Archive for Monday, February 12, 2001

NASCAR impounds four cars for tests

February 12, 2001


— NASCAR impounded four cars for wind tunnel tests following the Budweiser Shootout on Sunday.

Shootout winner Tony Stewart had his Pontiac taken away, as did runner-up Dale Earnhardt (Chevrolet), third-place Rusty Wallace (Ford) and 12th-place Bill Elliott (Dodge), the pole winner for next Sunday's Daytona 500.

"It's just a fact-finding mission," NASCAR president Mike Helton said. "It's unlikely we would find anything that would cause us to take action by the end of Speedweeks. But it's not impossible."

The tests were to be held today in Marietta, Ga. Winston Cup director Gary Nelson said the teams would get their cars back Tuesday.

Helton said the decision to test one car from each make competing at Daytona was planned last month, but the race teams weren't informed. He added that with Dodge's foray into NASCAR after a 17-year absence, it was an opportune time to test the new aero packages being used in Daytona.

Joe Gibbs, who owns the team for which Stewart races, said he didn't mind NASCAR's decision.

"NASCAR does a good job in trying to keep things balanced," Gibbs said, as workers loaded Stewart's car into a semi-trailer. "That'll be good, because all we want is an equal car and an equal opportunity to win races. That's what we're after, and that's what NASCAR is supposed to be about."

Suspect Parts: NASCAR is pondering what to do about suspect parts found in Jerry Nadeau's car following pole qualifying for the Daytona 500. And that means crew chief Tony Furr might wind up in trouble again.

It appeared Nadeau had earned himself the outside pole Saturday. He recorded 182.763 mph, trailing only Elliott's Dodge.

But NASCAR said Nadeau's Chevrolet Monte Carlo was lower than the minimum height requirement, and a post-qualifying inspection turned up improper parts in the rear suspension.

Nadeau's qualifying time was thrown out, although he will be allowed to requalify today in the second round of time trials.

Furr can't do much more than wait since NASCAR did not have time to rule Sunday. A crew chief since 1994, Furr has been disciplined three times by NASCAR for rules violations.

No Apologies: Stacy Compton might have backed into the outside pole position through Nadeau's disqualification, but he's not going to apologize for anything.

"We were still the second-quickest legal car," Compton said. "It hate it for Jerry Nadeau's guys, but NASCAR is pretty much black and white."

Compton posted a qualifying lap of 182.682 mph, third until NASCAR officials booted Nadeau.

"We hate that we didn't get to go celebrate in the winner's circle with Bill (Elliott, the pole-winner) and have two Dodge drivers in there," said Compton, who will be starting on the front row for the first time in his 33-race Winston Cup career.

Compton declined to criticize Nadeau.

"Every team out there qualifying for this race is doing everything they can possibly do to get that speed and to be the best they can possibly be," Compton said. "NASCAR has said it before: 700 guys are trying to outsmart 30 (officials), and that's part of the game."

Ouch: Sunday's ARCA series Discount Auto Parts 200 was a crash-marred affair, with seven caution flags flying for 42 of 80 laps.

The driver who took the worst of the collisions was Ron Cox, who exited after a crash in the fourth turn of the 18th lap.

According to track officials, Cox was treated at the infield care center for a broken left elbow, a bruised left shoulder and a concussion.

No other drivers were seriously hurt during the race.

Checkered Flag On The Play: The Daytona 500 is often called the "Super Bowl of stock car racing." But there's only one team owner who knows if that definition is accurate.

Joe Gibbs led the Washington Redskins to three NFL championships before retiring in 1993. Since then, he's led Joe Gibbs Racing to a title.

In 2000, driver Bobby Labonte won the Winston Cup title for Gibbs, as he and teammate Stewart combined for 10 victories in 34 races. On Sunday, Stewart held off Dale Earnhardt to win the Bud Shootout.

"As sports, they're very similar," Gibbs said. "You don't win with cars or tricks, and you don't win with Xs and Os. You win with people. You get great people, then you have a chance to have good race team or a good football team."

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