Bristol brings mechanical failures and competitive disengagement

Bristol brings mechanical failures and competitive disengagement

Bristol Motor Speedway is an interesting track where there is always work to be done. However, you also had a playoff race here, which usually changes things up.

Saturday night (September 17) saw the NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway for 500 laps. In the end, this race will be remembered for the huge number of mechanical problems.

Admittedly, drivers, teams and fans have been spoiled in recent years by the trophy’s level of reliability. Mechanical failures are no longer common in any major series these days. The Next Generation Car threw a wrench into those plans.

As you know, several drivers experienced a power steering/power steering failure on Saturday night. Both 23XI Racing drivers (Bubba Wallace and Ty Gibbs) had failures on the same lap, which is absolutely insane. Martin Truex Jr. To a similar fiasco, I think Eric Almerola did too, although the broadcast didn’t really explain it.

These failures were rather strange. On both the Truex and Wallace cars, the seal broke and fluid leaked all over the front tires on the inside, something I don’t remember seeing before.

Once again, NBC Sports was there with an excellent CGI graphic showing the steering rack and where they thought (correctly) where the failure occurred. Immediately afterwards, the cameras caught the 23XI Racing car trying to fit a new steering rack into Gibbs’ car. A rare example of live TV that offers an instant bonus.

Knowing that everything in these next-generation cars is being bought off the shelves these days, the potential for a poor set of parts is very high these days. We’ve seen this before. Probably the best example 2002 EA Sports 500 in TalladegaAll four of Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets, as well as MB2 Motorsports Pontiacs of Johnny Benson and Ken Schrader, suffered engine failures in the latest caution-free race in the Cup series.

In addition to the steering issues, you also had a bunch of tire issues. Drivers such as Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney, JJ Yelly, Brad Keselowski, Harrison Burton (several times), Denny Hamlin and others had tire problems.

In Blaney’s case, his tire failure turned into a problem with the rear toe linkage that eventually caused him to get out behind the wall. I have no idea why the team kept the car on the pit road for so long before going behind the wall because they had already met the minimum speed requirement. Then again, he finished 70 laps behind the next car (Wallace). It’s possible that going behind the wall earlier wouldn’t gain Blaney anything.

During the broadcast, the booth was convinced that these failures were primarily due to tire pressure. That’s why Steve Letarte talks about the damage done early in the race. Low air pressure can cause internal tire failure. Having too much camber can also cause a similar problem, especially for the front tires.

In this case, the tire issues were combined with very little tire wear, so you can’t really look at the tire and see significant wear. Chris Bucher won the race with two stops before 60 laps and skipped at least one stop earlier in the race, along with teammate Kiselowski.

Goodyear made no substantive statements after the race regarding the failure. There were no tweets about the failures. They published the results of the friction test before the race.

This could be interpreted as blaming the teams for the failures, but no one has come out and mentioned that as of this writing. Then again, that could change.

Tire issues, as well as steering issues and a couple of collisions, put the kibosh in a lot of NBC Sports’ plans around the Round 16 cut. Who will advance and who will be eliminated hasn’t been fully decided on the track, which I’m sure pissed off a number of people.

What viewers got was a good amount of coverage for the job, especially so early in the race. While they were certainly willing to cover drivers like Buescher and Keselowski who drive more than half of the race themselves, they weren’t really expecting to do so.

As the race continued, focus narrowed. Yes, points while running were on screen for the vast majority of the race, but it was scaled back to cover drivers like Austin Cendrick going through slower cars (Cendrick finished seven laps down, but collected enough points to get ahead).

Saturday night’s mass race product was all over the place. There were times that were very good and others that were really disappointing. While there were times when the leader was able to pull off, there was a lot of movement from nose to tail.

According to NASCAR ring data, Saturday night’s race had far more passes than last year’s Cup race, or the previous night’s Xfinity race. This is relatively interesting because watching this broadcast, it wasn’t really the case. The Bass Pro Shops night race was definitely the most frustrating of these two races.

The race ended on schedule on Saturday evening. The post-race coverage focused heavily on the qualifying contenders, whether or not they advanced. Viewers got eight post-race interviews and a check on the new points standings before leaving Bristol.

Overall, this wasn’t the best racing broadcast. Explaining the mechanical issues was the point, but the product on the right track was really an average watch. The production choices may have made the broadcast less exciting than it actually was (remember, it’s been more than last year, though lead changes decreased from 23 to 12).

Apparently the rules in place made it more difficult to pass to the lead than Gen6. That’s not great because that reversed problems in Martinsville back in April. Since then, there have been tests to try and improve the short-path product, but it’s unclear if that helped at all.

There was also inconsistency in management regarding what would be yellow and what would not. I can certainly understand that Kyle Busch’s blown engine is one, but they were throwing yellow for broken tires as no one hit the wall. It was a bit confusing to watch at times.

There were times when things happened during commercial breaks that weren’t covered in time as well. For example, before all the tire and suspension issues, Blaney took the lead from Aric Almirola during a commercial break. Viewers didn’t even see a replay of this before Burton and Willie had a tire problem.

Later, Truex experienced a power steering failure under caution. He went behind the wall during the ad and there was a long delay before it was covered. Since Truex is more than 200 points ahead of the next driver (Erik Jones) in points due to match setup, he chose to stop it rather than get it fixed by the crew. I can’t tell you if it’s worse than my 23XI race car.

The 23XI Racing cars are finally back on the track after replacing the steering racks to all kinds of ridicule. There was a whole bunch of people saying that the 23XI teams need to stand up so Busch can move into the round of 12. It wouldn’t be less than the team orders if they did. NASCAR doesn’t need that trash.

The booth was aware of this fact and did not defend the team’s orders. However, they did note what 23XI Racing’s plan would ultimately do. Wallace’s car was still able to run at a decent pace once he got back there. Gibbs did not do well and eventually retired with an additional failure. Weft.

That’s it for this week. Next weekend, both the NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series begin Round 12 at Texas Motor Speedway, with 300 miles on Saturday and 500 miles on Sunday. Sadly, I think you can already tell the main story there will be. It has nothing to do with the playoffs.

Meanwhile, SRO America is holding its penultimate weekend at the Sebring International Raceway. TV listings can be found here.

We’ll have critiques of the Cup and Xfinity Series races from Texas at next week’s edition of Couch Potato Tuesday here at expansion. Later this week in the Frontstretch newsletter, we’ll cover the Xfinity and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races from Bristol.

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