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

CCU Hoops: Men, women take big road wins at Troy

CCU Hoops: Men, women take big road wins at TroyTrailing by 14 points at halftime, Coastal Carolina went on [more]

Saints light up Landsharks in Lowcountry Showcase

Saints light up Landsharks in Lowcountry ShowcaseThe Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach boys basketball team won [more]

Strand runners dominate NMB Winter Run 15K/5K

Strand runners dominate NMB Winter Run 15K/5KMore than 200 runners pounded the pavement through the streets [more]

Hoops: CF girls win in OT; MB claims sweep over MC

Hoops: CF girls win in OT; MB claims sweep over MCThe Carolina Forest girls basketball team battled its way to [more]

Coastal's Pierrot picked in second round of MLS draft

Coastal's Pierrot picked in second round of MLS draftAfter a career which saw him named the Sun Belt [more]

NMB boys, girls suffer first region setbacks at Wilson

NMB boys, girls suffer first region setbacks at WilsonThe North Myrtle Beach High boys and girls basketball teams [more]

CF girls blow out Knights; boys lose to WF at buzzer

CF girls blow out Knights; boys lose to WF at buzzerDespite the ice-cold weather outside, the Carolina Forest girls basketball [more]

CCU Hoops: Chants suffer sixth straight loss at USA

CCU Hoops: Chants suffer sixth straight loss at USAThe Coastal Carolina men's basketball team suffered their sixth consecutive [more]

Conway sweeps Socastee; NMB, SJ games postponed

Conway sweeps Socastee; NMB, SJ games postponedThe Conway High boys and girls basketball teams swept visiting [more]

Boys Hoops: Green breaks CA record; Braves beat CF

Boys Hoops: Green breaks CA record; Braves beat CFChristian Academy of Myrtle Beach junior Michael Green reached another [more]

Lady Panthers' second-half surge knocks off Socastee

Lady Panthers' second-half surge knocks off SocasteeThe Carolina Forest High girls basketball team broke up a [more]

Coastal adds Michigan OL transfer to recruiting class

Coastal adds Michigan OL transfer to recruiting classCoastal Carolina head football coach Joe Moglia announced Sean Fitzgerald, [more]

Earnhardt clears air about interest in buying Panthers

Earnhardt clears air about interest in buying PanthersRetired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he is interested [more]

CCU's Ruiz picked to play in Latin America Amateur

CCU's Ruiz picked to play in Latin America AmateurCoastal Carolina junior golfer Luis Ruiz has been selected to [more]

CAC swimmers clean up on medals at Tiger Invitational

CAC swimmers clean up on medals at Tiger InvitationalThe Coastal Aquatic Club (CAC) sent 37 swimmers to compete [more]

MB grad Sessions waived during 11th NBA season

MB grad Sessions waived during 11th NBA seasonFor the first time since his high school days at [more]

Horry/Georgetown Invite: CF, NMB, MB finish 1-2-3

Horry/Georgetown Invite: CF, NMB, MB finish 1-2-3The Carolina Forest High wrestling team captured the bi-county championship [more]

Battle at the Beach: MB makes it rain 3s; CA falls

Battle at the Beach: MB makes it rain 3s; CA fallsOn Friday night, a leaky roof forced the Myrtle Beach [more]

CCU Hoops: Coastal splits with visiting Georgia State

CCU Hoops: Coastal splits with visiting Georgia StateArtur Labinowicz scored a career, team and game-high 32 points, [more]

Hoops: Chiefs, Tigers use last-second shots for wins

Hoops: Chiefs, Tigers use last-second shots for winsNorth Myrtle Beach High's Cooper Chandler picked the right time [more]

MB Winter Bump tourney expects record crowd, field

MB Winter Bump tourney expects record crowd, fieldThe annual Myrtle Beach Winter Bump Volleyball Classic, hosted by [more]

Knaffle garners SCCAWS Player of the Year award

Knaffle garners SCCAWS Player of the Year awardSt. James High junior Smith Knaffle may need to add [more]

CCU Hoops: Chants split Sun Belt twinbill with GSU

CCU Hoops: Chants split Sun Belt twinbill with GSUJaylen Shaw moved into 13th place on the Coastal Carolina [more]

North Myrtle Beach boys, girls cruise past St. James

North Myrtle Beach boys, girls cruise past St. JamesThe North Myrtle Beach boys and girls basketball teams swept [more]

Wrestling: Locals earn top rankings; Chiefs take two

Wrestling: Locals earn top rankings; Chiefs take twoThe latest rankings were released Tuesday for SCHSL wrestling, but [more]

CCU Hoops: Men, women take big road wins at Troy

CCU Hoops: Men, women take big road wins at TroyTrailing by 14 points at halftime, Coastal Carolina went on [more]

Saints light up Landsharks in Lowcountry Showcase

Saints light up Landsharks in Lowcountry ShowcaseThe Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach boys basketball team won [more]

Leave a Reply

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

© 2017 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach