Thursday, March 12, 2009

Where Is The Real Tiregate Video?

Fan favorite and ESPN pit road analyst DJ Copp appeared on the late night Monday version of NASCAR Now. Host Allen Bestwick ran him through the scenario that found Copp right in the middle of the pit road tire incident from Sunday that changed the complexion of the event.

Copp is a tire changer for the #47 team of Marcos Ambrose and was actively involved in the pit stop that set all the chaos into motion. Over the past two seasons, it has been the plain-spoken Copp who is often the voice of reason when pit road incidents are being discussed on the program.

On Monday, Copp made several effective and simple points. Ambrose stopped a bit short in his pit box, which caused the rear tire to cross-over into Paul Menard's pit box after it was removed and rolled toward the wall. Copp reinforced that it was the Ambrose crew chief who alerted the team to the fact that a tire had come loose and asked them to go retrieve it.

The interesting part of Copp's interview was his statement that a Menard crew member had taken the slightly wayward Ambrose tire and purposefully rolled it out onto pit road. His suggestion was that rising tension between the crews during the race had resulted in this action.

From a TV perspective, all of this leads to a very simple question. Keeping Copp's statement in mind, where is the video of the incident? The single replay offered by Fox at that moment simply showed the tire rolling and then the crew member appeared running to retrieve it. Somewhere, there is much more.

As veteran fans know, in addition to the more than seventy TV cameras aimed at the race track from every different angle, each team records their pit stops for training purposes. This type of video has been used countless times in all kinds of NASCAR TV shows.

There is also a blimp or helicopter flying over all of the Sprint Cup Series races and providing a great overhead view of pit road, especially during pit stops. Finally, the NASCAR Media Group has additional hand-held cameras on pit road. Fans may remember one of them being involved in a little pit road incident last season.

From all these different and diverse video sources, somewhere there has to be a little better accounting of what really happened on pit road Sunday afternoon. While NASCAR has chosen to penalize the Ambrose crew member and the crew chief, perhaps as the late Paul Harvey would say, we should stay tuned for the rest of the story.

It should be interesting to see if it is ESPN, SPEED or NASCAR itself that finally comes up with the video that can back-up the statement from Copp and others that the reality of what actually happened does not quite match-up completely with the penalties NASCAR imposed.

Fans present at Atlanta who may have been shooting video during the pit stops should check their cameras, perhaps it may be a fan who can provide the information to finally set the record straight.

Eventually, the Menard team's potential interference and purposeful disgregard for safety on pit road will either be proven true or false. It might just be one little piece of video that tells the tale.

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Thanks again for reading The Daly Planet.


Anonymous said...

hmm this is very interesting. i wonder how severe a penalty would be enforced on the menard crew if indeed this is true. and youre right JD theres so many cameras out there this had to have been caught on tape. theres probably 3-4
angles of it too.

Dot said...

I think there is more to this story also. A little too sketchy.
Is it too late for the 98 team to get in trouble if the allegation is true? Is someone investigating?

Will we ever know?

Anonymous said...

Add me to the curious list, too.

If Copp believes that the 98 team intentionally pushed that tire onto the track, why wasn't this made known to NASCAR (or to us) Sunday afternoon?

Dot, I'm guessing that the Watts penalty would stand anyway, but perhaps the 98 team would face probation if they intentionally did that. If NASCAR investigates and finds it true, that would definitely violate the "action detrimental to racing" rule (12-4).

On a side note, I also don't believe NASCAR when they claim that they would have waited for pit stops to complete before throwing the caution for that tire. As close as it was to the track, that flag would've been flying anyway.

Anonymous said...

I do hope there is video out there on this. This information is very disturbing.

I also wonder what they would do to those on the 98 if it does appear (or some other compelling evidence) as far as punishments and such.

Tiregate indeed

Sophia said...

WOW! I have been out of the loop and was stunned to hear of this story. INDEED, NOBODY in the Fox booth or on PRN radio mentioned this?

I find this suspicious that Watts is getting all the blame though if it was another teams fault.

Guess we will have to stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

I thought Nascar was pretty light on the penalty..If the 98 team did indeed create this problem..Nascar will deal with them!! However! This guy was within 70 feet of the race track!!If someone had spun into the infield,maybe even a multible car crash,It would have been a disaster for nascar as a whole!Im just glad he got back to the infield ok!!

Anonymous said...

The teams tape their pit stops. You see them watching them after pit stops to see what went wrong.

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Vicky D said...

I wonder what the 47 team has on their tape of this pit stop to prove one way or the other about the tire. Maybe we'll hear something soon on this. I heard Copp mention this on Monday and was very surpised. I don't think Watts should take the whole blame I bet he had the crewchief hollering in his earpice to get the tire.

Anonymous said...

It's not necessarily what the 47 has on tape, it's what the 98 has on tape. The pit cameras that the teams use really only cover their assigned pit stall (unless someone is there to change what is recorded). The camera from the 98 team surely would have picked up what happened, if they had it set up to tape all the way to the pit wall.

