Scott Miller, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition, appeared on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on September 20 and addressed multiple topics. He said that NASCAR had a meeting with representatives from Goodyear to discuss the tire issues. Miller then indicated that they are still learning about the Next Gen cars while directly responding to Truex and Kevin Harvick referring to some “crappy parts.”
“Bristol is definitely a unique load case, and some things cropped up with the steering that weren’t expected,” Miller said, transcript courtesy of NASCAR Media. “But honestly, no excuse, but, you know, with the newness of this car and the newness of everything, I think that it’s not acceptable to have problems, but it’s probably part of the learning process for us all.
“All the teams and OEMs were involved in the RFP (request for proposal) process when we chose the parts so, everybody’s got a stake in this, and it’s not just NASCAR choosing quote-unquote crappy parts.”
2 Issues Disrupted Truex’s Past 3 Races
The season has not been particularly enjoyable for Truex. He has been statistically solid with another 13 top-10 finishes and four top-fives, but he has gone winless for a variety of reasons.
The past three races, in particular, have resulted in DNFs. Truex was in a prime position to win at Darlington Raceway and add a Crown Jewel to his collection, but a water pump issue ended his day. Two weeks later, a power steering problem ended his day at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“Yeah, it blew the seal out and pushed all the fluid out on the right front tire,” Truex told NBC Sports after his early exit from the Bristol race. “Just unbelievable. What’d [Kevin] Harvick say? Crappy parts.”
The “crappy parts” comments reference an interview that Harvick did after a fire ended his race at Darlington. The driver of the No. 4 said that “crappy parts” had caused the blaze, and he made pointed comments about the Next Gen era.
“I’m sure it’s just the crappy parts on the race car like we’ve seen so many times,” Harvick told NBC Sports. “We haven’t fixed anything. It’s kind of like the safety stuff. We let it keep going and keep going.”
“What a disaster, man,” Harvick added. “For no reason. We didn’t touch the wall, we didn’t touch the car, and here we are in the pits with a burned-up car, and we can’t finish the race during the playoffs because of crappy a** parts.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Had a Different Takeaway
The tire failures and mechanical issues were not ideal for the teams, drivers, or NASCAR. They created a different storyline other than the battles happening on the short track. However, one of the analysts saw some positives in the situation.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. provided perspective during the September 21 episode of his podcast, “The Dale Jr. Download.” He explained that there was not a lot of action on the track, especially with a lack of tire falloff. He specifically mentioned that the bigger, wider tires and an “IMSA-style setup” for the Cup Series cars were a bad choice.
“Unfortunately, like these tire issues that we had in the Cup race — air pressure related, camber and caster setting related — that’s not a Goodyear problem,” Earnhardt said. “Those things and the rack issues, that saved the race. Had we not had those problems — as ugly as they were. They too are a point of criticism. If those hadn’t happened, that would have been a difficult race to sell.
“You know, if you do fix the racks, and we don’t have rack and pinion issues, and the teams come back and understand a little bit better on what settings won’t blow the right-front tire, then we’ve got a problem. Then we’ve got a race where everyone is running the same speed and nobody can get around each other because they’re all the same.”