Skip to content

Drivers lobby NASCAR to let them cool cars in pits during qualifying

Feb 28, 2014, 8:55 PM EDT

The Profit on CNBC 500 - Qualifying Getty Images

After making its debut today at Phoenix International Raceway, we can say NASCAR’s new knock-out qualifying format is more interesting than its former single-car qualifying format. But it’s definitely still a work in progress.

For example, one of the more notable instances from today’s session was drivers turning slow laps and cutting their motors on the track in an attempt to cool their cars down enough for one more hot lap. Under the rules of the new format, teams are not allowed to cool the cars down on pit road.

The slow laps made for a bit of a lull in the session, but more importantly, they’re a potential safety issue.

“When you’re going out there and you’re going 100 mph slower, the closing rate is really fast, so it gets kind of scary,” said Team Penske’s Joey Logano after qualifying on the front row for Sunday’s The Profit on CNBC 500.

Jamie McMurray (pictured), who qualified third on the inside of Row 2 for Sunday’s event, believed that the sanctioning body should consider allowing the teams to be able to cool their cars in the pits.

“When we do normal qualifying runs and you shut the car off at the start/finish line and coast back to the garage – when you start the car back up, it’s had enough time to push the air through the radiator that when you start it up, it cools down 20 degrees. Everybody already knew that and I think it’d be hard to police on NASCAR’s side,” McMurray said.

“I mean, I’m answering your question with a statement – I think they need to let us cool the engines down so we can run full tape [on the grill] the whole time and eliminate that.”

McMurray believes that such a scenario would make it easier on teams to adjust their cars knowing they don’t have to gauge the temperature and decide if they need to pull tape off.

Furthermore, he believes it would be less costly for the teams as well.

“To me, what this will start is people buying expensive batteries so you can run better fans on the radiators to push more air – to me, it’ll just save everybody more money if we can just do the cool-down unit.”

Logano, perhaps noting the down time in the session, chimed in as well: “The cars would also go out more often. It takes so long to cool, so if you can do it in five minutes and go back out, there would be more cars on the race track to do a hot lap.”

As for NASCAR’s viewpoint, vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said that the reason for not having cool-down units used was to ensure that the hoods would stay closed and illegal adjustments to the car would not be made.

“Like everything we’ve been able to do the last 4-6 months, we’ll continue to talk to the drivers and teams, and solicit feedback on how, if anything, we can improve,” he said.

“We heard some of the same [feedback] and we also heard drivers within the last 30 minutes stop by and say, ‘Don’t let anybody talk you into hooking up the cool-down units.’

“Because they feel it’s part of the strategy of how much tape you run, how many laps you run, how many times you run in the entire session. There are a whole menu of things that people want to work on and not work on.”

Latest Posts
  1. Tequila Patron ESM makes its Ligier JS P2 Honda race debut in Spa (VIDEOS)

    May 4, 2015, 1:33 PM EDT

    Photo: Tequila Patron ESM Photo: Tequila Patron ESM

    Videos from the debut of the new Ligier JS P2 Hondas for Tequila Patron ESM at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend.

  2. Andretti, Honda open strongly on Indy 500 opening day

    May 4, 2015, 11:35 AM EDT

    Photo: Honda Photo: Honda

    Early days yet, but seems as though Andretti Autosport is starting the month of May out on the right foot.

  3. Westbrook, Valiante score TUDOR win in Monterey

    May 4, 2015, 11:24 AM EDT

    TUDORmrlswin Getty Images

    The No. 90 Corvette DP pairing ends on top in Monterey.

  4. Montoya fastest on opening day of Indianapolis 500 practice

    May 3, 2015, 8:42 PM EDT

    Photo: IMS Photography Photo: IMS Photography

    Day one of the month of May is in the books at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

  5. Iranian government planning to build Formula 1 circuit

    May 3, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-BHR-F1 Getty Images

    Could we see the Iranian Grand Prix join the F1 calendar in years to come?

  6. Chester confident Lotus can compete with Red Bull

    May 3, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain Getty Images

    Lotus technical director Nick Chester expresses his confidence in the upcoming upgrade package for the E23 Hybrid car.

  7. A handful of new drivers, liveries make first outing for Indy 500 practice (PHOTOS)

    May 3, 2015, 2:11 PM EDT

    Mann and Daly. Photo: INDYCAR Mann and Daly. Photo: INDYCAR

    A run through of new driver firesuits and liveries thus far on the first day of practice for the Indianapolis 500.

  8. Di Resta, Wehrlein score podiums in opening DTM weekend

    May 3, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    DTM German Touring Car Hockenheim - Qualifying Getty Images

    Ex-Force India driver di Resta picks up his first podium finish since returning to DTM in 2014.

  9. MotoGP: Lorenzo claims first win of 2015 at Spanish GP

    May 3, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    Spain Motorcycle Grand Prix AP

    Spanish rider wins on home soil as Valentino Rossi scores his 200th podium finish.

  10. Conor Daly’s Smithfield Foods “Fueled by Bacon” special revealed at IMS

    May 3, 2015, 12:26 PM EDT

    Photo: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Photo: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

    Conor Daly’s “Fueled by Bacon” No. 43 Smithfield Foods Honda is revealed.

  11. WEC: Hulkenberg impresses on debut, finishing sixth

    May 3, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    © Porsche AG © Porsche AG

    The no. 19 crew fights back at Spa to finish sixth overall after six hours of racing.

  12. Maldonado reflects on complicated start to 2015 F1 season

    May 3, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-ESP-TEST Getty Images

    Venezuelan driver returns to the site of his only grand prix victory next weekend.

  13. Sgt. Liam Dwyer wins Continental Tire race with man who saved his life watching from pits

    May 2, 2015, 8:57 PM EDT

    Dwyer-small

    Last-lap pass by co-driver Andrew Carbonell allows Sgt. Liam Dwyer to celebrate win with Sgt. Aaron Denning, the man who saved his life.

  14. Ricciardo relishing buzz of Spanish GP as F1 hits Europe

    May 2, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain Getty Images

    Red Bull driver speaks about the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which will play host to the Spanish Grand Prix next weekend.

  15. WEC: Audi no. 7 victorious again, defeating Porsche at Spa

    May 2, 2015, 3:31 PM EDT

    © FIA WEC © FIA WEC

    Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer claim their second win of the WEC season at Spa.

  16. Horner: Tough start to 2015 motivating Red Bull

    May 2, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Practice Getty Images

    The former world champions may have fallen from grace, but Horner says that defeat is only motivating the team.

  17. Chevrolet reveals its super speedway aero kit

    May 2, 2015, 12:42 PM EDT

    Photo: Chevrolet Photo: Chevrolet

    Chevrolet takes wraps off its manufacturer super speedway aero kit.