition and Operations
Indy Racing League
4565 W. 16th St.
Indianapolis, IN 46222
I think one is certainly in order!
Clifford D. Wuertz
From Bob in MD:
I am an HMS fan I am glad JJ won.
I am not blaming Goodyear, the blame lays squarely on NASCAR. This is yet another example why the COT needs to go away.
If you are going to have a manditory caution the field should be frozen with no change of position as a result of the caution.
NASCAR needs to pentlize themselves.
Bob in MD
Give the Brickyard date to another track. Don’t go back, problem solved.
Sheila Matthews, CPhT
From Joe in California:
I watched the race on TV. I am a fan of Newman. It was a race, it is not a diminished win for JJ. He earned it, the other 42 drivers dealt with the same conditions. It was just inexcusable on NASCAR and Goodyear’s part. It would have been stupid to go to the unknown Pocono tires.
Joe – Arroyo Grande, CA
From C Greensos:
The only good thing about the race is that the guy who won deserved the win. He was the pole sitter and was fast in traffic and Chad is his crew chief. He deserved it.
A 17 fan.
From Leslie in GA:
Íwas there yesterday as well as the atl race in the spring both had tire problems and it was handled better at indy than atl. However it was not what I paid for …. But it is still Indy and it is still way cool to go there every year, and we will renew for next year. OK we had many yellow flags but we did see cars going around vs no cars and rain!! It happen, let’s fix it and move on
leslie back home in atl
I hold ALL fault with Goodyear. They knew at the test, as Jr. said, that the tires would not last more than 5 laps. If I were Goodyear and knew it was that bad, I would:
a) go back to the drawing board and re-design the tire and then
b) schedule another test with a newly designed tire.
At the very least, bring a few sets of every tire they make and see if any hold up better than the others…
It appears as though they knew of the problem and figured it would all work itself out come race day. Absolutely pitiful.
Maybe it is time to revisit multiple manufacturers. We all know that the teams only get better because they have to face each other week in and week out. If Goodyear knew they had to face real competition week in and week out, maybe they would do a little more homework.
From Dan in Green Bay:
Of course the angriest people are the ones who were at the race. The rest of us were able to walk away from the TV without feeling the pain of having spent money to see it. With cautions being dictated through the entire race it took out the aspect of team strategy. They shld have put it in the teams’ hands at the half-way point. *Dan from Green Bay
At least the 18 did not win the Allstate pitstop 400, did the Pace car lead
the most laps? I kept waiting for the pace car to take tires.
Send that 48 & 24 around
From Joyce in Arkansas:
Hey Claire B.,
Finally home after what seems like forever, so glad to be able to tune into Dialed In again!! I am so glad I did not buy tickets to the Brickyard 400, as much as I love the local short track heat races it is not what I expect from the top series of NASCAR. Even though NASCAR did what they felt best in the name of safety from the testing and practices they should of seen this coming and stepped in and done something about it. I know this is not their first rodeo, they should act like it.
NEWS FLASH… GOODYEAR IS GUILTY OF VIOLATING NASCAR RULE # 12-4-A, ACTIONS DETRIMENTAL TO STOCK CAR RACING… THEY ARE HEREBY FINED 12 MILLION DOLLARS, 5000 OWNER POINTS, AND SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY… MR. NEWTON OF THAT INDIANA TIRE CO. THAT MAKES DIRT TIRES THAT WORK WELL WILL SUPPLY TIRES NOW… CAN WE SAY “HOOSIER DADDY”?
From Sandy in GA:
I am sooooo Thankful that no one got hurt in yesterdays race.
I am sorry for the fans that traveled to the race and spent so much to attend it. I hope they found something positive about their experience in attending a NASCAR race. Each one is different. Surely, this was one of those.
Sandy in GA
From Sue in Ill:
I look forward to the Indy race, but Sunday’s race was a disaster. And there is certainly plenty of blame to go around, but it is pointless to cry over spilled milk. I think that NASCAR was between a rock and a hard place yesterday and their decision to throw all the competition cautions was the best solution to a very bad situation. It prevented a cancellation or half the field in the garage with torn up cars. Still there needs to be a re-evaluation of tire tests and the compounds used. In my opinion Goodyear needs to have more teams at each of the tire test to get more information and more opinions on the tires. But I will go further I think NASCAR needs to have their own test teams at tire tests to give their opinion on compounds. But NASCAR needs to do more work on the engineering and physics of this new car, because of the heavy loads on the right side of the cars there are tire issues at every track, work needs to be done on the cars. In hind site it may not have been such a good idea to implement the COT at all the tracks this year, but that is a decision that can not be changed so work with it. NASCAR R&D needs to go back to the Windtunnel and the track and work with all the teams to find changes that can be made to help the teams and Goodyear to make the tires safe and competitive.
