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NASCAR ROUNDUP News and notes



Published: Sat, February 26, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Under the gun: Nextel Cup drivers better watch their speed on pit road -- NASCAR will be watching how fast they travel. John Darby, the Nextel Cup director, said Saturday the experiment with electronic timing equipment that saw 14 pit road speeding violations handed out during last Sunday's Daytona 500 was such a success that the system "is here to stay." The drivers keep track of their speed by using tachometers, which measure RPMs. Some teams have already installed warning light systems to help the drivers stay under the pit road speed limits. "Speedometers wouldn't do them any good," Darby said. "They wouldn't be accurate enough. But these crew chiefs out there can take a 99-cent calculator and figure out exactly what RPM number their driver has to hit to be right at the speed limit. But, with the new system, there is no question. These guys are going to have to watch their speeds. No more cheating on pit road. Race cars don't speed, drivers do."

Cooling off: Jimmie Johnson insists there are no hard feelings about his run-in with Tony Stewart at the end of the Daytona 500. Johnson and Stewart bounced off each other several times on the last lap of the race and then Stewart gave Johnson a retaliatory bump after the checkered flag. The drivers were called on the carpet by NASCAR and that seemed to calm things down. "At the end of the race, when the cameras are running and we're climbing out of the cars made without having a chance to cool down, it makes for great television, but that's all it is," Johnson said. He added that the visit to NASCAR's trackside office calmed things down quickly. "We went into the trailer and spoke our differences and started laughing after a while and came out the backside," Johnson said, grinning. "We talked about holding hands coming out just to give a good media shot for everyone. It's great that we have the exposure we do, but I just don't want to see our sport have too much controversy. But we're real people with real emotions and we're not always going to be happy."

Mexican trip: UPS will help deliver NASCAR's Busch Series to Mexico City for next week's inaugural race. The American package delivery company will manifest and seal all NASCAR and team equipment, coordinate international logistics and synchronize more than 80 team haulers, official trailers of technical scoring and template equipment, tires, emergency and safety vehicles and media trucks across the border in a series of convoys. "Equipment will be arriving at our UPS Logistics Center in Laredo, Texas, from multiple points around the country, and our specialized teams have the complex task of streamlining the massive cross-border activities," said Tom Page, a UPS official who specializes in dealing with Latin America projects. After crossing the border, each convoy will have federal and private security escorts and coordinated communications for the about 20-hour trip to Mexico City. After the March 6 race, UPS will reverse the procedures to help get everyone back to the U.S. in plenty of time to race the following week in Las Vegas.

Associated Press




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