Oh my God, WHO CARES about the five-minute clock??? (A column)

Twitter got alllllll pissy Friday night during the Truck Series race at Daytona, acting mad over NASCAR’s new rule that requires crash repairs to be completed in five minutes.

People were legitimately angry over this. For real!

My God, people! If you want to see damaged cars on a track that badly, go check out your local demolition derby.

I care about who battles for the win, not whether the freaking 26th-place driver who wrecked before halfway can ride around long enough to finish 25th. Catch the excitement!

If a vehicle is so damaged it can’t be repaired in five minutes, just go home. Why does it need to be on the track? Just because that’s how it’s always been?

I’m not anti-repairs. Look at Christopher Bell’s example: Contact sent him into a spin at the end of Stage 1, he literally went airborne, landed, fixed the damage and was leading the race by the halfway point. Neat!

But it was neat because his vehicle could continue and didn’t have a bunch of debris-caution-causing crap hanging off it. In the examples people cited  on Twitter (“But Tommy Underdog came back from two laps down after hitting the wall at Talladega in ’02!”), did the repairs really take longer than five minutes? Or do you just remember a damaged car having a comeback?

Because in most cases, a repair that takes longer than five minutes is often going to take a car out of contention for a good finish anyway. So it doesn’t matter, right?

Now, some of you are probably thinking: But Jeff, what if a team misses the playoff because of two or three points it could have picked up during a race when repairs took too long?

My answer is: TOO BAD!! Holy crap, are we really worried about this? Maybe try harder at other races next time!

I just can’t get fired up about telling a team to pack up for a night because stuff is so broken that it can’t be fixed quickly.

Look, I hate it just as much as everyone else when NASCAR takes away some long-held traditions — but is this really one to get upset about?

It’s like someone pulling the weeds out of your lawn to make it look better, and you get mad because you preferred it to look how nature intended.

They’re freaking WEEDS! Just look at how nice your lawn looks now and focus on that, OK?

64 Replies to “Oh my God, WHO CARES about the five-minute clock??? (A column)”

  1. If fans aren’t having brain hemorrhages over rule changes, they’re off complaining about what the Monster Energy girls are wearing despite the NFL and other sports having cheerleaders with very similar outfits.

    Does not matter what NASCAR does these days. Even their good changes are “bad” simply because its a “change” and it gives everyone something to whine about.

    1. And I have it on good authority that companies — both those that have been involved in the sport and those who have considered it — see that behavior, and it definitely has an effect on whether or not they want to be involved in the sport. That subset of NOTHING-but-four-wide-upside-down-and-on-fire-is-ever-good-enough fan, minority they might be, are keeping others away.

  2. I loved the 5-minute clock. Did not like that FOX had to go to commercial during the 2nd segment with only 14 green flag laps remaining in the seqment after the caution.

  3. Just line em up and turn em loose. I want to see racing, not people talking about racing, race drivers crying about racing, commercials about sponsors of racing, or broken down race cars getting in the way of racing.

    Did I say I wanted to see racing?

  4. OMG Jeff….. you are so much more fun now that you don’t have to be politically correct….. or satisfy an employer.

  5. The only issue I have with this rule is possibly starting the clock when the driver enters the pit box, and leaves the pit box at the end of the 5 minutes.

    1. Thats my only issue also. Work on the car, mit calculating how long it takes to drive down pit road.

  6. I agree with you Jeff, I like the 5-minute rule. It’s just gonna take a while for everyone to get used to. Of course the complainers will really be vocal on Sunday if their driver is gone for this.

  7. I think fans of that driver that packs up and goes home no longer have an interest in the race.
    You’re right, the driver three or four or more laps down maybe gains a position or two on track, but on TV with 90 minutes of racing left and I know my driver is finishing 34th, and he’s out I’m probably out too.
    Last year, he rides around but I still see him on the track, still see his name across the ticker, still see him gain a couple positions if others crash out or have mechanical issues. I’m still invested. I’m still watching the race for the win. I’m still following my driver.
    Thus year, my driver hits 5 minute rule, and us out in 34th, I don’t care who wins. I care where my driver finishes.
    Yeah the sport is greater than the drivers, but my allegiance is to the driver. I follow the driver, I’m invested in the driver. Where my driver finished mattersecond more to me than who won the race, if it wasn’t my driver.

    1. You’re the minority, buddy. The rest of us are here for a damn good race. I feel for ya, and Petty fans in the 70’s left all the time when he was out.

      But let me tell you this, while Jeff Gordon fans left Darlington in 2003, the rest of us caught Craven & Busch battling side-by-side. Don’t let the swingin door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.

    2. My driver retired. I hardly ever watch a race anymore. I get your point about allegiance to a driver. Luckily for me, my driver’s son is driving late models. I will be back soon.