Now as for the race itself, the best car won the race, Jimmie Johnson and the 48 team were outstanding all weekend and they were smart and the got to kiss the bricks. And the tire strategy of both the 48 and 24 was absolutely the right choice; take 4 every time till the final stop. Both of those cars could pass at will and their crews deserve much of the praise for their excellent days. I am very happy with how my driver Jeff Gordon performed all day, he was good all day and I think they have turned the corner with their program and will be a contender for the rest of the season just like the 48 team. And Carl Edwards was also excellent all day even after having their tire issue, they battled back and finished strong. Frankly all the drivers who finished in the top 10 had excellent days, none of them were able to get into a rhythm but they all ran brilliantly all day. Now there were some drivers who just didn’t do so well, first Mark Martin didn’t seem to be a factor all day, it is never a good idea to say you are going to win publicly because you are bound to get bitten. And I was very surprised by how poorly Tony Stewart’s car ran, I expected a solid day and he just was off all day, as was Kyle Busch, though I was less surprised by his performance. And finally Matt Kenseth, I couldn’t believe that when he said the tire was going that he waited to pit, if he had been smart like Dale Jr. he may have ended up with a torn up car. Knowing what he did it was reckless to wait till a caution, he hurt his chase chances. And I thought Kurt Busch was a stand up guy, he said he made a mistake and accepted the blame, that is how a sportsman behaves.
Sue from Shorewood, IL
The race wasn’t the best as we all know, but Nascar had to make it safe. If they Nascar didn’t do the competion yellows, you would have had drivers crashing all over the place.
I listened to Dale Jr on the radio and watch the hotpass coverage and it didn’t matter what driver it was they were just blowing through so many tires after seven laps because the tire was showing cords. There was just no grip on the track. In ten laps Dale could pass eight ten cars in that run. What you saw was short track racing. But I saw that with a lot of Drivers
Over all it wasn’t a total mess. Nascar just made it safe under the circumstances for what they had.
Oh by the way, did you notice that at one point you had three Hendrick cars up front?
From Annie in Iowa:
Hey Claire B!
My husband looked over at me at the second competition yellow yesterday while we were watching the race on TV and said, “I can hear Claire B.’s phone ringing already!”
While I understand that everyone did the best they could with the situation at hand yesterday at Indy, I cannot understand how NASCAR let that situation come to be? How can you not require testing a tire on a car that’s never run at a race track? Yesterday was a mockery of all that’s held holy by fans at any racetrack. NASCAR should be ashamed. Ashamed!!!
Annie in Iowa
Jeff Gordon 101 – Was that a race I watched yesterday or a 43 car tire test?! A caution every 12 laps to check tire wear?! I could’ve sworn that NASCAR does tire tests during the off season – as well as – all throughout the regular season?! Did you see the wear on those tires?! Did somebody at Goodyear get the shipping papers mixed up and send the wrong tires?! I have never seen anything so ridiculous as yesterday in all my years of watching NASCAR!!! I am glad that I didn’t spend money on transportation costs getting to Indiana, spend money on lodging, spend money on tickets to the Brickyard 400, etc. because I would be so damn livid today if I had indeed spent money on that circus show that NASCAR put on yesterday!!! That was absolutely ridiculous!!! I would love to give you some more from the soapbox, but I really am speechless!!! The good thing from yesterday – Gordon had a strong car, led a few laps, crossed the checkered in 5th, and remained 6th in points…other than that – that race (tire test) was an absolute joke!!!
Please send the 24 car around 20 more times to get us to 101 wins!!!
From Ruth in Cincinnati:
Wow, am I glad I didn’t lay out any money for a ticket for that “RACE”? I was at qualifying and practice on Saturday and believe me I think it was more fun and much better then the actual event on Sunday. Where’s Tony when you need him…how come he hasn’t said anything about that travesty that happened on Sunday? Goodyear and Nascar should refund at least ½ of the ticket price for all of those that attended that disaster. Don’t be surprised if next year the tickets aren’t ½ price, if you only see ½ a race you shouldn’t have to pay full price.
Send that #20 around.
Ruth in Cincinnati
From Rich in GA:
I have two questions for you that maybe you could ask, one is for NASCAR and one is for a crew chief.
Once NASCAR Realized that they were going to continue to do competition cautions yesterday, why didn’t they try to set the race up to maybe have a 12 or 13 lap shoot instead of the 7 lap one they had, cause they knew the tires would hold up about that long.
