By on August 12, 2016

NASCAR (James Marvin Phelps/Flickr)

R.I.P. victory lap burnouts? It sure looks that way.

NASCAR seems to have reached a tipping point in its tolerance of post-race victory burnouts, some of which damage the vehicle enough to interfere with the post-race inspection process. After an incident last weekend, the organization says it might have to lay down rules, Autoblog reports.

Following Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International, Denny Hamlin went wild with his No. 11 Toyota, leaving it unable to reach Victory Lane. Hamlin’s tire-shredding smoke show is just one many incidents that ruffled officials.

Their fear is that post-race showboating could cover up rule violations, even though there’s no evidence of that happening.

“It’s something that’s been out there that we are trying to avoid yet balance the celebration,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’S Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, during an interview with SiriusXM NASCAR yesterday. “I think (we will see something) in the very near future, and this isn’t putting it all on the 11 car, this is something we’ve talked about, it’s a trend we don’t like to see.”

Drivers can expect regulations on in-car celebrations “sooner than later,” said O’Donnell, adding that new rules will likely be in place by the last quarter of the season.

“Again, not there yet, we’re talking to a lot of the teams about it but I think everybody is on board with the direction we want to go in,” he said.

That’s not tire smoke you’re seeing — it’s a funeral pyre…for tradition.

[Image: James Marvin Phelps/Flickr]

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70 Comments on “Is NASCAR About to Ban Celebratory Burnouts?...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    He’s being quite a ham.

  • avatar
    ajla

    In current NASCAR there is very little incentive to follow the rules. Unless they actually take away the win or alter Chase eligibility rules no one will care.

    You win, you cheat, you pay $40K in fines if you get caught, but still are ensured a “playoff” spot.

    • 0 avatar
      mason

      Points are still deducted. when positions and even championships are separated by a few points a 25 point driver fine will hurt.

      Sad to say but NASCAR is a mere shell of what it once was. Mainly due to the corporate mentality and big brother Helton keeping the teams under his thumb. What they do to bend the rules now is peanuts compared to how they ran 40+ years ago, and the vast majority of it wasn’t considered cheating. It was being “innovative”. Smokey Yunick was one of the best at finding ways to win at a time when they truly were stock cars.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Mason, you nailed it. From the days of using “spacers” in the springs to pass ride height regs that fell out upon driving, there was always the incentive to find ways…The problem today is the great homogenization of NASCAR. The cars are almost IROCish. I’m ok with the push for driver safety but some great aspects of racing are gone and they are smoke-screened as a safety improvement. The downhill really began when you could not race back to the caution. I could puke when I hear “lucky dog”. Sigh. Dale must be turning in his grave.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          Considering how much faster the Toyotas have been than the Chevrolets this year I don’t think we’re quite to spec-cars yet.

          I’ve only watched NASCAR since ’97 so I missed out on the “Golden Era” a lot of the older fans talk about.

          I personally don’t have a *huge* problem with the current cars. My biggest issues have to do with the present Chase format and the drivers being prima-donnas.

        • 0 avatar
          mason

          “Dale must be turning in his grave.”

          That’s the other reason why NASCAR sucks. Off the top of my head there is one man out of all the drivers that has the stones to stand in front of a camera and call NASCAR out everytime they clamp the vice down on drivers or regs.

          Once he retires at the end of the season, NASCAR will have its field of drones.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Kerosene rags around their ankles is what they need.

          • 0 avatar
            Paragon

            You are so right, Mason. Tony is the man who still says exactly what he means, without trying to be politically correct or pander to the sanctioning body.

    • 0 avatar
      SirRaoulDuke

      Remember, these are the folks that may have screwed Dale Jr out of a championship for saying “sh!t” on TV. That’s also the day NASCAR started going downhill.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    How do you say “parc ferme” in Southern?

  • avatar
    tylanner

    You can still do a obscenely over-the-top burnout and not destroy the car…and we’ve all seen how well the NFL celebration restrictions have worked out.