  8. Who pays the bills??????? Keep telling me how much better this racing is….. nascar is on its way out!!!!!!! So you better get ready to write about crime,trump. And war.

    1. I agree Nascar is going to go away one day. You keep losing fans who is going to sponsor them Oh I forgot we just take down more granstands that works. I have said it before bigger company’s have gone under. Stan

  9. Well aren’t we feisty tonight lol. I’m good with the rule, just wished it was a little longer than 5 mins. Wonder how I’m going to feel when this affects my favorite driver??? :0/

  10. The rule is going to save teams a ton of money. Plus it adds a little more drama to the race. If this is all u took away from the race then u missed out on a lot of great racing.

  11. Personaly I think 10 minutes would be more justifyable than 5.. I mean shit it takes at least 10 minutes for NAPCAR to get thru thier 8 commercials after a wreck and line em back up anyhow, so I think thatd be a bit more fair.. Specialy for one car teams who dont have 50 guys helping em out.. Ive seen many good cars get wrecked, go a few laps down and still come back and win the race.. It took longer than 5 minutes to repair but it took 10 mins to restart anyways.. now they wont even get a chance to try.. Or represent the sponsors that pay the ridiculous cost to have a team represent them.. Not bichin but I think if mechanical issues happen to the leader and he draws a caution they shouldnt be benched cause the part takes 15 mins to replace.. Wrecked car or not, these funded multi million dollar teams deserve more than 5 minutes.. If I was a driver Id just dump em all into the wall .. Oops, my bad.. I really hope they can get back out there! Lol.. No more GWC either cause of debris.. Cause we all hate that exciting finish after three hours of the same leader and same commercials.. Thats why Im watching the WoO Sprint Car Series.. No commercials, No politics, just real drivers going hard every lap.. Plus its non-stop excitement unlike CRAPCAR…

  12. Yikes, cut down on the sugar or caffeine or whatever it is that’s got you jacked up people. Personally I hate the five minute rule…….it should be six minutes and forty-two seconds. Just kidding, I think I’ll sit back a while and see how this pans out.

    1. I agree with Scott Wilfong. Give it a chance people!!! They can tweak it any time if they see fit.

  13. The 5-minute clock may be the best of the rule changes, and they’re not the first racing series to implement something like this. The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series provides just 2 minutes in the work area, and only through the 1st half of the race.

  14. My problem was that first caution was over 15-20 minutes long. In past years they would’ve pitted for repairs, make a lap and repeat. Out of those 15-20 laps, they probably worked 10-15 minutes on the car/truck. Now the same vehicle might get several minutes of actual work,

    I think they should be able to fix the cars during the caution period, but they have to be on the track when the flag man gives the one to go signal. Why should the wrecked car get less time than the overall caution.

  15. Probably fans of that specific driver are mad because he can’t come back and compete for the win now. But really, why come out and run laps for 32nd place and be 20 laps down?

    I would be interested to see how many debris cautions there are this year compared to last year under the old rule.

  16. My issue was not with the 5 minute clock, to me it makes a great deal of sense, my issue was with the less than stellar pronouncements from the booth, namely with Christopher Bell. One of the 3 stooges said that Chris’s team had gone over the 5 min trying to repair the truck. As the race re-started there he was on the track. They really need to zip it until the truck either goes to the garage or goes out onto the track. It happened with other drivers as well.
    I do agree with others who have suggested that clock starts when driver gets to their pit, stops when they pull out of pit.

  17. OMG. Im with Dale. You’re going to be a lot more fun to read this year without the corporate constraints holding you back.
    And I’m sure this won’t be the last time this year that fans get in a wad over one of the new rule changes.

  18. After the first caution they showed someone’s truck (wish I could remember who’s) who was back on track under caution, looking perfectly fine after working on it in the pits, but they were saying that because they took 21 SECONDS too long, he would be called to the garage and his night was over. At a plate race, given the high probably of further attrition, that truck could have finished much better had they been allowed to continue. There wasn’t even any visible damage or tape on it. I imagine that truck’s sponsor must not be happy about this rule.

  19. I think the only part that is missing is the media coverage of the countdown. I think that it could be a big part of some stories. It could add some more suspense to watching the racing. Just like watching a clock in basketball or football or hockey or soccer . I think they should show it on tv and possibly the large screens at the track. It could just had a touch more excitement if your driver is on the clock and it is getting close. I must admit I thought it was dumb at first but I guess the more I think about it the more it makes sense. I would just like to see more done with it.

    1. I agree as long as NASCAR keeps track of the time some of NASCAR favorites will get more time than others.

    2. I like the 5 minute but it needs to be posted some where because as long as NASCAR keeps track of the time some of NASCAR favorites will get more time than others.

