Speak Your Mind: Should pit road speeds be made public?

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR
After the Martinsville race, Jimmie Johnson was the latest in a long line of drivers to question the speeding penalty he received from NASCAR. Since then, there's been a lot of talk about whether NASCAR should make the pit road speeds public during the race broadcasts. NASCAR says they don't publicize them in order to protect teams' strategies. But many argue there wouldn't be an issue about the speeding penalties if they were made public during the race.

Several writers at Skirts and Scuffs had a lot to say on the subject. So we decided to tackle the questions: Should pit roads speeds be made public? If they were, would you keep tabs on them? Do you care?

Summer Dreyer: Yes, yes, and YES!

Seriously, there is no logical reason why they shouldn't. NASCAR's reasoning as to why they don't post the speeds is nothing short of asinine. They subject themselves to question and then wonder why fans question whether or not the racing is fixed. Make it easier on everyone and let us see what they are seeing.

Lacy Keyser: Well, to me I don't care either way. But still, even if NASCAR doesn't make public the speeds, you still have fans who have a scanner so they are going to know. What I'm saying is I really don't care, but I do love seeing emotion and our drivers fired up like that shows you just how passion they really are and what winning and racing mean to them.

Holly Machuga: I honestly don't mind either way. If you listen to drivers' radios, sometimes you will hear the crew chief say the pit road speed to remind the driver. I know Kenny Francis does for Kasey Kahne. It would be nice to know the pit road speed, but not critical in knowing what's going during the race, unless a driver sped on pit road.

Kristina LaFountain: I do think the pit road speeds should be made public. I don't believe the drivers' speeds on put road vary all that much from driver to driver and therefore I do not believe it would give away much about the team's strategy. 

Since NASCAR does not publicize the speeds, it simply leads teams and fans to believe that the penalties are fixed.

Also I think there should be some sort of system set up so that the driver and crew chief will know exactly when and if they are speeding on pit road so that there is absolutely no question.

Amy McHargue: I do not think the pit road speeds need to be made public or be reported in real-time, that is I do not believe there needs to be a ticker during race broadcasts. My suggestion would be to install a receiver in all cars and on all pit boxes that is connected to the scoring/timing relays. If any pit road sensor detects a speed in excess of pit road limits, a red light goes on in both the car and in the pit box indicating a speeding violation. The driver and crew chief would both know exactly when the speed violation occurred. NASCAR officials would still report the official speed and penalty to the crew chief but this way the official visit would no longer come as a surprise.

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR
Genevieve Cadorette: After putting in some serious thought into this question, I do believe that NASCAR should make pit road speeds public and I don't think it'll hurt the teams' strategies.

As of late, NASCAR has been accused of fixing the race to protect and assist certain drivers; in reality, the less information you provide to fans, teams and media, the more doors open to speculation. When hit with a pit road speeding violation, regardless where you're at in the actual race, you're sent back a lap. I think it's fair to give details. It's easier to own up to an error when you know what your exact error was; it will avoid many problems, including outbursts (like the one Jimmie Johnson just had).

Rebecca Kivak: I think NASCAR should make the pit road speeds public so there's no question. The drivers who are busted for speeding will complain no matter what; we saw the same thing with Kevin Harvick after Homestead last year and Juan Pablo Montoya during the Brickyard 400 in 2009. It happens frequently where drivers and fans have questioned NASCAR's calls in this area, with some fans even suggesting the races are fixed. But if the speeds were made public, the issue would be put to rest immediately. The more information made available to the teams, fans and media, the less NASCAR's credibility is put into question. NASCAR has shown that when they penalize a driver for speeding, they have the data to prove the driver was in fact speeding. So if it's black and white, why not make it public for all to see?

NASCAR's stance is they are protecting teams' strategies, but Spokesman Kerry Tharp said that pit road maps are available to all the teams so they can know where the timing lines are. So if all teams have access to the maps, I would think it's fairly easy to guess another team's strategy and that the strategies are probably similar across the board anyway. Therefore, I don't think NASCAR publicizing the pit road speeds would hurt the teams' strategies.

Amanda Ebersole: Wow, tough one! I care when my driver gets busted for speeding, but the majority of the time I think it is not a problem. Drivers know the pit road speed prior to the race; it is just them trying to push the line to gain that extra .001 of a second on their competition while on pit road that they find themselves pushing the line too far and speeding.

NASCAR does not need to make this rule any clearer; it's a black and white issue. You are given a 5 mph overage, if you are over that, you are speeding. The rules are there for safety issues; I respect that and don't think that is up for debate. Although we don't like the speeding penalties, how would we feel if in the event of so and so speeding, a crew member got hit?

Unique Hiram: Personally, I feel that the rules are the rules; therefore, you have to abide by them. Granted, it has upset me a select few times when one of my favorite drivers has been busted for speeding on pit road.  The bottom line is that those rules have been put into place for a reason - I think two of the main ones being that so no one can get hurt (e.g. pit crew member) or an unnecessary wreck occurring due to a mass number of car flying out of their pit road to get back onto the racetrack.

Should the pit road speeds be made public? I think that they are publicized enough by the race commentators so how much more publicity do these pit road speeds really need? Just saying - I think all of the fans are well aware of how fast your driver can be entering and exiting pit road, so if he/she pushes the envelope then they have to pay the piper.
Speak Your Mind: Should pit road speeds be made public? Speak Your Mind: Should pit road speeds be made public? Reviewed by Admin on Friday, April 08, 2011 Rating: 5