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Vickers: On-track cooldown laps “most dangerous thing I’ve ever done”

Mar 7, 2014, 9:12 PM EDT

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Last week at Phoenix, multiple drivers such as Jamie McMurray and Joey Logano lobbied NASCAR to allow teams to use cool-down units for their cars on pit road during qualifying instead of having to run slow laps on the track to cool the engines.

NASCAR has maintained that the cool-down units are not allowed in the pits because they didn’t want teams to make illegal adjustments after they popped the hoods of their cars.

Brian Vickers, who was the fastest in today’s first round of qualifying before going on to a ninth-place starting position for Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, was particularly worried after having to run slow laps in Round 1 to cool the motor on his No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota.

“Riding around the bottom – and we have to do it, it’s the only way we can keep the engine cool without a cool-down unit – but that has got to be the most dangerous thing I’ve ever done in racing,” Vickers told Fox Sports leading into Round 2.

“The 36 [Reed Sorenson] went by me at 170 miles per hour faster that I was going. Had he slipped or hit me – I mean, I’d be done. It’d be so bad.

“I know we’re working on it together. I think it’s a really exciting qualifying for the fans and I’m pumped about that, but we really shouldn’t be riding around at 20 miles per hour with [other] cars going 190.”

After claiming the pole for Sunday’s main event, Logano again talked about the situation with an added emphasis on next week’s race on the high-banked half-mile of Bristol Motor Speedway.

“Next weekend is going to be crazy,” Logano said. “This weekend, at least we have the apron so we can run the apron all the way around to cool off so that’s good. But next weekend, we really don’t.

“You have a half-mile race track and you’re gonna have all these cars out there at the same time. You’re gonna have 50 cars out there next week. On a half-mile race track, that’s going to be tight.”

He then made another push for teams to use the cool-down units.

“…What we’ve suggested is maybe running the cool-down hookups to the hood flap so we can plug it in right there,” he said. “They don’t want us to lift up the hood obviously, so if we can just cool them down like that, then everyone could make more runs.

“That would obviously give the fans more time to watch cars making their speed laps and not cooldown laps trying to cool your motor down.”

  1. worknman24hours - Mar 8, 2014 at 7:58 PM

    Totally agree, Nascar has to stop this.

    All Nascar has to do is tell the teams to stay away from the cars while the hoods are open for cooling.

    Any arms inside the hood opening earns the team a penalty.

    Not rocket science.

    Otherwise, we are going to see a hell of a bad racing accident.

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