GinaV24 said...

well,that certainly adds a new wrinkle to this story. Although I still think the crew guy running that far after the tire was so obviously a dumb idea and therefore the penalty should still stand, if another team deliberately sent that tire rolling out, they should share the blame and whatever penalty would be involved.

Anonymous said...

If indeed there is no video of the incident, it really goes to show how the TV coverage is biased towards the big names, doesn't it? It looks like all the network cameras were focused on the big names and no one seemed to care about the rest of the pack.

That being said, it does seem that there should be some crew video from the teams, though.

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Anonymous said...

If this action by the Menard crew member was on tape, that tape has long been deleted,destroyed or locked away never to be seen again. With such evidence daming their crew member, they would have disposed of it as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

I am very suspicious of what Copp said. First of all, the punishment of the crew members should stand. Of all the foolish stunts to run within yards of cars racing at 150 plus mph. Also, there is heard someone yelling to go after the tire.

The other thing is that apparently tensions were a bit tense already. If in fact someone on the 98 had rolled the tire, I believe that there would have been an instant fight, right then and there.

Not only that, there were 2 officials a few feet from the site of the "incident".

I find it pathetic that Copp would raise suspicion on another team, with no proof, no witness, etc.

Why doesn't Copp tell us which one in his team, did not roll the tire 1/2 way to the wall, and which team member did not "catch" the tire?

I think the 98 guys are innocent until proven guilty and I think it's a black mark to accuse anyone without proof.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the 98 crew's overhead camera video, if there is any, is going to appear anyplace.

Why in the world would anyone make it available it if incriminates the team?

In fact, it may already have been erased.

Anonymous said...

I wish I hadn't deleted this on my Tivo; one of my nephews claims that the NASCAR official in the pit can be seen pointing to the rolling tire as if telling the crew to retrieve it, and that's when Watts ran after it. It may just have been the hand signal the pit officials use to indicate a penalty, but it still could have contributed to the issue...and I'd really like to see some replays!

Anonymous said...

WOW! I have been out of the loop and was stunned to hear of this story. INDEED, NOBODY in the Fox booth or on PRN radio mentioned this?

They would have had to have been watching the 47's pit to see it happen, and I doubt they were.

Anonymous said...

Is Copp the rear tire changer? If he is, how conveient to blame someone else.

How can a tire just "roll" over to the next pit. The tire is to be held and directed to the wall gang. What happened to the wall guy who was to get the tire? Why is he quiet? How come Watts did not plead his case to the official that someone else was the blame?

E-Ticket said...

There where several people that said this on TMD on Sirius this week. They where quickly dismissed by the two "Hosts" (I use that term lightly) on the show. But it was amazing several people would call in with the same account as you independently.. I guess what happens on Pit Road stays on Pit road.. Normal NASCAR BS

Anonymous said...

DJ is listed as the front tire changer.

The tire needs to be in contact with a crew member ONLY to half-way inside the pit box, then it can be rolled.

Anonymous said...

Your comment on video probably being available "somewhere" is no doubt a valid one; but there's no need to make this an anything-gate. Here's the bottom line: It's the responsibility of the team executing the pit stop to maintain control of its equipment, which includes tires. If, as D.J. said, Ambrose stopped short in his box, and in executing their stop the 47 crew lost control of the tire, and it got in the way of the 98's crew, they were totally in their right to swat it out of the way. If that meant it went into pit wall, into the 47 car or back out on pit road, it was still the 47 team's responsibility to maintain control of its equipment. They received an immediate tail-end-of-the-longest-line penalty for that, and Jimmy Watts was penalized for his indiscretion. To Watts' credit, his heart was in the right place and look (at the TV video) this way -- the guy's a professional and during the entire time he was at risk, he was looking in the direction of oncoming traffic, which indicates he was thinking about what he was doing the entire time; even if he didn't think about whether or not he should have been there. And think about this last word on whether and when a caution would have flown for a tire sitting in the middle of "No Man's Land." Debris on the apron, where someone may drive if they're having a problem and trying to get back to the pits, is a valid reason for a caution; but debris in the middle of an area in which, if you were there you'd already be wreckin', is the reason fans complain about too many caution flags.

Anonymous said...

How can a tire just "roll" over to the next pit. The tire is to be held and directed to the wall gang. What happened to the wall guy who was to get the tire? Why is he quiet? How come Watts did not plead his case to the official that someone else was the blame?

Have you never been to a race or seen one? Tires frequently "just roll" away. It happens a lot. Usually, someone lets go of the tire while they are still swinging it and it just continues moving. Yes, it is supposed to be held, but that does not always happen.

Why is he quiet? Maybe because he doesn't want to be blamed or penalized!

No one made Watts run into the infield, so no one else is to blame. Besides, you don't know that he DIDN'T blame someone else anyway when he spoke with NASCAR.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I certainly do not disagree with you on this, just would be interested to see what exists on video to tell the tale.


Anonymous said...

