Published on May 15th, 2008 | by Michael J Smith2
Does Spygate Happen In NASCAR?
With all the media attention on Spygate in the NFL, I wonder if the same thing happens in NASCAR.
When I watch broadcasts of the races, particularly after someone crashes, I often see the teams working on the racecars. From time to time, I’ll see a shot of the brakes, or the engine and I wonder, are there teams studying these images to see what other teams are running?
I’m no mechanic so I don’t really know what competitive advantage could be gained from seeing someone’s rotors and calipers. But, if such a big deal was made about a Roush Fenway Racing sway bar ending up at Michael Waltrip Racing, then I have to believe there could be.
I’m sure teams heavily guard their notes from testing and car setups, but what about all of the things the fans have access to?
For example, if I’m running in second place with six laps to go on 40-lap old tires, and the caution comes out, wouldn’t it be nice to know whether the leader is going to pit or stay out? Sure I could watch as we approach pit road.
But having more time to make my decision would definitely be an advantage. So, why not have a team member devoted to listening to other teams on the scanner?
Why not go check out what springs Joe Gibbs Racing or Hendrick Motorsports are using during testing?
The real question is whether or not that is cheating? I once heard a crewman say, in NASCAR, it’s our job to cheat, and NASCAR’s job to catch us.
Maybe bending the rules is not as bad as blatantly cheating. Or, is it?
Unfortunately, I don’t have any answers. But, when one-one hundreth of a second could mean the difference between winning and losing, I can’t imagine you wouldn’t do anything you could to get an edge.