Why didn’t one of the teams that were 15 to 20 try to gamble and pit with like 15 laps to go right before NASCAR closed pit road and before the last competition caution. If I was a crew chief I would have tried it!!! Cause you know you could run about 12 laps and I would have tried to get a top five out of it if not the win!!! Did no one think of that?
Peachtree City, Georgia
Allstate at the Brickyard tickets $170.00
Air Fare to Indianapolis $950.00
Rental Car $320.00
Misc Expenses $900.00
Telling Gooodyear Racing and NASCAR to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine Priceless!!!
Hi Claire B.
We awakened this morning still angry from the debacle we witnessed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway yesterday. It was our 15th Brickyard and is amongst 6/8 Cup Races we attend each year. The attendance yesterday estimated at 225,000 (the highest attended Cup Race this year) was still a disappointment as the usual crowd would approach 300,000 or more. When we arrived at the track we were shocked to see the large amount of empty seats when the race began. Obviously, the gas prices and economy kept people away from the famed Brickyard. Still, 225,000 stedfast fans were loyal and ready to see a great race at one of the premiere Sprint Cup races in the series. We spent our money knowing that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and it’s staff were prepared, as in years past, to put on a great show and make sure the fans got their moneys worth. The Speedway did everything in it’s power to insure this would happen. The Race be gan after an amazing Pre Race program, rivaled only by the Indianapolis 500 and possibly the Daytona 500. Soon, it became evident that Goodyear Racing and possibly NASCAR had totally dropped the ball. Why on earth would NASCAR and Goodyear not test at the track where the COT had not raced before is beyond any imaginable reason. We and the other 224,998 fans were treated to, without a doubt, what was one of the worst races in NASCAR history. Shame on your Goodyear and shame on you NASCAR for allowing something like this to happen to your fans and IMS. We deserve much better. I feel sorry for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway who surely will be the one to suffer from something totally beyond their control. We love NASCAR and we particularly love the Brickyard because of the pageantry and history of the track. With that said, we, in all likelihood, will not attend the event again. I predict that what happened yesterday will cost the Bri ckyard another 25,000/50,000 attendees next year. Our feelings at this point are that Goodyear and NASCAR should refund the cost of tickets and expenses of getting to the race to all fans in attendance. What infuriated us further this morning is what we read in the Indianapolis Star, that neither Goodyear or NASCAR is accepting blame for what happened yesterday. Such an occurrence can only be rivaled by the cancellation of the CART Race at Texas Motor Speedway several years ago on race day and the F-1 Michelin debacle at the U.S. Grand Prix a few years back. Shame on you, shame on you Goodyear and NASCAR. If this isn’t a call for Hoosier Tire Company to re-enter NASCAR, I do not know what is. Maybe a bit of competition for Goodyear will be the medicine needed for them to get their act together. There is no reason and no excuse for something like this to occur—-EVER!!! We the fans, the Sprint Cup teams and Indianapolis Motor Speedway were the big losers and we deserve much better.
We truly want to remain Loyal NASCAR fans but if we ever attend a race were something like this happens again it will be Good Bye NASCAR, Hello IRL. That also,was the sentiment of most of the fans in our stands yesterday.
Eric in Tucson (still in Indy)
From Coe in Alabama:
On my lunch hour so keeping it short.
Indy was a farce. I listened to the race on the radio (over broadcast radio not the ‘dog’) coming back from Louisiana and time with the grandsons and the race was pathetic. I will grant that no one was injured, but no one was lapped on the track, either.
NASCAR issuing a warning that 12 laps was all the tires could take and warning that they would be black flagged at 15 laps would have been better.
The pit stops should have been under GREEN. Those that could get a couple more laps would be evident after the first two stops. It was a farce.
If ever Tony should have blown up at Goodyear, yesterday was the day. HOWEVER; I am betting that in the divers’ session and even earlier in the post-practice debriefings by officialdom it was made D*** clear that the teams, drivers, and owners better not be disparaging or they would ‘pay’.
Kyle Bush: Time to start a rumor.
If I were Home Depot, I would be very very upset at the Lowes Chevy consistantly finishing better than the Home Depot Chevy/Toyota over the last two and a half seasons. Soooo…. you need to put the bug in JD’s ear that this is what they need to do:
Zippy and crew should swap crews with the 18.
Joey Lagono would take over the ride with Zipedelli on the 18 team.
Kyle Busch and the entire crew on the 18 would take over the #20 Home Depot! If JD will offer that to Home Depot, JGR might be able to keep the Home Depot sponsorship, IF Home Depot is not set against staying with Toyota.
BTW: A die hard 24 fan is now so disgusted with NASCAR that he does not even DVR the races!!!! He has gone back to following open wheel!
Coe in Alabama.
TRANSCRIPT OF Brian France News Conference June 14, 2008Posted by claireblang in Controversy.
Tags: Brian France, claire b lang, Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR, Sexual harassment, XM Radio
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Image via WikipediaFrance Addresses Media;
“Knowing what I know now and not to compromise the investigation at all and I’m not going to do that I can tell you not to jump to conclusions about what a lawsuit attempts to say in an attempt to create some monitory reward for themselves. We’ve been down this road before and usually the facts are something different than the lawsuit and we’ll just have to let the facts come out as they will” Brian France to the media at MIS 6/14/08
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France entered the Michigan International Speedway media conference room at 1:30 p.m. EST Saturday wearing dress slacks and a shirt with sleeves rolled up. In other words – no formal suit.
He was there to address the media and take questions about the $225 million discrimination and harassment lawsuit filed last week by a former official of NASCAR in the Nationwide Series. When asked whether he came to Michigan specifically for the news conference or if he was coming to the race anyway he joked, “I always like to fly up to see you guys (media) personally, so, no I was going to be here anyway.”
Then France made a statement and opened the floor for questions.
TRANSCRIPT OF Brian France News Conference
May 14, 2008:
BRIAN FRANCE: I wanted to make a couple of comment regarding a couple of items that are in the news for us. One of the comments is in respect to a lawsuit that was filed on Tuesday and a subsequent investigation we have under way to review those claims that were made. I think I mentioned earlier in the week that the most disappointing thing to me is that we found out about the alleged claims after you did in the media via a national lawsuit that seeks a lot of money.
That’s very disappointing, because if any of those claims turn out to be accurate and have substance, we would have liked to have known about that two years ago so that we could have reacted and done something about it. It is inconsistent with anything from a policy standpoint of how a work environment for our officials should be. It is not consistent with anything – our values or what have you.
I would tell you the most disappointing thing that all of times that this plaintiff, Miss Grant, had in her time at NASCAR through diversity and sexual harassment seminars and training – where our human resources people were explaining as we always do multiple times during the year what our policy is and how the environment needs to be. Everybody signs that and understands that and abides by that.
To have never, ever raised it other than in a lawsuit is disappointing to us. Nevertheless, we have started an investigation -we’re under way. We are treating in very seriously as we would when we have these types of investigations. With thousands of employees and the nature of our business we’re going to have claims that are made from time to time. It’s not uncommon for us. We investigate every one of these kind of claims very thoroughly and we will continue to do that.
That is it on that topic and happy to take any questions
Q: There’s a story on the wire today that two of the people involved or named in the lawsuit have been suspended as part of the investigation obviously. Can you comment on that?
France: In our investigation we have put two officials on a leave of absence until we can complete more details and complete the investigation fully. That is correct. The two people have left for the weekend. (The Nationwide Series was scheduled to race Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.)
Q: Was there a meeting (Friday) with officials in the (Cup and Truck series) garages here in Michigan as well as the investigation going on in Kentucky?
France: There was. We wanted to remind everyone about our policy. Everyone should be familiar, should be aware of how to conduct themselves and their behavior. But, obviously, we wanted to make sure once again of exactly what NASCAR’s policy is in terms of behavior in either harassment or certainly in racial discrimination of any kind. That was the nature of those two reviews with our officials.
Q: What did you discover in your investigation in Kentucky that led to the two officials on leave?
France: The investigation is still ongoing. Obviously we found some violations in our policy. I would not jump to conclusions to assume that all the allegations that were made over the many months that the plaintiff made are accurate. I would be very, very cautious to making that leap of faith even if we were to take action on any official in this investigation. We might discover something entirely different that may have been going on that had nothing to do with the claim in the lawsuit but still is a violation of our policy.
That would get you in trouble with us. That’s the nature of investigations. They go on and we’re very detailed. We’re bringing in everybody that we can find to give us the information of what is going on so we can be very clear in our findings.
Q: What does this do to the relatively clean reputation the sport has had? Is that reputation sliding?
France: I wouldn’t characterize it as a sliding at all. We are a big sport with lots of participants at lots of different levels. The idea that everybody is going to act and behave perfectly is just not a reality that any of us lives in. Our job is to make sure that we have really good work policies in place and to react very swiftly if our policies are violated.
