published Saturday, August 1st, 2009

BLOG: Put speedometers in the cars

OK, I’ve had it with NASCAR’s speed traps.

I want someone, just one person, to explain to me why these million-dollar cars don’t have speedometers. My car has one and it costs roughly $989,000 less. If the speed limit on Interstate 75 reads 55 mph, I can tell in an instant if I’m exceeding it or not.

Really, why should a race be decided because 3500 RPMs might or might not be speeding? Drivers have to rely on their tachometers to tell if they’re speeding or not when they enter and exit pit road. Seriously, don’t they have enough to worry about, what with the 42 other cars trying to navigate the same small stretch of asphalt and the humans trying to work on those cars?

It’s not as if not having speedometers makes a NASCAR race better. Maybe it gives some NASCAR officials something to do during races. I can’t for the life of me come up with another advantage, especially after Juan Pablo Montoya’s incident at Indy last week. It appears other drivers are asking the same question.

“I have wondered why we don’t have speedometers,” Mark Martin said. “It is what it is. It’s electronic. The way they check them and the tachs are not quite as accurate as a speedometer might be, but the system works. It’s just really devastating when you have one of the races of your life slip through your fingers. I don’t blame (Montoya) for being upset.”

Here’s an idea: If they don’t want to upgrade to speedometers, they can always get some of the “This is your speed” signs from the DOT. You know, place them at different spots on pit road, and if you’re speeding it starts blinking.

On a serious note, having such an unknown leaves NASCAR open to conspiracy theorists, who believe officials use the speeding penalties to hurt some drivers and help others. I don’t for a second believe that, but no one can deny the opportunity would be there.

And, once again, it shouldn’t be.

about Lindsey Young...

Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...

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