It’s not every day you’re offered an opportunity to drive a 500 horsepower actual race used NASCAR, so you can imagine my excitement when my dad presented me with a gift card to the NASCAR Racing Experience for Christmas last year. After all the wrapping paper was put away, I realized I had the hardest decision of my whole life ahead of me.
Following punishments by NASCAR to the Michael Waltrip Racing team after MWR drivers, crew chiefs and spotters tried to game the system for getting into NASCAR’s playoff-like Chase for the Sprint Cup championship with an intentional spin and deliberately slow driving, on Thursday Michael Waltrip’s longtime sponsor, the NAPA auto parts store chain, announced that they will end their relationship with Waltrip’s race team at the end of this year. (Read More…)
The number 42 Dodge Charger was running well. Although it had qualified in 9th position with a top speed of only 177 miles per hour, during the race it was clocked as high as 188 miles per hour and its driver, an amateur racer who made his living singing cowboy ballads at the Grand Ole Opry, was really mixing it up with the professional drivers. The Winston 500 was a big deal and, as one of the premier NASCAR races, there as a lot at stake. Talladega was one of those legendary places that captured the imagination and the attention of every race fan in the nation was focused on the event. For older, more experienced drivers a good performance meant job security while for the new guys, like Darrell Waltrip who was making his first ever Sprint Cup start in the race, a good performance could mark a man out from his peers and maybe garner the attention of one of the big teams. Given the expense, the effort, and the experience that it took to even field a car in the race, how was it that a country and western singer in a car paid for mostly out of his own pocket could be running so well? The answer is simple, he was cheating. (Read More…)
In the 1982 German Grand Prix at the Hockenheim racetrack, driving a BMW powered Brabham Nelson Piquet Sr. was leading 18 laps into the 45 lap race. As he passed backmarker Eliseo Salazar to lap him at the new Ostkurve chicane, Salazar turned into Piquet, wrecking the two of them. It was a relatively low speed collision and neither was injured but both of their races were over. An enraged Piquet was already gesturing angrily at Salazar as he got out of his car. Piquet then pretty much charged at Salazar, stiff armed him, then hit him with a left right combination of punches to the head followed by a karate kick towards Salazar’s groin, which missed. Next time some hoity toity F1 fan mocks NASCAR and the Allison brothers versus Cale Yarborough throwdown, remind them of Piquet’s kick.
The Chevrolet Caprice might be second to the Toyota FT-86 in the sheer volume of rumors surrounding when and where it will go on sale. The rear-drive, 6.0L V8 powered Caprice is currently sold only to fleet customers, but the “detective’s cars” sold as unmarked units look suspiciously like civilian-ready full size sedans.
The rot-gut whiskey powered good ol’ boys who turned their fleet flite from revenooers into stock car racing must be flipping their ‘40 Fords in their graves. Nah, on second thought, they’d be so proud that their Prohibition-defying race car culture has swept the nation they’d be bemused by the news. Nascar is going effete… uh, green.
I’ve heard a lot of derisive comments about NASCAR lately on this site, many of them from people — my fellow racers and fast-road drivers — who should know better. While it’s true that the common template is a disgrace, the idea that NASCAR is a low-tech ghetto compared to the oh-so-modern sports-car series like the ALMS is, to put it mildly, false. There’s a reason that the abortive USF1 team wanted to locate near the NASCAR guys. It’s where the tech is. Click the jump to find out why racing NASCAR takes more brainpower than any Touring Car or prototype series out there…