Commentary

Edwards plans to attend Tuesday appeal hearing

Talladega notebook

Updated: October 5, 2007, 7:30 PM ET
By Terry Blount and David Newton | ESPN.com

ROUSH FENWAY'S APPEAL HEARING

TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Roush Fenway Racing will have its appeal hearing Tuesday in front of a three-person panel of the National Stock Car Racing Commission.

JJ: BOWYER ROBBED AT KANSAS

Jimmie Johnson
Johnson

Having a few days to think about it didn't change Jimmie Johnson's opinion about the end of the LifeLock 400 Sunday at Kansas Speedway.

Johnson still believes Clint Bowyer should have been declared the winner when he crossed the finish line, under caution, ahead of Greg Biffle.

Biffle was running out of fuel and slowed down on the apron of the track as he headed for the checkered flag. NASCAR officials ruled Biffle maintained a reasonable pace, and the field was frozen when the caution came out.

"I can't say I better understand the ruling," Johnson said Friday. "Where is the cutoff point [on reasonable speed] and where do you start losing positions? Nothing against Greg or that team, but if you run out of gas, you run out of gas. I think it was a bad call."

-- Terry Blount

NO PLATE CHANGES

NASCAR officials don't anticipate a last-minute change in the size of the restrictor plate hole before Saturday's qualifying or Sunday's Cup race.

Tony Stewart topped both practices, registering a speed of 194.959 mph in the first session and 194.054 mph in the second. Officials said that was well within the range to keep racing safe.

-- David Newton

UPSIDE-DOWN EFFECT

Some in the garage are concerned that the Car of Tomorrow is more likely to flip on its roof under the high speeds at Talladega than the previous car because of the body design and rear wing, particularly if the car gets turned around backward.

Bowyer, who finished upside down at Daytona to start the season, doesn't want to hear it.

"I was listening to [that being talked about] on SPEED Channel, and I just said, 'Lah, lah, lah, lah,'" he said. "I don't want to hear about that. I don't plan on being backwards and darn sure don't plan on being upside down again."

-- David Newton

Carl Edwards was penalized 25 points after winning two weeks ago at Dover when a postrace inspection showed the rear quarter panel on his No. 99 Ford was too low.

Edwards plans to attend the hearing with Roush Fenway Racing president Geoff Smith.

"If I go, maybe I can learn something about the process," Edwards said. "And I still believe we have a good case to get some relief."

NASCAR officials admit the lower height of the car was not an advantage, but a rule is a rule. That isn't the argument for team officials.

Smith and team co-owner Jack Roush have argued that the points penalty should be reduced from 25 points to 10 during the Chase because fewer points are available for the Chase competitors.

-- Terry Blount

HAMLIN PARKED AT HAPPY HOUR

NASCAR officials parked Denny Hamlin for the first 15 minutes of Happy Hour on Friday because of aggressive driving in the morning practice session.

The penalty led Hamlin's team to skip the final practice altogether and keep the car out of harm's way.

"There were just so many close calls out there that we don't need to risk our car," Hamlin said. "We feel we have a good car, a car that can qualify well and race well.

"Really, it's hard to distinguish any changes that we're making. We're making huge changes, and I'm not noticing any real difference. When the car looks its best, let's quit, and it looked best there at the end [of the first practice]."

Jeff Gordon said he was a victim of Hamlin's aggressive style in the first practice.

"He got into the back of me, maybe a little harder than it should have been," Gordon said. "But that's kind of the situation we're in."

Gordon wasn't sure whether Hamlin deserved his punishment, but he said aggressive driving in the race Sunday deserves a stiff penalty.

"If we think all they're going to do is warn us, then it's going to happen,'' Gordon said. "If they're going to park you, give a 10-lap penalty, then that changes things a lot."

-- David Newton

BOBBY ALLISON'S TAKE

Former Cup champion Bobby Allison is the reason NASCAR has restrictor plates at Talladega. His car got airborne and almost went into the stands in a 1987 crash.

That incident convinced NASCAR officials they had to slow the cars down by adding the plates to reduce horsepower at Talladega and Daytona.

"It's the best thing with the worst reputation that NASCAR has ever done," Allison said Friday. "If not, people 40 rows into the grandstand would be dodging race cars."

But Allison would like to see NASCAR make a major change to eliminate the need for restrictor plates.

"I'd like to see them use a smaller engine with fuel injection on it," Allison said. "The racing would be the same, but the cars would have little more throttle response."

-- Terry Blount

NASCAR CAMO GEAR?

You don't have to look far to find camouflage gear around the campgrounds of Talladega Superspeedway.

Now you can have it in licensed gear.

Motorsports Authentics and Realtree Camouflage reached an agreement this past week to market patterns for all NASCAR and racing-related products.

"Racing fans have been asking for more camo-patterned NASCAR products, so they're going to get it," said Mark Dyer, the president and CEO of Motorsports Authentics.

-- David Newton

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

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