    A $10k fine for excessive rubber deposits won’t change the drivers behavior much but it will raise the general consciousness about the difference between “Yeehaw” and “I am so excited I’ve lost control my right foot”.

    Tradition intact.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Ah… them’s jus’ boys bein’ boys. Ain’t that whut racin’s all about?

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    It’s not much of a tradition. The smokeshow started about 15 years ago. Before that, you might take a victory lap and salute the crowd before rolling into the pits.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I remember that when Terry Labonte won the ’03 Southern 500 he purposely did a victory lap instead of the burnout because he thought the smoke show was juvenile.

    • 0 avatar
      bnolt

      Yeah, pretty accurate. That was before it turned into a WWF type farce. I used to be an avid fan, but it’s hardly worth tuning in these days…

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      Every once in a while I will check to see if I can figure out how it all started. I believe it was a tribute to Earnhardt’s Daytona 500 celebration.

      Over the years, it seemed really unnecessary and forced. I doubt the drivers that led pretty much the whole race making it boring for everyone is really so excited.

      Burnouts should be reserved for occasions. Like winning your first race, a really close finish, or a championship. Not a meaningless 3rd win of the season at Las Vegas or some other cookie cutter track.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    What’s next? Banning Carl Edward’s celebratory back flip?

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    This seems to be in line with every top tier motorsport.

    F1 and touring cars have had incidents where drivers were reprimanded or even fined for doing doughnuts and rolling burnouts or power slides/drifts on victory.

    Maybe its to do with not being a bad example to fans. I mean this is not good driving behavior on the roads. This is a track though.

    • 0 avatar
      SirRaoulDuke

      Bad example? I don’t think a sport born of running moonshine should be too worried about setting an example for the fans…half of whom are drunk as a skunk anyway (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

      • 0 avatar
        Paragon

        Yes, Sir_Duke, I wonder how many of it’s fans actually know much of anything about the origins of the sport. Some of the early drivers really qualify as “bad boys.”

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      You are correct Tony. All these federations live in their bubbles and do not care about fans. Rule changes keep making the racing worse. What was wrong with stock car racing using stock cars? It lead to some interesting production cars. F1 needs less aero to make the cars less sensitive when driving behind someone. Every rule change has lead to more aero however.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    If I were looking for cheating, I’d start under the hood and not in the rear wheel wells.

    Imagine if VW decided to get into NASCAR. They’d have to check the motor oil for steroids.

    • 0 avatar
      mason

      “If I were looking for cheating, I’d start under the hood and not in the rear wheel wells”

      Or possibly the gas lines. Yunick kept a regulation tank in his race cars to pass inspection but ran oversized gas lines and snaked them inconspicuously through the frame rails. The extra gas gave him an advantage of 2 or 3 laps over the rest of the field at Daytona.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Does anyone know: is Nascar actually real racing, or is it entertainment, like WWE? I live in a blue state, so I just don’t have contact with these things.

    • 0 avatar
      mason

      It’s not staged. If it was, Dale jr and Danica would be winning championships.

      The most popular driver award was introduced in 2002 I believe. Bill Elliot won the inaugural vote, and Jr has won it every year since. If it was staged, NASCAR would be pushing him up to the top to win championships.

      As it stands now he likely wont even make the Chase this year.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “I live in a blue state, so I just don’t have contact with these things.”

      Nah, you just live in a professional bubble. Your hourly building staff is buying NASCAR apparel and school supplies for their many tubby children.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Sadly, “tubby” children are in every pocket of society. Though I have to say my most memorable recollection of my first southern race (Martinsville) was not the race itself, but the size of the people. For most, walking up the grandstands was a major physical undertaking and probably the most exercise they have had since, well, their last race. I stood out like a Toyota in a UAW parking lot, and its not because I was from a blue state.

