A couple more thoughts on the five-minute clock

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.”

8 Replies to “A couple more thoughts on the five-minute clock”

  1. The only time i think there may be some vocal discontent in the garage at the 5 min clock will be at Martinsville, where aero isnt quite so important, and teams may be able to rectify early crash damage into a few Lucky Dogs , and still be in the hunt.

    The rest of the tracks have so much aero dependency that with the no body panel replacement, most incidents are putting good cars out of contention anyway…

  2. Like you I listened to NASCAR radio on the way home and was with all those callers. Thank you for clearing it up and while I understand this was asked for by the drivers, I am still a fan who spent a great deal of money for Daytona like so many other’s and feel that it just seems more fair to start the clock in the box. I know this still will not help someone like Dale but it could help some. I know I am splitting hair’s but I would like to ask NASCAR the Drivers/Owners and the TV people when they came up with ALL of this did they give ANY thought to the fans. Small break down of my Speedweeks money spent. Season tickets about $1000 with having to also purchase Arca/Clash practice Friday and Sunday qualifying tickets extra. Plus hotel cost was about $1500. Could I do all of that cheaper sure and no they are NOT forcing me to attend and thankfully I cheer for more than one driver. I know it has only been one race I have no choice but to accept and I actually don’t want car’s shedding pieces on the track but I also think the 5 minute clock could be tweeked. Just my 2 cents and mini rant. 🙂

    1. NASCAR can’t control the weekend to ensure every fan gets exactly the show they want. Wrecks happen, especially at the plate tracks, and that’s pretty much going to ruin your fun as a fan whether your driver goes behind the wall or is merely out of contention. I’m a Junior fan. I went to two races last year, Talladega 1 and Darlington. I left Dega early because Junior mashed up Amelia enough to DNF, and I bought tickets to Darlington before it was announced Junior wasn’t going to race there. I don’t blame NASCAR for my lack of enjoyment. Sh** happens.

  3. I agree – especially since Dale JR had 4 min had to go out cuz of red flag and then only 1 minute paradoxically I’m glad it was the car damage & not JUST the 5 minute clock. It is HEARTBREAKING to put in all the effort & MANY $ & see your driver out early but if he had won none of that would matter. MOST importantly he was not hurt! No concussion issues

  4. Donna I a fan myself agree but nobody asks our opinion on matters. Went to Daytona last year never again they ripped us off an would not correct there screwup. All the drivers are wealthy thanks to the fans an sponsors but ticket prices do not change an there is ma mini rant Thanks Stanley

  5. Honestly, if you’re spending that much money for a single driver, you may want to re-look at your priorities. You’re telling me that you’d rather see Dale Jr. driving around a terrible car (and one that he himself said he doesn’t want to drive) dropping crap on the track, creating debris cautions which you probably wouldn’t like, just so you can feel like your money was well spent? Just because he went out doesn’t mean there wasn’t still a race happening…

  6. The only issue I have with the 5 minute clock is the lack of clarity the teams have about the time. I think NASCAR should provide the teams (& the TV guys) with the exact timers so every knows NASCAR is on the up and up. The rule is the same for everyone, the teams asked for it. I don’t care where the timer starts and ends, the teams will eventually figure out to not pit until they are ready to start repairs to maximize their 5 minutes. So many teams dropped the ball when the driver drove to pit road right after an accident off turn 4. Crew wasn’t ready and the timer was ticking.

    Jeff can you clarify if I understand correctly, even if in a wreck a driver can come down pit road for tires as long as no repairs are made the 5 minute clock doesn’t start. Example the 4 truck spin, came right down pit road to replace tires, but because no damage repair was done the timer didn’t start until his next trip to pit road when they started looking under the truck for damage.

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