Ryan Blaney says the mounds of data to which NASCAR and the teams now have access is a good tool for someone wanting to get a fellow competitor in trouble.
Data, for instance, was used to help determine the circumstances surrounding Chase Elliott's intentional wreck at Charlotte that resulted in Elliott's suspension for Sunday's Enjoy Illinois 300 NASCAR Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill.
“It’s almost like tattle-telling to the principal, to be honest with you,” Blaney said. “I’m sure everyone’s gonna be, ‘Look what this guy did to me. Here’s his data. He was wide open and never lifted and turned right or turned left.’”
Blaney says it’s “super hard to go off of just data” when examining an incident.
“There’s other things and things happen really fast, and you don’t know the emotions of somebody … or if something is broken,” Blaney said. “I don’t think you can heavily rely on data. You can maybe look at that, but then you have to look at the situation. You have to watch videos of it. I think there are a lot more things going on. I don’t think you need to get to into that stuff. You know when you get wrecked.”
Blaney said he would be more worried about his internet browser getting leaked than his data.
LaJoie Finishes 21st Sub Role
Corey LaJoie, substituting for a suspended Chase Elliott, avoided several accidents in Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300 to produce a 21st-place finish in the overtime event at World Wide Technology Raceway.
LaJoie started 30th after hitting the wall during qualifying. He fluctuated between the 24th and 28th positions throughout the race that had three red flags. The first was for a lightning delay that lasted 1 hour 45 minutes. The second was to clean debris from the track, while the third was to repair the SAFER barrier in turn one.
Elliott returns to his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at Sonoma Raceway. LaJoie will go back to his No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet for the California event.
Broken Brake Rotors Sideline 4 Drivers
Noah Gragson, Carson Hocevar and 23XI Racing drivers Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick were victims of broken brake rotors during Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway.
Hocevar, who made his NASCAR Cup debut in the Spire Motorsports Chevrolet normally driven by Corey LaJoie, completed 91 laps before a brake rotor on his car snapped as he entered turn one. Hocevar, who noted during his interview that he doesn’t have a job for next year, ran as high as 16th before the part failed and he had to settle for a last place finish in the 36-car field.
Reddick led four laps in the overtime event won by Kyle Busch before his Toyota lost a brake rotor as he entered the first turn.
“I had a bad feeling that was coming soon,” said Reddick, who finished 35th. “I was just getting ready to have to back off with how soft the brakes got, but I, obviously, should have been thinking about that a lap or two sooner.”
The third brake rotor that broke sent Gragson’s Chevrolet slamming into the wall. It relegated him to a 33rd-place finish.
“That was a hard ass hit,” Gragson said. “I … hit the brakes into (turn) one, and the car sat down. I blew the left-front brake rotor out of it. I tried to hook it through the infield. I’ve seen guys do it at Pocono and, obviously, that was the wrong thing to do, but it was either that or go head-on into the fence. I tried to scrub a little bit of speed … it was definitely a hard ass hit.”
Wallace was on the verge of his fourth straight top-10 finish when with four laps remaining in the scheduled 240-lap race, a brake rotor failed. He finished 30th.
Michael McDowell noted the track has “really hard braking and really strong straightaways.”
“So, you’re heating and cooling, and a lot of times that creates fractures and those cracks sometimes explode,” McDowell said. “I think that’s what you saw today. I’m not an engineer, but typically, too much tape on the grill will get them hot and then too cold.”
The vendor supplying the brake systems for the current Cup car is AP Racing Limited, which is described as the leading manufacturer of performance brake and clutch systems for road and race cars. The front brake rotors are 15 inches and the rear brake rotors are 14 inches.
Two Crew Members Suffer Injuries
Two tire changers were injured in separate accidents Sunday during the Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway.
Thomas Hatcher, the front tire changer for Erik Jones, was transported to a local hospital after being injured during a pit stop that occurred in the sixth caution period. Reports said Hatcher and tire carrier Matt Hermanson became entangled and Hatcher went down as Jones slid his Chevrolet to a stop. A crew member from Tyler Reddick’s team stepped in for Hatcher for the rest of the race.
A.J. Rosini, front tire changer for Denny Hamlin, lost part of his canine tooth and received eight to 12 stitches in his lip after an air regulator broke and the hose hit him in the face. Rosini resumed his duties after being treated at the infield care center during the event’s first of three red flags.