Did less junk in the trunk put Patrick on the pole? Puh-lease

Conspiracy theorists were abuzz the moment Danica Patrick crossed the finish line the fastest in qualifying for Sunday’s Great American Race, becoming the first female to grab the pole in Daytona who was not working at one of the many strip clubs that surround the track.

After covering the fastest sport on four wheels for 15 years, I’ve always been suspicious of NASCAR qualifying. Back when the sport was still trying to gain traction with the mainstream media, I witnessed too many “feel good” stories come out of a Friday when little other news was breaking.

I can’t and won’t recount any alleged pole-fixing scandals, in part because it doesn’t matter. Starting first in a 500-mile race is like matching the first number of your Powerball ticket; it rarely pays off in the long run. But it seemed like whenever Ricky Bobby had a new sponsor or Bobby Ricky was coming back from an injury, they miraculously won the pole and the bounty of media coverage that came with it.

Of course, only NASCAR kept the official times in those days. Now, and especially at Daytona, live TV with real-time scoring, prevent the NASCAR P.R. brigade from rigging qualifying. Still, some Elvis fans and Bigfoot believers immediately began grumbling that NASCAR had gone so far as put Patrick on the pole to serve as the poster girl for the new age of NASCAR’s good ol’ boy system.

Laughable, yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a popular opinion. The latest conspiracy theory says that NASCAR rules give Patrick an unfair advantage for (how should I put this?) having less junk in the trunk than her male competitors. I’m sure new boyfriend/fellow driver Ricky (Bobby?) Steinhouse Jr. doesn’t appreciate all this talk about Patrick’s bedonkeydonk, but here’s their beef.

The NASCAR rule book assumes that every driver weighs at least 140 pounds. Although women are notorious for fudging a bit on their weight, Patrick tips the scales right at 100 pounds, 40 pounds less than the rule recognizes and far lighter than every other competitor in the lineup. But how does her weight factor into the equation? Stick with me for a little math:

By rule, a Sprint Cup car must weigh 3,300 pounds. Where the weight of the driver is concerned, for every 10-pound increment below 180 pounds, 10 pounds of weight must be added to the car. So if a driver weighs between 170 and 179 pounds, the car must weigh 3,310 pounds to compensate. For a driver between 140 and 149 pounds, the weight of the car must be increased to 3,340 pounds.

The Sprint Cup rule book does not address weights lower than 140 pounds. As a consequence, the combined weight of Patrick and her No. 10 Chevrolet SS represents a 40-pound advantage over almost every other driver/car combination in the field. Why almost? Because Mark Martin, a 40-time winner in Cup racing, is listed at 125 pounds.

The question of a weight advantage has never been raised in Martin’s case. It became an issue when Patrick won the pole for the Daytona 500. The truth is, however, that Daytona is a track where a lighter car/driver combination is almost as negligible as starting from the pole.

But that’s not enough for the NASCAR naysayers who don’t believe women drivers belong on the highway, much less the racetrack. Heaven help us if she actually wins the thing. Maybe Elvis and Bigfoot will greet her in victory lane.

Comments

comments

Smith becomes third SJHS golfer to sign with Coker

Smith becomes third SJHS golfer to sign with CokerThe St. James High to Coker College golf pipeline continued [more]

BUFC nets three titles, two runners-up at James Island

BUFC nets three titles, two runners-up at James IslandThree Beach United Football Club teams captured championship trophies at [more]

Knaffle drives into bright future at South Carolina

Knaffle drives into bright future at South CarolinaSt. James High's Smith Knaffle has had plenty of time [more]

CAC swimmers capture top spots at Thanksgiving meet

CAC swimmers capture top spots at Thanksgiving meetPalmetto Aquatics (PALM) hosted the 2018 Thanksgiving Invite Meet on [more]

MB Invitational: UCF goes to varying heights for title

MB Invitational: UCF goes to varying heights for titleAubrey Dawkins put the game out of reach with his [more]

Chants drop third straight, down to last shot at bowl

Chants drop third straight, down to last shot at bowlCoastal Carolina suffered its third consecutive defeat Saturday to remain [more]

Chiefs charge past Tigers to reach Lower State semis

Chiefs charge past Tigers to reach Lower State semisMatt Reel spent a portion of the moments leading up [more]

Seahawks' hot start forces playoff rematch with NMB

Seahawks' hot start forces playoff rematch with NMBWhen Myrtle Beach traveled to Marlboro County one month ago, [more]

Panthers' playoff run hits wall against Summerville

Panthers' playoff run hits wall against SummervilleMarc Morris knew his team needed a near-perfect performance to [more]

Longtime MBHS volleyball coach Church steps down

Longtime MBHS volleyball coach Church steps downLarry Church's final match as Myrtle Beach High volleyball coach [more]

MB Invitational: Upsets set up UCF, WKU in title game

MB Invitational: Upsets set up UCF, WKU in title gameThe Knights used a stifling defense to hold St. Joseph’s [more]

MB Invitational: WVU rolls; Coastal nets invite for 2019

MB Invitational: WVU rolls; Coastal nets invite for 2019The eight schools scheduled to compete in the 2019 Myrtle [more]

Field conditions a concern for Wilson-NMB playoff tilt

Field conditions a concern for Wilson-NMB playoff tiltMatt Reel’s North Myrtle Beach football team reached the second [more]

Versatile Green means go for Seahawks' hot offense

Versatile Green means go for Seahawks' hot offenseDean Boyd knows what Jermani Green can do. Boyd, the Marlboro [more]

Local student-athletes take advantage of early signing

Local student-athletes take advantage of early signingThe early signing period opened in full force Tuesday on [more]

Green Wave surges past Chants in road-trip debut

Green Wave surges past Chants in road-trip debutZac Cuthbertson tied his career-high with 31 points, but it [more]

NMB rises to the top with Class 4A volleyball crown

NMB rises to the top with Class 4A volleyball crownAfter losing a hard-fought first set in Saturday's Class 4A [more]

Coastal will host inaugural Myrtle Beach Bowl in 2020

Coastal will host inaugural Myrtle Beach Bowl in 2020ESPN Events is adding a new bowl game to its [more]

Mohr brothers take major leap at Junior Olympic XC

Mohr brothers take major leap at Junior Olympic XCA pair of Grand Strand brothers made strong showings at [more]

National champs highlight Chants' baseball schedule

National champs highlight Chants' baseball scheduleThe Coastal Carolina baseball team and head coach Gary Gilmore [more]

Coast FA teams post solid showings in NC tourneys

Coast FA teams post solid showings in NC tourneysCoach Joel Banta’s Coast 07 Red first received high praise [more]

Chiefs charge back, claim Class 4A volleyball crown

Chiefs charge back, claim Class 4A volleyball crownThe North Myrtle Beach Chiefs went to the Class 4A [more]

Red Wolves leave Coastal one win short of bowl bid

Red Wolves leave Coastal one win short of bowl bidArkansas Red Wolves totaled 454 yards of offense on their [more]

Panthers' gamble pays off in OT win over Lexington

Panthers' gamble pays off in OT win over LexingtonMarc Morris had already showed his hand. The Carolina Forest coach [more]

Seahawks, Green ground, pound Devils in first round

Seahawks, Green ground, pound Devils in first roundIn what could have been the final home game of [more]

Smith becomes third SJHS golfer to sign with Coker

Smith becomes third SJHS golfer to sign with CokerThe St. James High to Coker College golf pipeline continued [more]

BUFC nets three titles, two runners-up at James Island

BUFC nets three titles, two runners-up at James IslandThree Beach United Football Club teams captured championship trophies at [more]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2018 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach