February 23, 2006
Cheating in Bobsled and Nascar
I read that there are hundreds of pages of regulations on bobsled construction and that inspectors use laser technology to check runners. Even then some folks still believe that the Germans have illegal "hot runners." The rules have locked bobsleds into old world technology; shock absorbers are illegal and aerodynamic cowlings are illegal. Like all rules there are some curious points: One can use exotic metals in the runners as long as one does not use exotic coatings on the runners. Nascar has its own cheating scandal this week. The crew chief of the Daytona 500 winner was suspended for the race and three more races for a very clever mechanical device that changed the contour of the rear window after tech inspection. Nascar racers are stuck running old push-rod V8 motors (Toyota will enter the competition running a motor is does not make -- all its motors are overhead cam motors) and obsolete suspension systems. I race autos myself, both in SCCA (I run a spec Mazda miata) and in vintage racing (I run a 1966 Triumph Spitfire), and rule violations are a constant source of discussion and irritation. My children's participation in the All American Soap Box Derby and in the Cub Scout's Pinewood Derby raise the same issues. What are the limits of the rules? I find a similar problem in all these events: the rule makers are too aggressive. Short of providing spec cars (or sleds) for all competitors (as they do in the IROC races), the rule makes aim at having competitors all privately provide spec cars for themselves. The rules lock in old fashioned technology and get more and more elaborate in an effort to stop anyone's equipment edge. Enforcement lags behind the rules, giving competitors the choice of violating rules and not getting caught or acting on their honor within the rules. Is anything not caught legal? [The old Nascar adage.] Or should be all be "good citizens"? In practice in such situations, all winners are suspected of cheating (some do); and sore losers start cheating rumors. To little thought goes into the benefits of encouraging innovation. I think the bobsled rules are too tight, too complex and too old. Either provide spec sleds or let the competitors run most anything without a motor or do both (have a spec competition and an open competition).
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Cheating in Bobsled and Nascar:
Nice Blog :)
Posted by: FriendsterForum.com | Feb 23, 2006 8:37:43 AM
They could go to spec runners on Luge Bobsled and Skelition
Or even go futher spec the entire thing and only allow the choice of color!
Posted by: mike | Dec 15, 2006 9:59:30 AM