  20. Disagree, Jeff. This rule -mainly in superspeedways- mean too many cars (driver + team + sponsor + fans) ends the race early.
    And…less cars on track = less racing.
    No matter if a car is racing for the lead or 15 laps down. People deserve his driver (car + team + sponsor) stay on track.
    And…this rule hurt mostly small teams. This teams have less resources for a quickly fix to the car. Nascar hate small teams. It’s a shame.

  21. Jesus, Jeff, pay attention to what people are actually saying. No one is complaining because they want to see damaged cars littering the track – in fact, it’s literally the opposite. All this rule has done so far has pressured teams to get cars back out on track before repairs are complete. If the intent was the reduce the number of damaged cars, they have failed. Plus, I’ve watched two races with this new rule, and I’m already sick of the nonstop “gotta watch the five minute clock!” chatter after each and every caution. The rule is a decent idea that was very poorly implemented.

  22. Like some others, I agree with the rule in principle but would prefer it be tweaked to better reflect 5 minutes of repair. How many times have we seen a driver with relatively minor damage come down pit road 3 times just to make sure it’s as good as it can be? In a long race you can get your one lap back or race back up to the front of you take the time to get the minor repair right.

    With the way the timing works that gets “dangerous” in a way that seems unnecessary. After all, we want teams to do a good job of repair on minor damage to avoid the same things the rule is trying to avoid (debris, etc).

    In short there are still damage scenarios where 5 minutes is limiting and it’s not about getting 34th place instead of 37th. Small tweaks could better reflect the spirit of the rule.

  23. I agree and disagree Jeff. I also read all the replies and can agree with some of those as well. I’ve been a huge fan of Nascar since I was 4 years old, now 39, and seen a lot of changes over the years and stuck around and stayed interested through them all. In my opinion through every change Nascar makes or has made, the need for the change was there, they just went a little too far in cases, or not far enough in others. So what needed changing, either created another whole set of more issues that would need changing again, or what they were trying to make better didn’t really get better. In this case, it’s a bit much in my opinion. I like the idea of a time limit to fix or you’re done, but I don’t really like that the clock starts when you enter pit road and stops when you cross the line at the end of pit road. To me, that’s not really giving the teams a full 5 minutes to work on anything, and I see that being even worse at track’s like Bristol where you enter on the back and go all all the way around, stuff like that. I mean you have to imagine, by the time the car gets there in the pit box the team already feels pressure of the clock, but they first have to diagnose whatever might be broken before they can even begin to make a quick repair. If it has to be 5 minutes, then to me that would be fine as long as that 5 minutes started in that car’s pit box, if you’re gonna start it on entrance to pit road, then up it to 6 minutes, to at least circumvent the time to the pit box in order to give the teams the full 5 minutes. An example from last night is Terry Jones, they said he went over the clock by 37 seconds, but he was back on track, they showed him back out there, but Nascar retired him because he went over 37 seconds. That truck could have continued, it wasn’t that bad didn’t look like, just the side, but they had it fixed but went 5 minutes 37 seconds. That would have been fine if it weren’t for time lost on the clock just to getting to the pit box and to the end of pit road.

  24. I think you’re missing a little tidbit that along with the 5 minute clock could change the championship and impact the viewing and attendance of the races. Since no sheet metal can be on the cars other than what the car started with, how many cars will be forced to leave the race when they damage a fender or other quickly replaceable part? I recall several race winners with added sheet metal on the cars. Let Jr. be forced out of a race early because the 5 minute clock expired or he couldn’t get a piece of sheet metal and watch the stands empty and the TVs switch off. If a fan favorite is no longer on the track, many fans have no interest in watching.

  25. When I saw it used in the Truck race, frankly I loved it. No more parts on the track, no more cars “just running around”. Your point about the people not getting maybe one point is correct. You got to know the drivers hate driving junk for 2 hours for a point. Keep it up Jeff!

  26. Jeff,

    Where’s the social media share buttons on this and other posts? Give us a Twitter button at least!

  27. Perhaps we should organize a march at Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend. This is simply outrageous and can never be tolerated. #Resist. (Tongue in cheek). Actually not a bad rule. May need a little tweeking but heading in the right direction.

  28. Notice how it’s typically the older generation of fans complaining? If things didn’t change NASCAR would die with them! Your golden age is over and has been for some time. I wonder which era I’m going to worship. Someday I’ll be behind a computer reminiscing about how NASCAR was so great in the 2010s “when racing was RACING!” ????

    The sport will survive. Sorry guys, evolution has to happen, and this caution clock is just another move toward the future and I happen to like it. Damaged cars just cause unnecessary issues and I hope this rule will get rid of the absurd amount of debris cautions. Thanks for putting my sentiments in writing perfectly. It’s kinda fun to watch all these “fans” get butt hurt about this✌

  29. It did affect my favorite driver in the truck race last night and I was MAD! He’s leaving Daytona with very few points.
    I’d like to see them tweak the rule to start the 5 minute clock when the car/truck enters the pit box. It’s not like the pit stop clock starts when the car enters pit road, the time to fix it shouldn’t start there either.

