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Why is NASCAR’s Tow Truck Procedure Under Scrutiny?

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Joshua Lipowski

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On Sunday at Pocono Raceway, Joey Logano was involved in an accident on a restart to begin stage two at Pocono, but the story was more than just the accident – it was what followed the accident. Logano went on an expletive-filled rant after the safety crew waited to hook the car up, and the car was damaged as it was towed on four flat tires for two miles around the race track.

Joey Logano was not happy about it, understandably so. However, what can be done with NASCAR’s tow truck procedure, if anything at all? How far back does this issue with towing race cars back to the pits go?

The Issue with Towing Next-Gen Cars

The Next-Gen cars have been the subject of scrutiny for how they have reacted to simple spins. During the early portion of the 2022 season, cars would get stuck after getting flat tires for simple spins. The brand new tires on the Next-gen cars are a lower profile, and there is no inner-liner in the tire to allow for a buffer on a flat tire.

Typically, a tow truck or a push truck is what NASCAR uses to get cars that are damaged, but still could potentially be repaired back to pit road. They typically reserve the more extreme measures like rollbacks for the big accidents.

NASCAR implemented a new towing system for the 2022 season. The Next-Gen cars, however, are much lower to the ground. The new towing system began to damage the underbody of the race car, particularly the rear diffuser because one side of the car could not be picked up without dragging the underbody.

This issue at Pocono more revolved around the flat tires, and the inability for Logano to go because of them. What did he and NASCAR have to say about it?

What Joey Logano Had to Say

Joey Logano was very clear following the race that he is looking for NASCAR to make some changes to their towing procedure. He specifically suggested putting new tires on a tow truck so that cars would not get stuck on simply flat tires.

We’ve been fighting these cars for two years now with four flat tires when your car spins out, and you get this long, horrible ride back. It’s rough, and your head’s bouncing around.

Joey Logano

There is a legitimate question to be asked about whether or not Joey Logano could have continued the race under other circumstances. If the car was not in a position where it was forced to be damaged and towed back, then what could have possibly happened?

It is frustrating for drivers when the car is fine otherwise, but it will not go just because of the flat tires. Even the potential safety issues that arise from the beating that Logano says that he took with his head bouncing around in the car.

However, does Logano’s suggestion of having four tires put on a tow truck have any merit to it? NASCAR’s Vice President of Competition, Elton Sawyer, also gave some comments on the situation on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio

What Elton Sawyer Had to Say

Sawyer says that he spoke with Logano and that they both want to see the system be improved. This shows that NASCAR feels that the system needs an upgrade. However, Sawyer did mention Logano’s suggestion of tires and a jack on the safety vehicles.

I’m not saying that’s not on the table, but it’s pretty far down the priority list for the simple reason that, just fast forward to a superspeedway where we potentially could have multiple vehicles sitting there with four flat tires. What are we gonna do? Pull out the point standings and say, okay, go get the point leader first? Those things are just not practical in a way during the event to be able to recover those vehicles.

Elton Sawyer

Sawyer did mention that NASCAR is working on a solution, but he never mentions anything specific that NASCAR will be doing in the near future. He did mention ride height at one point as well, and about how he feels it’s more of an issue with the Next-Gen ride height than anything else.

It seems that NASCAR believes Logano’s solution is impractical, but they see the issue of towing the next-gen cars. Will things be done anytime soon? That remains a mystery.

Is there anything truly practical that NASCAR can do to make these cars more able to be towed back without damaging the car? The Next-Gen car is tough to tow just because of how low to the ground it is, so maybe NASCAR could look at forcing the car to have increased ride height?

It’s definitely a more complicated issue than meets the eye. It’s a difficult balance that NASCAR has to strike, but they are looking to fix the issue if they can in any way.

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Joshua Lipowski

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