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

SCHSL changes schedules for volleyball, tennis, swim

SCHSL changes schedules for volleyball, tennis, swimIn the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, the South Carolina High [more]

Chants set to enshrine nine in Athletics Hall of Fame

Chants set to enshrine nine in Athletics Hall of FameThe Coastal Carolina Department of Athletics announced Monday the nine [more]

Coastal weathers storm, Cajuns in Sun Belt debut

Coastal weathers storm, Cajuns in Sun Belt debutOn the road for 12-straight days, which included a 10-day [more]

No. 2 Tigers take care of business, top Georgia Tech

No. 2 Tigers take care of business, top Georgia TechThe No. 2 Clemson football team opened 2018 ACC play [more]

Gamecocks bounce back from week off, beat Vandy

Gamecocks bounce back from week off, beat VandyJake Bentley threw for 261 yards and a touchdown, and [more]

CCU men, women score soccer shutouts on road

CCU men, women score soccer shutouts on roadThe Coastal Carolina men's soccer team had not played another [more]

Florence fallout again pulls plug on Friday night lights

Florence fallout again pulls plug on Friday night lightsHurricane Florence 2, Horry County Schools 0. That appears to be [more]

Strand golf courses race to re-open in wake of storm

Strand golf courses race to re-open in wake of stormMyrtle Beach area golf courses, spared the worst of Hurricane [more]

SCHSL extends season but plans for Strand still afloat

SCHSL extends season but plans for Strand still afloatThe SCHSL's executive committee voted unanimously Tuesday to extend the [more]

Pelicans Young, Swarmer claim Cubs' POY awards

Pelicans Young, Swarmer claim Cubs' POY awardsMyrtle Beach Pelicans infielder Jared Young was named the Chicago [more]

Chants blow out Camels in front of Hurricane Florence

Chants blow out Camels in front of Hurricane FlorenceJust four days removed and 142 miles away from its [more]

Coastal baseball signs first BA Top 25 recruiting class

Coastal baseball signs first BA Top 25 recruiting classFor the first time in Coastal Carolina baseball program history, [more]

Hurricane Florence throws local sports scene a curve

Hurricane Florence throws local sports scene a curveIn response to the impending arrival of Hurricane Florence and [more]

Coast FA brings home five titles from Rock Hill Classic

Coast FA brings home five titles from Rock Hill ClassicCoast FA returned to the beach with five championship and [more]

CF boys finish second, MB girls net third at CCU meet

CF boys finish second, MB girls net third at CCU meetThe Carolina Forest boys finished second and the Myrtle Beach [more]

Chants explode in second half to cruise past Blazers

Chants explode in second half to cruise past BlazersCoastal Carolina football used a number of big offensive plays [more]

No. 4 Seahawks light up scoreboard, beat Braves

No. 4 Seahawks light up scoreboard, beat BravesThe No. 4-ranked Myrtle Beach football team celebrated Neon Night [more]

No. 6 Chiefs struggle their way past revitalized Sharks

No. 6 Chiefs struggle their way past revitalized SharksWithout raising his voice, without screaming his face red or [more]

Panthers take big win over Hoggard to stay unbeaten

Panthers take big win over Hoggard to stay unbeatenJackson Weatherwax knew he had the ball. Late in the fourth [more]

Football Roundup: Tigers, Saints fall, remain winless

Football Roundup: Tigers, Saints fall, remain winless* Hartsville 35, Conway 0: The Tigers (0-4) remained winless [more]

Golf: Sharks top Seahawks; Panthers knock off Braves

Golf: Sharks top Seahawks; Panthers knock off BravesThe three-time reigning state champion St. James girls golf team [more]

Chants hungry for first win in home opener vs. Blazers

Chants hungry for first win in home opener vs. BlazersThe Coastal Carolina football team will open up its 2018 [more]

Volleyball: Tigers improve to 6-0 with win over Bruins

Volleyball: Tigers improve to 6-0 with win over BruinsThe Conway High volleyball team improved to 6-0 Thursday by [more]

Week 3 Previews & Picks: MB has old score to settle

Week 3 Previews & Picks: MB has old score to settleMyrtle Beach junior quarterback Luke Doty has had this week's [more]

Tennis: Lady Panthers open season with win over Aynor

Tennis: Lady Panthers open season with win over AynorThe Carolina Forest girls tennis team served up a victory [more]

SCHSL changes schedules for volleyball, tennis, swim

SCHSL changes schedules for volleyball, tennis, swimIn the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, the South Carolina High [more]

Chants set to enshrine nine in Athletics Hall of Fame

Chants set to enshrine nine in Athletics Hall of FameThe Coastal Carolina Department of Athletics announced Monday the nine [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