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Unwritten NASCAR Rules…… September 14, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Controversy, Drivers, NASCAR, Trackside.
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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.”

Drivers Meeting:
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)

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Update BREAKING blog- Casey Mears; Greg Biffle June 27, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Breaking News, Drivers, NASCAR, Teams.
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Outside Roush headquarters.Image via WikipediaMore from New Hampshire 11:41 a.m.- I stopped by the radio room here in the Media Center at NHMS for a quick second to send you this update:

Casey Mears was just in the deadline room here and to his fans – I can report he was doing just fine. He’s not one to hang his head and he said that he has known for weeks. Naturally, he said, he would have liked to have stayed but that it’s almost a relief to know what is happening so he can concentrate on the rest of the season. He seemed extremely upbeat at the potential for the future.

He said that he had not thought about next year and at first he was afraid nothing was going to be open but that he’s been talking to a few folks and has been “pleasantly surprised.”

One question to Mears is whether or not he was up for the fourth Richard Childress Racing ride because his name is now being linked to it – he answered, “You know if something like that were to develop that would be a great opportunity.” He added that he’d like to get his future ride tied up as soon as possible so that he can focus on the remaining part of this year at Hendrick Motorsports.

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I’m already getting email from you all:

Sad Sad Sad,I can not believe Mr Hendrick has thrown away Casey,My God these drivers are Human beings with feelings,Why Why would Rick do this,why did he not move CC’s or Car Chiefs Etc.Rick did this last year to Kyle and now to Casey,I hope and pray Casey can get another cup ride Jeez with impending fatherhood How can Rick be so COLD!
Leslie Eaton Addison Mi

Some of you are not as upset – but more interested in who might go in that ride. Send me an email and let me know what you think: ClaireBMail [at] ClaireBLang.com
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News on the Biffle contract signing watch. The ink has dried, thank goodness.

Here’s the news release issued this morning from Roush Fenway Racing:

Loudon, N.H. (June 27, 2008) – Greg Biffle announced today that he has
signed a three-year extension of his contract with Roush Fenway Racing.
Biffle has been with Roush Fenway Racing since 1998. During his 10
years at Roush Fenway Racing, Biffle has accumulated 46 wins, 166
top-five finishes and 250 top-10 finishes in 496 starts. In 2002,
Biffle took the NASCAR Nationwide Series title making him the only
driver in NASCAR history with both a Nationwide and a Craftsman Truck
Series championship title. He is currently seventh in the Sprint Cup
point standings driving the No. 16 3M/Dish Network/Jackson
Hewitt-sponsored Ford Fusion.

Biffle is looking forward to the continued relationship with Roush
Fenway Racing as well as a long-term partnership with 3M.

“I’m extremely happy and relieved to have this contract complete,” said
Biffle. “I have a team that can contend for the championship this
season and for future seasons as well. 3M has been an incredible
partner for several years now and having them on board made the decision
even easier. All the elements are in place: the resources of Ford and
Roush Fenway, the excellent team, the outstanding cars and having a
great primary sponsor like 3M for the next few years.”

In addition to Biffle’s Cup Series program, he is also running a partial
schedule in the No. 16 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion in the NASCAR
Nationwide Series this season.

“I would like to run another partial schedule in the CitiFinancial Ford
next season,” Biffle said. “We’re still working out the schedule but I
have always had fun racing in the Nationwide Series so I’d say it’s
likely you’ll see me there in 2009.”

I was broadcasting yesterday from Bayside Inn at Alton Bay here in NH and so many folks stopped by to join the broadcast and talk racing. This part of the country has some serious race fans and I love the fact that the Camping world and Modified guys race here too this weekend.

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Oh I got a cool email from a listener named Jason who says there’s a camper here at NH next to him that has a mobile memorial to past stock car racers. Here’s the link to the camper that is taking this memorial across the country – I thought you’d like to see it. Jason, thanks for listening and for the email. Check out the memorial this race fan is taking around the country:
http://www.thecaretaker.ca

More later – gotta run. Duty calls.
Claire B

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