Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Tire, A Tire, My Kingdom for a Tire!!!

One week away from the first anniversary of the tire debacle at Indy, Katie revisits some old blogs on tire issues.


(originally posted 7/28/08 on


Charlotte- Following Sunday's dismal race at Indianapolis, NASCAR Director of Competition Robin Pemberton announced today that NASCAR will be making major changes to the Sprint Cup Series.

"To say that this was an embarrassment to NASCAR is an understatement," Pemberton told reporters. "We want to make absolutely sure that nothing like this ever happens again."

In the first of two measures to prevent a repeat of the Brickyard events, NASCAR terminated its contract with Goodyear Tire & Rubber, who until now, held the exclusive rights as NASCAR's tire supplier.

In the second measure, Pemberton announced that NASCAR will be scrapping the controversial COT effective immediately. In unveiling the new car, which will make its debut this weekend at Pocono, Pemberton said that NASCAR wanted to return to a simpler, more basic car.

In a prepared statement, NASCAR chairman Brian France said "This car should meet with approval from NASCAR fans. It puts the outcome of the race back in the hands of the drivers."

Or maybe in this case, feet.

Evidently, Goodyear didn't get the message since tires once again became an issue at Daytona in February.

Same Song. Second Verse

(originally posted 2/14/09 on

Katie discovered this news item while leafing through a copy of a pet product magazine.

Daytona Beach- Following several tire failures involving high profile drivers- including Tony Stewart and teammate Ryan Newman- plus the recall of several race tires by Goodyear, NASCAR officials announced a major change in their tire supplier.

"We don't want to start the season off like this," NASCAR Director of Competition Robin Pemberton told reporters during an impromtu question and answer session following Saturday's Nationwide race at Daytona International Speedway. "We're not - repeat NOT- going to have another Brickyard on our hands," he said emphatically. Pemberton was referring to the 2008 Sprint Cup race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which was marred by tire issues so severe that caution flags flew every 30 laps to assess tire wear.

To that end, NASCAR President Mike Helton announced that effective immediately, all tires used in NASCAR sanctioned races will be manufactured by the Kong Company. "Anyone with a dog is familiar with the Kong pet toy," Helton told the media. "The things are virtually indestructible. We feel certain that the new Kong tires can withstand all the stresses associated with racing and that our tire problems are a thing of the past."

Goodyear has had several tire tests at Indy since the debacle a year ago. The drivers have all walked away from those testing sessions saying that Goodyear has made significant improvement in the tire over last year, and they are confident that there will not be a repeat of last year's race. We'll find out in a week.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What Happens in Sonoma...

The Days of Wine and Lug Nuts
the continuing saga of the Maltese Lug Nut

It was a dark and stormy night. NASCAR Chief Inspector Helton put down the note and turned to his computer. He pulled up the FOXSports NASCAR blog pages and scanned them for any information he could find on Kristen and the Maltese Lug Nut. One particular blog entry caught his attention almost immediately. His jaw dropped as he began reading. There in front of him for the entire world to see was all the information concerning Kristen's meeting with her gang: date, time, and place. As he scrolled through the comments, he got even luckier. There was the list of gang members who would be attending the meeting. Helton picked up the phone and started dialing.

"Meeting in the NASCAR hauler Friday morning at Sonoma," Helton barked to the party on the other end of the line. "Don't be late. I'd hate to have to make an example of you, too." Helton hung up the phone and made several more calls, each with the same message as the first.
Friday morning at the track, the men who had received the phone calls assembled at the NASCAR hauler. Helton was waiting for them.

"Good morning, gentlemen. We have a crisis on our hands," Helton told the assembly.

"What is it now?" asked one of the men. "Knaus up to something again?"

"I wish it were that simple, Dave," Helton commented to Dave Blaney. "This is much more serious. The Maltese Lug Nut is still missing."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, and Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead," joked Todd Bodine. The room erupted in laughter.

"Watch it Bodine," Helton told the jokester. "You're on thin ice as it is. Your performance at Martinsville was disappointing at best. Most would call it downright disgraceful." The driver jumped up from his seat ready for a fight.

"Look, Phil thinks this whole idea of using the start and park drivers as garage spies is ridiculous. No one is going to tell us anything," Bodine snapped back.

"Perhaps Phil would like a taste of the Carl Long treatment," Helton threatened. Bodine sat back down. "I didn't think so. If you want to park your car after three laps, then you have to earn that prize money in other ways." Heltom turned his attention back to the entire group. "Now, the Valus gang will be here this weekend. I've learned that they will all have pit passes, so keep your eyes and ears open."

"How are we supposed to know what they look like?" asked Joe Nemechek.

"You won't," Helton admitted as he handed out dossiers on the Valus gang members. "We only have pictures of Kristen."

"So we're supposed to figure out just which fans out of the thousands that will be at the track are Kristen's gang members withour so much as a hint of what they look like?" Bodine asked incredulously. "Man, you've been drinking Jeremy's kool-aid."

"We know when and where they're meeting," Helton informed the group, "and the dossiers should help some. You'll know which drivers to give special attention. I'll leave it to you to work out the details among yourselves." The drivers left the hauler and returned to their garages.


Later that afternoon, as the teams prepared for practice and qualifying, no one noticed the petite brunette slip into the hauler of Roush/Fenway driver David Ragan. She made her way to the back of the hauler and up to the office. Jack Roush was sitting behind the desk waiting for her.

"Hello, Melissa, Did anyone see you?" he asked.

"I don't think so," she replied.

"Good. You know why you're here." Roush said.

"You want me to find out what Kristen did with the Maltese Lug Nut."

"Precisely. Do you think she suspects anything?" he queried.

"No, sir," the girl answered, "but what makes you think she'll tell me anything. Helton had Dale Jr. talk to her and got nothing."

"That's where Helton went wrong," Roush remarked. "She was star struck, and now he thinks his start and park spies are going to be able to find the Lug Nut."

"I'll do my best, sir," she told Roush.

"I know you will," the owner remarked. "Make sure no one sees you when you leave."

"Yes, sir." The young woman slipped out of the hauler as easily as she had gotten in and blended in with the other fans at the track.