Q and A with NASCAR’s Robin Pemberton
Robin Pemberton is NASCAR’s vice president of competition, and as such oversees rules and regulations. That makes him NASCAR’s top cop. On Friday, he took a few minutes to answer some questions for The Kansas City Star.
Are you happy with the progress of the Car of Tomorrow?
Yes, very. I think the teams have adjusted well. I think the safety speaks for itself. I think last week at Dover it was quite evident that the car was very durable and did what it needed to do.
Is the Car of Tomorrow accomplishing its other goals of improving competition and reducing costs?
It seems to be. On the competition side, people judge races differently sometimes. Some only watch lead changes, and others watch racing as it goes on through the field — and that has surely improved. The entire field has gotten closer. I think when you look at the cost side, many of the teams have only raced only two chassis in all the races previous to the race last week, so the opportunity for cutting down the stable of cars that is needed to race for the year, it definitely shows that it has that ability.
The Car of Tomorrow will run at Talladega next weekend. How big of a test is it, and what do you hope to learn, and any apprehensions?
No apprehensions. I think any time you take a different package to a race track, whether it be aerodynamics, the unleaded fuel we introduced this year, any engine rules, anything of that nature, you go in willing and ready to learn how to move the programs forward. I think Talladega will be a pretty exciting race. I think everybody is kind of looking forward to it. It will be one of the faster racetracks, the fastest racetrack, that we’ve run on with the new car.
A lot of penalties this year. Some eye-popping penalties in terms of point deductions and fines. What’s the message you are sending?
You don’t want to be in the headlines for a penalty. That’s the message. Also along with that, I think, is trying to keep a level playing field by ratcheting up the penalties and being stronger on that. It’s what we do. I think, honestly, we’ve had a pretty good year, even though we’ve had some large penalties out there and some of them were way outside the box and they got a lot of headlines for it.
Kansas Speedway. Is the track getting racy?
The track is getting racy. All of these facilities, after they get some time on them and you get some age on the pavement, the grooves start to widen out. We saw a couple of good races here in the last couple of years, and it should be no exception this year. Kansas City Star