I’m not going to GO OFF again about the five-minute clock — I pretty much already got that out of my system.
But on the drive home from Daytona on Monday, I listened to hours of Sirius/XM Radio — and the five-minute clock was a continued topic of gripes among NASCAR fans.
One reason, callers said, is because it’s unfair that the clock starts when a car enters pit road. Callers wondered why the teams can’t just have five minutes when they’re in their actual pit stalls.
I checked with NASCAR today, and it’s not a technology issue (in other words, the capability exists to do it). The reason for that aspect of the rule — just like the rule itself — is the teams asked for it.
When NASCAR had meetings with the teams and drivers about these changes, they all decided in a group this was the best direction to go. So to say, “Oh my gosh, this rule is so unfair, why is NASCAR doing this?” doesn’t make any sense because everyone was in on it (including the specific part about when to start the clock).
And for those Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans who are upset about the clock taking him out of the Daytona 500, this was the last thing he said to us outside the care center on Sunday:
“The radiator was knocked back into the oil pump and all that was kind of rubbing, and that might have been the end of the day. We could have probably fixed the toe and got up to (minimum) speed, but I’ll be honest with you: I don’t want to drive no wrecked race car the rest of the day! I’m glad we took it to the garage.”