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Monday, October 16, 2006

Did David Hoots 'miss' it?

"Three safety vehicles were cleaning debris along the backstretch of Turn 2 at Lowe's Motor Speedway during Saturday night's Nextel Cup race when an official began waving the green flag for a restart." Just how can this happen?

The answer is really simple, for the last 5 or so seasons we have heard the moaning and complaining of the Nascar faithful concerning the 'length of cautions' in terms of how many laps under caution. From the 'lucky dog', to freezing the field, this had added caution laps especially in the past few years. Now one might think that calling the 'one to go' then actually calling for the green flag when the cars come out of turn 4, is a very easy thing to do, but is it really?

To answer that question, one must first show up an hour or so before the race, and listen to 'Nascar Race Control' over a scanner, and hear the 'roll call'. Now I only listen to the main 'Nascar Race Control' channel on my scanner when I am at a race live, so I don't hear 'everything', but it honestly takes about that long for all the race officials to check in with Hoots. That fact alone tells you that there is a huge amount of officials to account for.

Now lets bring in the 'pressure' of TeVee, and commercial time. How many times do we hear the moaning of fans for going to 'one more commercial' break because 'Nascar waved off the one to go'? At many tracks, this puts the Network at a dilemma, because if they go to commercial break, the time allotted for that break doesn't 'fit' with the time it takes to run a lap under caution.

It was about 6 years ago, I started listening to 'Nascar Race Control' on my scanner and set this channel is a 'priority' so I could hear every 'check for debris' or 'pick up the speed on the X car'. Why did I do this? Because it gave me a greater perspective, and appreciation for the 'real time calls' made by Nascar. And BTW, this paid off for the 'phantom JR debris' caution at Dega a couple of weeks ago, when the 'conspiracy theorists felt this caution was thrown because 'JR was in trouble and might lose the 'lucky dog'. That was far from the case, there was 'chatter', on Nascar Race Control more than a lap or two before about the debris, and was confirmed. Put the foil hats away!

So did Hoots miss it? My gut tells me NO. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen Tow Trucks or other Safety Vehicles scrambling to 'get into their hole' as the field is entering turn four waiting for the pace car to dive into pit road, only to hear Hoots after the field takes the green, 'Great job!'

It probably happens every race, but this time Hoots realized he had pushed the envelope too far and safety was compromised. He bit the bullet, and said 'throw it out'. He didn't miss anything. My real question is ........ If you have to ask if Hoots missed it? Then you probably not really listened to the behind the scenes issues for your self and should stick with the mystic ramblings of the foil hat people.

If only college football was a good and constistent at their jobs and officiating!

1 comment:

SNAFAM said...

Thanks for that perspective, Phil. I promise I will start listening to NASCAR Control more often.

As far as the debris caution, my favorite NASCAR related talk show host, Dave Moody (Sirius Speedway, channel 128), commented several weeks ago about something similar. At whatever race it was, Dave was in his prime position, in a crow's nest above one of the billboards in one of the turns at some track, commentating the race for MRN. He said there was a debris caution, with debris in his area. He looked around, could not find it, and then the truck pulled up, and went right to the debris. Dave said it was really debris, and really something hazardous.

I can't help but wonder if the Foil Helment Conspiracy Theorist Club membership is made up of folks watching TV oly. Folks who are AT races see the pickup of the debris. I don't think NASCAR could get away with calling a FAKE debris caution in front of 180,000 of their closest friens, or closest critics!