It came down to just Joey Logano and Mark Martin as the race was winding down but, in the end, it was Logano who took the checkered flag in the Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway. The driver won his second victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and also became the first driver of the 2012 season to get a victory after starting in the pole position. The true headline from the race, however, is related to the speeding penalties given out by NASCAR officials.
Fans who saw the race likely remember seeing an abnormal amount of penalties given to drivers for speeding on pit road. There were 22 of those penalties give out during the course of the race. The record number of penalties is being blamed on the newly repaved track. NASCAR cars are not equipped with speedometers and drivers use lines painted on pit road to help determine their speed. The track has been configured in an entirely different way and the lines, though allegedly placed properly, are in different places than drivers were used to. Jimmie Johnson believed that the lines were off. He attempted to time the speed as he does at other tracks but still received two penalties.
The speed limits, which vary depending on the track, have been in place for more than two decades. In the final race of the 1990 season, Ricky Rudd accidently hit three members of Bill Elliott's pit crew. One of the men, Mike Rich, died. Two other men, including Elliott's brother, Dan Elliott, were injured. Shortly after the 1991 season started, speed limits were put in place on pit road to help ensure the safety of the crew members.
Since the cars do not have speedometers like normal street cars, it must be difficult for the drivers to judge the speed of the car on a new surface. It makes sense that several drivers would get penalties and it is understandable why pit road has speed limits. The amount of penalties in this race, however, impacted the racing. Those penalties did appear to be unintentional. As a fan, it would have been better if the drivers had timed out pit road before the race, but that is not up to NASCAR. The NASCAR officials really seemed to have little choice in the matter, unfortunately. Hopefully, the amount of speeding penalties will not happen in future races.
Kristin Watt has been a NASCAR Winston Cup, now Sprint Cup, fan for as long as she can remember starting way back when she was a little girl and her mother would sit on the couch with her every Sunday during the season to watch the races. Back then, they were fans of Bill Elliott and newcomer Davey Allison.
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