Sunday, September 24, 2017

COMMENTARY: Junior's Right, It's Time To Put An End To Post-Race Burnouts

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. said last week what many of us have been thinking for years; that it’s time for NASCAR to put a stop to the ludicrous practice of post-race burnouts.

Commenting in the aftermath of Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott’s penalty for a piece of tape added to his car’s rear spoiler two weeks ago at Chicagoland Speedway, NASCAR’s perennial Most Popular Driver questioned the logic of penalizing duct tape, while allowing race winners to roll into the weekly post-race technical inspection with their cars “tore all to hell.''
"I have been kind of waiting all this time for NASCAR to eventually say, `Look… we would just rather you guys not blow the tires out,'' said Earnhardt. "They talk about not wanting to be the 'fun police,' but being the 'fun police' is not on the radar of their damn problems.''
Earnhardt’s comments were spot-on and long overdue.
In an era where the difference between legal and illegal is often measured in thousandths of an inch, it makes no sense for NASCAR to continue allowing winning teams to demolish the rear end of their machines with a series of lengthy, tire-blowing, fender-shredding burnouts.
"It doesn't make sense."
The sanctioning body long ago banned swerving on the post-race cool down lap, after teams used the technique to reset their cars’ rear suspensions to a more neutral (read legal) configuration, just in time for the weekly round of post-race, white-glove scrutiny. If a simple swerve is enough to camouflage under-the-car mechanical chicanery, how can a pair of exploding rear tires not accomplish the same nefarious goal?
It’s simple common sense.
In addition to being cliché, predictable and dull; these weekly, post-race donut fests are now entirely devoid of any spontaneity or emotion. They are the motorsports equivalent of celebrating a Kentucky Derby victory by shooting Secretariat.
And more important, they’re no longer fooling anybody.
NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller defended the sanctioning body’s post-race protocol in a written statement last week, saying, “We're confident that our process provides a fair playing field for all of our competitors, while also allowing the fans to enjoy the celebration of the winning driver.
"In addition to the pre-race inspections, every winning vehicle must still go through a full post-race inspection where we expect it to be within the rules set forth by the rulebook.''

No way to treat a winner...
Earnhardt, however, doesn’t seem to be buying it.

He directly addressed the long-ignored elephant in the room last week, acknowledging that winning drivers are intentionally blowing out their rear tires, under the guise of post-race celebration. The resulting damage makes it virtually impossible to take accurate measurements after the event, while also providing crewmembers with an opportunity to illegally manipulate their cars while replacing those smoldering tire carcasses.

In the days when post-race inspections were conducted with a tape measure and the naked eye, drivers had neither the need nor desire to destroy their winning mounts. Burnouts were unheard of, with winning drivers generally taking a nice, slow celebratory lap with the checkered flag before driving directly to Victory Lane.
Carl Edwards might stick the landing on a backflip, or Tony Stewart would occasionally climb the fence. But like Hall Of Fame running back Barry Sanders once counseled his end zone-dancing teammates, NASCAR drivers used to be content to “act like you’ve been there before.”
Today, however, it’s more about covering their clandestine tracks and beating the lasers with a post-race burndown thinly veiled as celebration.
"Until (the officials) tell them not to do it, it's fair game,'' added Earnhardt last week. "It just upset me -- with what happened to Chase and how they sort of got zeroed-in on -- when all this is going on right under everybody's nose.
“It doesn't make sense.''


  1. Anonymous9:11 PM

    Standing on the roof and throwing your arms in the air = bad.

    Destroying the entire back half of the car with donuts = good.

    Dumb ol' NASCAR at it again.

  2. Preach it Dave! I agree with both you and Jr.

  3. I never seen Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt, Terry Labonte, Darrell Waltrip, or any of the other greats do a burn out, they didn’t need to, they were professionals and acted like it. I would much rather see them grab the checker flag and do a victory lap, or even beter Polish victory lap in Alan Kulwicki style and let the fans see them drive by with the flag! #noburnouts.

    1. Dale SR forbid HIS drivers to do it cause it tore up equipnent and was plain stupid

  4. Anonymous9:35 AM

    Ron Hornaday said this years ago, but it wasn't in the context of hiding cheating. It was in the context of destroying equipment. As a business owner I see it like that. What's the point of winning $100,000 when your driver just went out there and trashed a transmission, rear gear and a bunch of sheet metal acting like a goofball for absolutely nothing? This stuff ain't cheap. I would think the owners would have a more vested interest in stopping it themselves.

  5. Anonymous9:41 AM

    The need to police post race celebrations should have became apparent when Chad Knaus was caught on camera before the Talladega race a few years ago reminding Johnson that if he won to make sure he damaged the back end during his celebration. He won and he did.

  6. Whether or not the burnouts are done to mask illegal mods to the car, and I believe they are, they are insult to me as an adult. They are childish and make the sport look simple. With all the talk of the high costs and sponsors disappearing like an ice cube on pit road in Daytona in July, I truly don't believe the car owners would allow burnouts that damage the car if there was not some payoff for it.

  7. Anonymous10:30 AM

    Mark Martin won a lot of races and did the best burnouts - none.

    1. That's one of the reasons he's my all time favorite driver!

  8. Anonymous12:09 PM

    Fans have to have something to cheer about. It is sure not happening in the races

  9. Can you imagine Dale Sr doing one? There is plenty to cheer during a race. People are not happy because Dale jr isn't doing well and Toyota is on a roll. That's the truth.

    1. Anonymous10:00 PM

      You mean like that big screaming donut he cut through the infield grass of Daytona International Speedway in February of 1998. The one where got out of the car and talked about making a big "3" in the grass?

      Don't have to imagine that...I watched it happen.

  10. Carl in Alaska5:07 PM

    Hear, Hear! Keep preaching and we may reach beyond the choir.

  11. Senior did donuts after the '98 Daytona win (in the grass). Proving that a celebration of reasonable amplitude is possible.

  12. The fact is the entire ethic of celebrations personified by these burnouts is flawed because it elevates bombast over maturity and substance. And the angle of wrecking the car to cover up illegality is something few people have considered.

  13. Anonymous10:33 PM

    The cars should not be that delicate that a burnout affects it>>>#no pussy race cars

  14. Taking a different look at this whole thing. To the youngsters attending these races, the BIG burnout maybe the highlight of their race day. Cheering for a real smoke-ing end of race burnout is what a lot of the young fans have come to see.

    NASCAR needs these young fans, and needs to market to them.

    Keep the burnouts and keep the younger fans coming!

    BTW, I'm a senior citizen, and I don't necessarily agree with the burnout, but if it gets fans in the stands, nuff said.