  30. Remember the Atlanta season finale of 1973? Points leader Benny Parsons got in a wreck not of his own making and was sent to the garage in a thoroughly trashed Chevelle. Between Benny’s team and volunteers ftom other small teams they were able to piece the car together well enough for Parsons to complete enough laps to win the championship. It was the day David beat Goliath in NASCARland and a cherished bit of the sport’s history. I guess we’ll never see the likes again and its too bad. NASCAR could really use a feel good story not more artificialy contrived excitement for simpletons. Maybe when the teams five minutes expires Monster Energy could send a Monster truck out to smash the damaged car flat on pit road.

  31. 5 minute rule is not the problem in my mind. The problem is not allowing teams to use prefab pop rivetable pieces. Dale Jr. won Talledega on year with a hood that was pop riveted on.

  32. We don’t need damage car on the track .Even top team are causing yellows for debris.It’s worst on short track & super speedway.

    I just want to see great racing! I’ve watch the recording of the truck
    race this morning again. The Nascar truck serie is my favorite of the 3 national series. Looking forward to see the stage racing at 1.5 miles & Martinsville my favorite truck race of the year.

    Daytona was a crashfest due to the mix of experience on track.The young gun have the best truck they feel invicible on track,money can’t ontrack experience.It’s a process.

    Congrats AM Racing truck 32 Austin Wayne Self for their second place finish & Kaz Grala 4 becoming the youngest winner at Daytona International Speedway.

    Favorite race so far in speedweek,The ARCA race won by Austin Theriault!

  33. I’m with Scott W on this one, meaning I’m going to wait and see how it plays out. My initial reaction is I think it’s a little short… should be longer, say 10 minutes or so, and should start when the car or truck hits the pit box not the beginning of pit lane. Not a fan of this segment BS though. I can’t wait to be discussing that this year.

  34. It’s not like we’re talking about a five minute clock on SNACKS during the race! Now THAT would be injustice!!

  35. I’m watching the Xfinity race and if I’m a sponsor paying big bucks and my guy needs a garage repair for anything, I’m not happy my logo won’t be allowed back on track again.

  36. I see the benefit of the 5 minute clock but Friday night, the 30 truck of Jones had a real shot of staying on the lead lap AND being in the lead draft but apparently the crew simply mismanaged the clock. I think 5 minute clock is kind of a random number and I would just go with “reasonable and prudent ” instead of 5 minutes, or 6 minutes 42 seconds, lol. I do like that if the car goes to the garage, it’s done.

  37. My pet peeve is Nascars’ attempt to manufacture excitement with all this points crap. They will be yapping about points from the beginning of the season to the “Playoff” ending and it just irritates the hell out of me. And the 5 minute thing? I couldn’t possibly care less. On a positive noye it is a pleasure to hear Jeff Gordons’ viewpoints, I try to avoid the Waltrip Brothers however. They both should retire.

  38. You obviously weren’t watching the FS1 coverage and don’t have a pulse on the Truck Series fan base.

    -NASCAR largely attracts the working class that has an appreciation for the fruits of labor.

    -Show the viewers how hard and feverishly Terry Jones’ team is working to get the 30 truck back out on track.

    -See the 30 team back on track riding around on pace with the pace car.

    -Then have FS1 crew say by their count it was 5:20, and NASCAR “agrees” 30 team went over. Later it’s reported 5:37.

    Which clock is it, if no clock is transparent? How is that clock communicated to teams?

    You may agree with the 5:00 clock in theory or concept, but don’t pretend there aren’t issues with it in practice. Looking at this new rule, through the lens of the 30 team, was not a good look for NASCAR.

    Agree with the 5:00 clock all you want (I like it, too), but don’t leave it to a crapshoot for the fans.

    And seriously, to a guy that wants a reader-funded website, this is a post?!?!

  39. NASCAR teams are run by the money from their sponsors..their product not being allowed back on the track because of the 5 minute rule is going to cause these sponsor to consider if their money is well spent. NASCAR is already having sponsor issues and this will not help without tweeking.

  40. FS1 was showing the 1997 Daytona 500 when Sr. flipped his car and got back in it and finished the race. This is the stuff of lore. Why do we need a clock that will probably be adjusted for the favored drivers?

    This should be a decision for the teams. No points beyond P10 and the drivers on salary with undisclosed incentives. If there’s no reward, the teams won’t do it.

    I felt robbed, cheated when these teams were forced to do half ass repairs on pit road and time was called. It is just plain stupid, something that I have learned as standard procedure in Brian France’s world. Betting that this rule does not last the entire season.

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