Spin control

A couple of thoughts on traction control devices in the American-Canadian Tour world.

(Not) suprisingly these days, if you mention either ACT or PASS somewhere, you’re going to get hate mail. I’m a firm believer that if I wrote that PASS is donating all of its proceeds this year to children’s cancer research, some Late Model fan somewhere would suggest they’re only doing it to hide the fact that 16 cars showed up for a race at Speedway 95.

And then they’d tell me that ACT tried that last year, and it didn’t work because racing’s too expensive and the shock package on the bank truck wasn’t cost-effective.

Here’s the point about traction control in ACT: It’s bad. But, it’s bad everywhere — all tours, all tracks have some type of problem with the device. To point out that the devices have been sold to ACT teams is not an indictment of ACT racing.

In a perverse sort of way, it’s just the opposite.

Often criticized for catering too much to Joe Racer, in its rules and spending restrictions, traction control and gasoline tampering show that ACT is as much “real stock-car racing” as anything else. I think the idea that Late Models benefit from traction control also dispels the notion that you can’t spin the tires on an ACT car. Doesn’t it?

NASCAR steering clear of the gray

I understand what NASCAR is doing, but I'm not sure I'm on board.

Mainstream America sports fan (yeah, he's an actual person) doesn't like the word "cheating." He stands for heads-up competition, for level playing fields, for, at the very least, the appearance of all things being equal. NASCAR has fought hard to remove the word “cheating” from the stock-car racing lexicon.

NASCAR should be applauded for that effort. But aren’t we going just a tad too far here?

There has to be a line drawn between intent and accident, particularly when it comes down to rules violations on NASCAR race cars and trucks. In the instance of Carl Edwards — whacked by what is in essence a 110-point fine this week (100 points in the standings, plus 10 points at the start of The Chase should he qualify) — it’s hard to find where there was intent. A cover left off an oil tank? On purpose? Not likely, not likely at all.

NASCAR doesn’t want to get itself involved in a sticky, messy process for determining who strayed from its rule book on purpose. Perhaps it thinks it can spend its time better elsewhere, and by adopting hard and fast policies for things that go against the integrity of the cars, they’re clearing up time and resources. But I suggest to you that it’s a multi-million dollar corporation racing with the backing of multi-million (and billion) dollar companies in front of millions of fans every week.

Everybody is owed due dilligence. NASCAR can afford both the time and money to look into these matters individually. I think they should have to.


Kasey Kahne used the words “it’s just different” again today when asked to describe what the new Nationwide Series rules package feels like. Wow. Can’t get that kind of insight anywhere else, can you?


Myth: Sprint Cup Series drivers run to the Cup garage after Nationwide Series practice because they’re so crunched for time.

Fact: Sprint Cup Series drivers run to the Cup garage after Nationwide Series practice because they don’t want to have to stop to sign autographs or pose for photos with fans.


Good night, Springfield! See you again next year!

Rick Ramstrom was a noticeable absentee from the media seminar I was part of on Saturday morning at Speedway Expo. Of course, judging from the way he worked the room later that afternoon, I'm not sure the father of PASS North Series driver Derek Ramstrom needed a briefing on how to get the media to pay attention to his race team.

"You're a good-looking guy," Rick says to me.

Wowsers. Flattery will get you everywhere, Mr. Ramstrom. Positively everywhere.

* Funny, but I knew more people in Springfield than I did at the Northeast Motorsports Expo in Augusta in January. Weird, huh?

* A clarification here. Steve Perry doesn't own the Late Model that Darrin Ripley's going to drive at Wiscasset Raceway this year. Bill Stilphen owns that ride -- and he's the one leasing Richmond Karting Speedway.

Perry is helping Stilphen run RKS, and that's where the confusion sat regarding Ripley's ride.

* Unfortunately, money almost always finds a way to win in racing — even in places where the rules are so prohibitive as to try and curttail such things.

On the heels of hearing that the American-Canadian Tour had to turn to an official fuel supplier (Torco Race Fuels) to curb the use of doctored gasoline in its events, comes a report that a local parts outfitter has sold more than half a dozen traction control devices — to people directly involved with ACT teams.

All the jokes about a lack of horsepower in those cars kind of fly out the window with something as gravely serious as that, don't they?

* And Bobby MacArthur, the guy running All-Star Speedway in Epping, N.H., had the gall to insult the way I look in the comments section of one of my recent blog entries. Let's just say this: what do the terms "cut-off pink sweatshirt," "acid-washed jeans" and "jeans tucked into work boots" have in common?

Yeah, right. My male-pattern baldness is a bad fashion choice. Good point.

* Dave Dion = class act.

Plain and simple.