        All the stereotyping aside, I got into NASCAR because my girlfriend (now wife) loved racing. I found it fascinating. Anybody who does not think it is a sport really does not know what they are talking about and what defines the word. Unlike traditional stick and ball sports, with racing you need more than just one ball. Are the drivers athletes? Well, you go drive in a hot tin box for hours with your heart rate pegged and see how you do. You could just as easily ask is golf an Olympic sport worthy of the word Olympic. After all, how fit do you have to be?

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          You’re talking to a serious fan of Japanese sumo. I’m accustomed to derision of the sport from those who have no idea of the muscle beneath the seeming lard or of the nearly sadistic training regimen wrestlers (rikishi) are subjected to.

          Anyone scoffing at this can google “shiko stomp”, a basic lower body exercise. Try doing 1000 of those each day and you’ll have an idea of just part of a newbie’s daily pain. Akebono, the Hawaiian-born champion, did 2000 daily shiko on his way up the ladder.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @kenmore: Your hourly building staff is buying NASCAR apparel and school supplies for their many tubby children.

        Vogo is in Massachusetts, so the hourly building staff members are definitely soccer fans first. Their kids play soccer too, so there’s not a lot of tubby kids in that group.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    What was the attendance at the Brickyard 400 this year? NASCAR should burn down a couple of its directors after each race until the live audience reaches 2000 levels.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Circa Y2K attendance will never happen again. I don’t like to use the word never, but it seems very unlikely. With the changes in NASCAR’s formats (WRT to the championship) and the ‘corporatizing’ of the whole show, older fans (like myself) have been put off. Younger fans who grew up in the post-Dale Earnhardt era racing probably wouldn’t recognize the old system.

      While at the time this seemed smart, NASCAR’s branching out to become a mainstream sport like baseball or football has only lead to it’s marginalization. In different parts of the country, “stock car” racing has entirely different meanings. Here, in my part of the midwest, this used to mean ARCA. Even so, Sprint Car (WoO) racing is far more popular among the hard core race fans here.

      Additionally, there are other cultural factors; one of which is that many people don’t see auto racing as a ‘sport’ in the same vein as ball and stick sports. They just think the driver is holding the steering wheel and totally ignore the efforts of the other crew members. Another one is that it’s a hillbilly or Southern thing, even though it’s widely broadcast and publicized as an “American” sport.

      Big racing leagues in the US are in a state of slow contraction. The empty seats in many NASCAR locations are an indication of that. Whether from high prices for tickets or competition from other activities, I suspect that at some point NASCAR will contract in size and scope also.

      Myself, I find the Xfinity races more interesting. They are not always on the same tracks every weekend as the big boys, and the races are a bit shorter. It’s not a 4 to 5 hour time commitment to see the end of an Xfinity race and a reasonable watch on DVR. Besides, football season has started and I can get in a game in less than three hours generally…

      • 0 avatar
        Paragon

        Yes, I remember when the “name” drivers were Pearson, Petty and Yarborough. And, the Allisons, Bobby and Donnie. And, later, Davey. And, Bill Elliott.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        In 2000 I was living and working in Manhattan as a consultant to investment banks. People who meet about zero to one of the stereotypes about NASCAR fans were attending a couple of races a year and the Daytona 500 was about as likely to be bet on as anything after the Superbowl and college basketball. I’m not in that world anymore, but I suspect that nobody would talk openly about NASCAR today if they did care. It’s got the stench of rot to it, and supporting NASCAR enthusiastically would seem more backwards now in that environment then it would have when the infield was full of confederate flags.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    Nascar? A bunch of beerdrinking god old boys watching cookie cutter cars driving around cookie cutter tracks. Better than sleeping pills.

  • avatar
    Funky

    The burnouts are childish, unnecessary, and unsportspersonlike. A victory lap is much more civilized.

  • avatar
    PwrdbyM

    I would think the car owners would have something to say about them tearing up equipment. A small burnout is not a big deal but Hamlin destroyed his car when the tires burst. Suspension pieces were hanging broken, body panels torn off. Not only has he damaged a winning car that could be used again, he’s guaranteed hours of labor for the shop guys to repair it. I wonder if Gibbs had any words for him on the subject. Burnouts aren’t the only celebration where this occurs; cars have done donuts across the grass and ripped off the entire nose.