I guess what happens on Pit Road stays on Pit road.. Normal NASCAR BS

Yeah, anything anyone doesn't like, well, then it's a cover-up.

Because this couldn't possibly be just a mistake...oh, no it must be a conspiracy!

Here come the NASCAR helicopters to take you away!

Anonymous said...

Why does it take til midweek and a comment from a 47 crew member to finally get "some idea" on what happened on that 47 pit stop ??

One of my beefs the last couple seasons is that the networks will be lazy in following along and reporting on an issue that effects the very race they are there to cover.

First of all, it falls on the Pit Producer to get someone ON this story.

Where was a FOX pit reporter ?
Talk to the Menard AND Ambrose teams. Get both opinions.

But do it DURING the race.

Thanks to ESPN for digging a little deeper and getting us the rest of the story.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of things we don't know, but there are some facts we do know.

FACT #1- The 47 team is owned by someone who works for ESPN

FACT #2 - The tire changer interviewed also works for ESPN.

FACT #4 - The interview on ESPN gave opportunity to said ESPN employees to voice accusations against team #98,

FACT #5 - No one from team 98 was interviewed.

FACT #6 No one from team 98 works for ESPN

Is there a conflict of interest with ESPN, NN, AB, Copp, etc? I guess we can let the facts speak for themselves.

Anonymous said...


I heard the account of the tire being rolled back across pit road by the 98 crewmember by a PRN pit road reporter (can't remember who) not long after the incident, but I then wondered why it wasn't brought up during the broadcast.

I originally had the impression by how it was worded by the reporter that the 98 crewmember knocked it away to avoid being hit by or running into it during their pit stop. It wasn't until Tuesday morning that I heard that it may have been intentional.

The portion of my mind that I save for conspiracy theories wonders if NASCAR is keeping the proof of it from being shown based on the possibility that it would appear that the official did send this guy after the tire (like JO suggested).

As for the camera angles, it has been a while since I have seen one (from the rare times the broadcasters have shown it), that the small portions of the pit boxes to the front and to the back are visable so to insure that the entire box is withing camera view.

Can't wait to hear more.

Unknown said...

"I find it pathetic that Copp would raise suspicion on another team, with no proof, no witness, etc."
Copp is an above board individual,dedicated to Nascar and the spirit of racing. I've never seen a harder working pit crew member at the races. Not to take anything away from others. He worked for EPSN for years because of this dedication and passion for racing and is not one to place blame for no good reason. He gives Nascar fans information to educate and keep us informed and it is my belief that he would not callout another team to raise suspicion. It would be like calling Marty Smith a liar. Does it really matter's done and over. If they find film to prove it, then fine, otherwise, let it go. But don't tarsh a good man's name

Anonymous said...

I don't buy that Copp is so good he would never do anything wrong!!! PLEEEZE. That's why they have officials, becasue they don't go by someone's reputation.

I don't buy that it's okay for him to trash somenone else's rep, either.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Copp a front tire changer? If he was doing his job, there is no way on earth he could have seen what happened. He has about 2+ seconds to do the left side and then run to the right side. While he was busy with his job is when the tire took off.

Dot said...

@ Anon 6:19pm, DJ C watched the replay of the pit stop.

I bet these teams don't pit next to each other in the future.

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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Dot, interesting that Copp saw a replay of the incident, and no one else can verify or show that in fact a 98 team member pushed the tire.

He just has biased opinions. Everyone is out to save their necks.

Read the title, Dot, there is NO TAPE!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:24PM,

Checked on that fact prior to posting. If there is an issue on which you can update me, please just email me directly.

Anon 9:29PM,

The question is what was my role back when ESPN was producing the races. If you would like any additional information or to ask a specific question, please just drop me an email anytime.



Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:56PM,

That really makes me wonder what the Ambrose pit stop tape shows.


Newracefan said...

Cobb said he was TOLD that the tire was knocked back on to pit road by the guys on the 98 team and he did not see it himself.

I also remember knowing Sunday that this was the rumor but I really don't remember where. Victory Lane, Wind Tunnel or Fox but I'm sure it was Sunday because I was talking to someone at work about it on Monday.

Newracefan said...

Oops meant to say the guys on the 47 team told him the guys on the 98 team knocked the tire back on to pit road. Sorry left out a few numbers the first time

Anonymous said...

Since #47 stopped back in his pitbox, His video wouldn't have shown that area, the car would have blocked the view. #98's footage would have shown it, but it hasn't been made available. Really folks, in green-flag stops, which media rep. would be watching the action in those guys pitboxes? I reserve judgement until someone talks to the #98 team. And the links to ESPN, who's got a penchant for blowing horns to get attention, is suspicious at best.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that there seems to be so many video sources, yet not one has surfaced yet. DJ Cobb made this accusation right after the race, and yet there is still no video shown? Sorry, I don't buy into the Vast NASCAR Conspiracy theory.

This whole deal sounds more like someone who is trying to deflect blame, and has the forum to make the accusations sound credible.

But then again, ESPN has been known to inflate stories far beyond their true value.