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

Conway's Moody makes mark as freshman for Tide

Conway's Moody makes mark as freshman for Tide The national championship game didn’t turn out the way Jaylen [more]

Hoops: Chiefs tip Falcons; MB, Knox rock Red Foxes

Hoops: Chiefs tip Falcons; MB, Knox rock Red FoxesMyrtle Beach's Emorie Knox erupted for 32 points Tuesday night [more]

CCU makes another poll, hosts free clinic for kids

CCU makes another poll, hosts free clinic for kidsThe Coastal Carolina baseball team received another top 25 preseason [more]

Chants fall short on final shot in skirmish with Mavs

Chants fall short on final shot in skirmish with MavsJunior guard Rashad Davis hit a 3-pointer with less than [more]

Hoops: Green lifts Saints; Seahawks rally past 'Dogs

Hoops: Green lifts Saints; Seahawks rally past 'DogsOn a night chosen to recognize a milestone for Christian [more]

All-County Volleyball: NMB duo adds to state-title run

All-County Volleyball: NMB duo adds to state-title runHow do you choose between two state championship teammates and [more]

Vincent breaks new ground as NMB boys hoops coach

Vincent breaks new ground as NMB boys hoops coachA referee approached the North Myrtle Beach High boys basketball [more]

CCU baseball joins another Top 25 list for 2019 season

CCU baseball joins another Top 25 list for 2019 seasonWith just over five weeks until the season opener on [more]

Pelicans, Cubs make over field staff for 2019 season

Pelicans, Cubs make over field staff for 2019 seasonThe Myrtle Beach  Pelicans and parent club Chicago Cubs announced their on‐field staff for the 2019 season on Wednesday. New to Myrtle Beach this season, Jimmy Gonzalez will take the helm for the Pelicans following four seasons managing the Single-A South Bend Cubs. The 2016 Midwest League Manager of the Year with South Bend, Gonzalez was  [more]

Hoops: Falcons fly by MB; Tigers rally to top Sharks

Hoops: Falcons fly by MB; Tigers rally to top SharksCraig Martin walked off the court at the end of [more]

Tigers crush Crimson Tide for national championship

Tigers crush Crimson Tide for national championshipClemson captured its third national football championship - and its [more]

CCU alums Ross, Johnson pioneers in upstart league

CCU alums Ross, Johnson pioneers in upstart leagueFormer Coastal Carolina football players Alex Ross and Kerron Johnson [more]

Jags drop Chants in 2OT; Lady Chants lose to USA

Jags drop Chants in 2OT; Lady Chants lose to USAFour players reached double digits for Coastal Carolina, but it [more]

Hoops: Braves sweep CF; Seahawks split with Chiefs

Hoops: Braves sweep CF; Seahawks split with ChiefsSocastee scored a big road victory in its Region 6-5A [more]

CCU Hoops: Road teams win SBC debuts with Troy

CCU Hoops: Road teams win SBC debuts with TroyTyrell Gumbs-Frater scored a game-high 20 points as Coastal Carolina [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 6: Comets top Cards for title

Beach Ball Classic, Day 6: Comets top Cards for titleMonday's Beach Ball Classic championship game didn't feature the offensive [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 4/5: CA's Green leaves his mark

Beach Ball Classic, Day 4/5: CA's Green leaves his mark This week's Beach Ball Classic has been a memorable one [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 3: MB takes one on the chin

Beach Ball Classic, Day 3: MB takes one on the chinMyrtle Beach went toe-to-toe with St. Edward (OH) before falling [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 2: Socastee, MB, CA stumble

Beach Ball Classic, Day 2: Socastee, MB, CA stumbleSocastee turned in a solid team effort but suffered an [more]

CCU mourns loss of former Olympian, assistant Henley

CCU mourns loss of former Olympian, assistant HenleyTwo-time Olympian (1992 and 1996) and Coastal Carolina assistant track [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 1: Braves, Saints lose debuts

Beach Ball Classic, Day 1: Braves, Saints lose debutsTwo local high school basketball teams found out just how [more]

Wrestling: Young Panthers stay hungry for region title

Wrestling: Young Panthers stay hungry for region titleMatthew Ashworth knows the Carolina Forest wrestling squad isn’t the [more]

Beach Ball Classic brings top teams, talent to MBCC

Beach Ball Classic brings top teams, talent to MBCCThe 38th annual Beach Ball Classic tips off Wednesday with [more]

Panther Classic: Seahawks see thrilling run fall in final

Panther Classic: Seahawks see thrilling run fall in finalMyrtle Beach's thrilling run through the Panther Classic ended with [more]

Seahawks, Chiefs rack up on All-Region 6-4A honors

Seahawks, Chiefs rack up on All-Region 6-4A honorsThe state champion Myrtle Beach High football team cleaned up [more]

Conway's Moody makes mark as freshman for Tide

Conway's Moody makes mark as freshman for Tide The national championship game didn’t turn out the way Jaylen [more]

Hoops: Chiefs tip Falcons; MB, Knox rock Red Foxes

Hoops: Chiefs tip Falcons; MB, Knox rock Red FoxesMyrtle Beach's Emorie Knox erupted for 32 points Tuesday night [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