Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Gibbs Issue Frustrating TV Networks
NASCAR has announced the fines, Joe Gibbs has offered his response and the stories have all been published. But for the TV guys, some loose-ends are still waiting to be tied-up where "magnet-gate" is concerned.
Wednesday on NASCAR Now reporter Marty Smith spoke directly with Gibbs but left the outstanding issues still on the table. Gibbs politely declined to fill-in the details of who did it or how they got it done.
Ryan Burr will be handling NASCAR Now this week and Steve Byrnes and the SPEED crew will be returning on Friday for practice and qualifying coverage.
Chasing this issue has become a TV item since several ESPN commentators speculated that perhaps the drivers participated in the placement of the washers/magnets in the Nationwide Series cars after the race. That drew a strong reaction from Stewart on his Sirius radio show and a "no comment" from Logano's camp.
The Gibbs response has been consistent in saying that a very small group of employees were at fault for this incident. They were also very definite in their insistence that neither driver was involved and the incident took place after the drivers had exited the vehicles. In fact, JGR is going to appeal the sanctions imposed on the two drivers in question.
Dale Jarrett on Wednesday said on ESPN2 that he did not believe the drivers were involved, but could not offer any additional information. The reason is that none is available. Visions of a rogue crew member diving head-first into the two vehicles to stick a magnet on the firewall are swirling on the Internet.
Stewart offered the opinion that anyone trying to reach that spot with the cars configured for MIS would have to be lowered in head-first and it would still not be easy. His main point was that the effort made no sense since other Toyota's were being put on the dyno as well. He seemed mildly amused by the incident, but upset once again with ESPN specifically using his name when trying to assign blame.
As both ESPN2 and SPEED continue to follow this story, the specifics are bound to eventually emerge. For now, it seems to be a mystery as how crew members were allowed inside a vehicle headed for the dyno and given access to the throttle cable.
SPEED will be on-the-air from 10AM through 7:30PM on Friday and NASCAR Now is seen every day on ESPN2. Sooner or later, "magnet-gate" will be explained to the fans.
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