Happy Hour: Qualifying changes, concussions, SAFER barriers and more

Nick Bromberg
October 24, 2013

Throughout the week you can send us your best questions, jokes, rants and just plain miscellaneous thoughts to happyhourmailbag@yahoo.com or @NickBromberg. We'll post them here, have a good time and everyone's happy. Right? Oh who are we kidding, this is NASCAR. No one is ever happy.

See the news about Corey LaJoie's sensitivity training and indefinite probation based on a tweet he sent? It's in line with the Nelson Piquet punishment (whether or not you believe that's fair is another matter), but I think it's crazy that an insensitive and stupid tweet draws NASCAR probation while a driver charged with two crimes against another person is not.

Did you know Carl Edwards is in a music video?

What do you think about possible change to the qualifying rules in NASCAR? It's a great step for a sport that really does need a shakeup in the qualifying structure. I think the normal qualifying format could stand on its own if there were multiple cars missing a race every week, but with 43 cars plus one or two on any given week attempting a race, there's not much drama to be had in the current setup.

Drafting practice to set the field at restrictor plate races is something that I would have never expected. Who will be the first team to figure out a tandem draft of sorts with the new car?

Also good news on the safety front with the announcement of baseline concussion testing for all NASCAR drivers. It's a logical step, and one that helps keep NASCAR moving towards the forefront of safety. Though if they truly want to get there, well, let's go to the first question.

I think we're slowly reaching the tipping point of having SAFER barriers everywhere, but I'm not sure how close we are or how fast we're moving. Kyle Busch's impact on Saturday was another example of how incredibly dumb it is to not have SAFER barrier anywhere. There is no good reason not to have every concrete wall that's exposed (save for pit road) not covered with SAFER barrier. And no, cost is not a good reason. Personally, I want to think we're close. Realistically? I'm not sure. We need continued and vocal advocacy.


I'm not a big follower of the Truck Series, but after that crash at Talladega, it raised a question in my mind: Cup has the Gen6 car. Nationwide has their new car. Have at least some of the safety measures been taken in the truck series, or are they basically racing the same truck that they always have? Are other improvements planned for Trucks, or is a "new" truck on the horizon? Hope all the drivers are OK!! - Ross

The Truck Series is getting a new truck next year, so that could have contributed to the craziness that we've seen on the last lap. Save for some low-funded teams who must use speedway trucks on other tracks, that was the last time that those trucks would be used for anything because of the new truck.

Thankfully, Justin Lofton was quickly released from the hospital after suffering a broken thumb, and Kyle Busch and Darrell Wallace were released from the infield care center after looking quite out of breath following the crash. And again, SAFER barriers would go a long way there. As Geoffrey Miller and I noted on the Chrome Horn, that crash basically spanned the SAFER barrier zone in the Talladega tri-oval.

No, I don't think so, simply because NASCAR can institute easy passing back into the racing with some aerodynamic tweaks. Let's take away the aerodynamic grip and add back in the mechanical grip. And by doing that, the cars are going to slow down. And what's something that everyone thinks will help make the racing better? Slower cars.

Formula 1 has gotten to that point because it's unbridled lunacy in building the craziest, most expensive car and trying to beat everyone else. If you're approved by the FIA, you're good. While with NASCAR, you've got a lot less flexibility. NASCAR can keep the limited flexibility, it can just change the rules package to make it happen.

I'll be blunt, if NASCAR could approach the new car with the type of open-mindedness that it looks like they're approaching qualifying with, the complaints about a lack of passing would be gone relatively quickly. However, the sanctioning body has spent so much time and effort touting -- and preventing other people from slamming -- the Gen-6 car that any major adjustments at this time would be seen as an anything less than a success. And the Gen-6 car is a complete and utter success. Or so I've been told.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!