We’re going to do that. We found out about this,as you know, on Tuesday with the filing of the suit. By Thursday we were in full investigative mode. We didn’t wait. Some of these claims go back two years or longer.
Here again, it’s very disappointing that would not have been brought to our attention if these claims actually happened that the would have been brought to our attention right when they happened so we could have investigated it right then and taken any action we needed to. And it didn’t happen. It just didn’t happen. She chose to make this about money and about a lawsuit and we’ll deal with that.
Q: In the course of the investigation you’ve done over the past few days you’ve talked to supervisors that Miss Grant says she reported this information to. In your subsequent investigation after you found out about it have you found any instances where her complaints might have not gotten up the chain as far as they needed to. Do you know what I’m asking?
France: I know what you are asking. So far – she just didn’t report anything to anybody. Quite the opposite, she was very pleased with her colleagues, most of the comments that we have heard is she liked her job, enjoyed being there and liked the camaraderie with the other officials. We just have not found anyone that she reported the claim (to). Even if we have not found it yet… There’s a very clear process you go through if there is any discrimination or harassment. Everybody in the company knows what it is and they have been trained to observe it and make sure that the proper officials within the company are notified. You could pull me (aside)-any employee who has an issue can e-mail me directly or certainly go to human resources. There are dozens of ways to report such an incident and it just didn’t get reported.
Q: Will you hesitate to settle the lawsuit out of fear that it could spark other lawsuits of a similar kind?
France: We can’t comment on the developments of litigation. Lawsuits are lawsuits and we’ll deal with that within the court system.
Q: Could you tell us why (the official who filed the lawsuit) was terminated eventually?
France: We don’t divulge that information on any employee so I can’t tell you that.
Q: What does this do to the diversity efforts you and NASCAR have made? Does it affirm a perception that may be held outside the sport that NASCAR is a white guy’s sport?
France: Would we like to not have had a suit filed that makes these kinds of claims? Of course. Would we really have liked to been able to investigate it when these incidents occurred? You bet.
But we have to deal with what we have to deal with. The only thing I will say is that as all of the facts ultimately get on the table is not to jump to conclusions about what actually happened. That’s why we do investigations that’s why we do reviews. We will get to the bottom of it and hopefully nobody will jump to an improper conclusion.
Q: Brian her representation is pulling no punches in this thing at all. There was a statement issued recently where here representation said yes they (NASCAR) have a zero tolerance policy something of the line zero tolerance for women zero tolerance for blacks etc. What is your response to her representation coming out and saying those types of things?
Well, anybody can say anything that you want and hire a PR firm and do all the things that anybody wants to do and say whatever they want. That’s just completely inconsistant with anything that goes on in NASCAR. It’s not the NASCAR that we are building and I would obviously disagree with her.
Q: Brian, perception is reality, can you paint the picture that (you see) is NASCAR right now out on pit road and in the garage?
Well it’s a sport that is evolving and a sport that is reaching out in lots of different ways to be more diverse and not because it’s a socially good idea. It’s a good idea for a whole host of different reasons. It’s an American sport we need to look and feel more like America. You know the many different initiatives that we have from driver diversity where drivers are getting a chance who otherwise wouldn’t have. Crew members, internship programs, the tracks are doing an enormous amount they are trying to attract a new audience and I have helped lead it for a number of years. We’re never happy because we haven’t reached all our goals. But we’re happy with our approach, the road we’re on and what we stand for. You’ve heard me many times and you as the media you know things that were in that claim were absolutely and completely inconsistent with where this sport is going.
That was most of what Brian France had to say. I like to give it to you in full so that you can review it for yourself.
Talk amongst yourselves on this one:
How about that NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Race. Was Ron Hornaday mad at Kyle Busch or What? He ran through the fence into the garage and found Busch. The conversation wasn’t pretty. What did you see? Email me at ClaireBMail [at] ClaireBLang.com
Lot’s of Mail! May 6, 2008Posted by claireblang in Claire B's Mail, Controversy.
Tags: claire b lang, claire b mail, NASCAR, XM Radio
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Hey all! My email box has been getting a flood of emails from this weekend’s activities. I thought you’d like to read some of them; pop on over to my mail box
– Claire B
Survey Says…..”NADA!” on “Team Points Switching-At-Will” March 25, 2008Posted by claireblang in Controversy, NASCAR Poll.
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Well, after one week of surveying, it is pretty clear that NASCAR fans want to limit the amount of team point switching that goes on. Thanks for everyone who took time to shout out on this topic.
The question was: “Should Sprint Cup teams be allowed to swap owner points between teammates to give their teams the opportunity to be in the top 35 in points to make a race?”