    • 0 avatar
      Maxb49

      The multimillionaire owners have bigger things to worry about than a set of tires. They want viewers.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        This. Sprint Cup is different than whatever they’re calling Busch these days. The teams have the budgets and the cars are rebuilt for each race. In Xfiniti, or whatever it’s called, the drivers should know better than to tear up $35K of consumable parts celebrating a $70K check in front of 10K fans.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    Call me when we’ve replaced NASCAR with podracing.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    If Mike Helton pulls this sh** he should be fired and NASCAR will get everything it deserves.

    NASCAR has fallen a long way from the days of 426 Hemis and 427 Fords and Chevys ruling the track. Hell, NASCAR has fallen a great distance from Bill Elliot dominating the track in his Thunderbird, not to mention #3.

    With its constant rule changes and caution flags on the last lap when the favored driver isn’t in first position, viewers are justified in calling NASCAR the WWE of auto racing.

    What a crock of ****.

    • 0 avatar
      Paragon

      Cautions for “debris” on the track are B.S. in my book. I’ve seen someone within a few laps of getting a win robbed of a win because of the caution for no good reason. Junior has on at least one occasion thrown a water bottle onto the track to get a caution to help him get caught up and have a chance for a win. I suspect a few others have done that in order to prevent a strong competitor from getting a win. Some of NASCAR’s so-called improvements are what’s led to it’s decline.

      • 0 avatar
        Paragon

        To clarify my thoughts on the debris issue, the only caution for debris should be for “debris” that is a part or parts from a wrecked or damaged car which are laying on the track. Something that could potentially damage some part of a race car – like a tire. Food-related wrappers and the like do not rise to that level, with the exception of a beer can or a beer bottle. Now get on it NASCAR, and update your myriad of rules and regulations.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Rules, rules, and more rules. Government of all types expands inexorably until it destroys what it’s regulating. What’s needed is a production car racing circuit with minimal rules to replace NASCAR. The car has to be one that can be bought at a dealer, and sold a minimum number of retail sales. Any other rules are for safety and preventing additions that can interfere with and/or damage other cars, like outlawing those spinning blades in the chariot race in Ben Hur. Otherwise, let the drivers go at it.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      As it turns out, Lorenzo, no government makes rules to stop professional race car drivers from celebrating their victories with burnouts.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        You’re taking a narrow view of the meaning of “government” that I tried to avoid by using the qualifier “of all types”. NASCAR is a governing body, and it’s no different from a local, regional or national government of your narrow definition. Give any group power and that’s what develops.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          Just look what happened to carbureted engines in the ’70s.

          “I’d love to start for you on this wintry morning but I’m bein’ oppressed here! Just rip out my tubes and choke me, please!”

          So that’s what I always did with my cars, they started every time and I struck a blow at the Man.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Just look what happened to carbureted engines in the ’70s.

            And an E-Quadrajet in the 1980s will make me carry to my grave a grudge against GM for being roughly 5 years behind Ford in putting fuel injection on pedestrian (non-performance) V8 engines.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            So that thing had a mixture-adjusting solenoid on it in addition to the crappy bimetal choke spring whose linkage always froze and the Reynolds Wrap choke stove tube that sometimes stayed wedged down by the starter after falling off its air cleaner collar?

            Good times.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            GHOST OF ROGER SMITH: You’ll drive Quadrajet and like it mister.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Imagine a world where the box B-body had fuel injection on the SBC 305 and Olds 307 (mandatory on wagons) by 1985. Fuel Injected Fleetwood, Fuel Injected G-Body!

            (Shakes fist at passing cloud)

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    When did NASCAR stop loving America?

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    Burnouts are childish and dumb. The sooner they leave NA$CAR the better.

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