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NASCAR Rule Changes For 2017 Dominate The Day

Mark Martin, with Pippa Mann, stopped by Indianapolis to check out the 100th running of the Indy 500. [Russ Lake Photo]

Mark Martin, with Pippa Mann, stopped by Indianapolis to check out the 100th running of the Indy 500. [Russ Lake Photo]

Turk’s Tracks
A Few Loose Lug Nuts from Pit Row

By Gene Turk

January of 2017 is turning out to be quite the newsworthy month for the racing world. Perhaps the biggest story so far is NASCAR’s announcement on January 23rd of a new rule package. The new rules apply to all three series – Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, Xfinity, and the Camping World Truck series. At this time, I won’t go into all of the details of the new rule package, but instead just give a basic overview. To be quite honest, the new rules are rather complicated and the point system is somewhat confusing from my perspective.

Basically, all races will be run in three stages with a break after stage 1 and 2. Only the first 10 finishers from stage 1 and 2 will be awarded points. The overall winner receives 40 points. By the way, you will no longer need to use THE CHASE in your NASCAR discussions. It will now simply be a 10 race playoff. One rule really jumped out at me is there will be no, I repeat, no commercials during green flag laps. The sponsors can use the break periods to get their ads on T.V. The estimate is that this will result in the television audience seeing 20% more of the race. This is a rule I am very much in favor of. My frustration level was getting high during some of the races this last couple of years. It was at a point that you only got to watch only 40% of the race laps. I am going to wait to make any judgments as to how the rules work out until we get a few races into the season. What I am going to do is pay attention to the driver and crew chief comments regarding these changes and will report on this later.

January 22nd was another important day for NASCAR when they held their Hall of Fame class of 2017 inductees’ ceremony. The inductees include two drivers – Mark Martin and the late Benny Parsons along with three car owners. In that group were Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and Raymond Parks. Some of you may not be know the name Raymond Parks. Mr. Parks was one of the original attendees at the meeting that Bill France held in 1947 to establish NASCAR. Mr. Parks went on to become one of NASCAR’s first successful car owners.

I was glad to see Mark Martin join the Hall of Fame. During his 31 year career, Mark had 47 wins in the Nationwide series, 13 IROC series wins and 40 Cup series wins. What is interesting is that Mark was a five-time runner up to the Cup series championship. Here’s something to discuss around the office water cooler – do you think Mark Martin would have run a Cup championship if he had raced under THE CHASE rule package?

Finally, as a side note, I want to mention that 2016 ended on a high note for the Corvette C7.R racing team at Road Atlanta in October. A strong finish for both Corvettes wrapped up the GTLM Manufacture’s Championship for Chevrolet. This was their eleventh in the program’s history. It was good to see that the Corvette can compete with the best sports cars that Europe has to offer. Way to go Corvette.

Until next time, keep the tach in the black and the dirty side down.

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Gene Turk
Gene Turk was born with racing in his blood. At age 8 he started racing Quarter Midgets as member of the Great Milwaukee Quarter Midget club. For five years he raced the #7 car that his father built. He then graduated from the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) with a degree in Industrial Engineering and Internal Combustion Engineering. While in college he obtained his Private Pilot’s License. Along the way he has attended numerous Indy car and stock car races at the Milwaukee Mile during the 60s, 70sand 80s along with area Midget car races. He would also frequently fly to the Brickyard to watch the Indy 500 time trials in the 60s and 70s and more recently attended the 2014 Indy 500. He has also attended numerous sports car and NASCAR races at Elkhart Lake Road America. Finally, Gene has owned many classic cars including his present 1990 Corvette and is a self-described “Gear Head.”