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Random Lugnuts: Tony Stewart, Russ Wicks and Rolling Debris

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Tony Stewart
What is Random Lugnuts?  It's random bits of stock car racing commentary written on an irregular basis by an irregular racing fan.  The name is a reference to the lugnuts that go flying off a car during a pit stop:  you never know where they are going to go, what they're going to do when they get there, they can be annoying, they're often useless after a race, and every once in a while someone gets hit and they don't know exactly where it came from.
Opinions expressed by Bill Crittenden are not official policies or positions of The Crittenden Automotive Library. You can read more about the Library's goals, mission, policies, and operations on the About Us page.

Random Lugnuts: Tony Stewart, Russ Wicks and Rolling Debris

Bill Crittenden
January 19, 2008

Tech Inspection

I remember about this time last year, thinking the Toyotas wouldn't be doing so well. It wasn't about the Toyota Camrys themselves, it was about the new Michael Waltrip Racing cup effort, the all-new Red Bull team and the recently struggling Bill Davis Racing trying to compete on the level of Hendrick, Childress, Roush and Evernham.

I thought that this year would be better. Especially if they could get Roger Penske or Chip Ganassi to switch manufacturers. Those guys race Hondas in the IRL, and Penske fields cars with Porsche engines in sports car racing. They're not known for their brand loyalty (not like "Mr. Chevrolet," Dale Earnhardt Jr.), their one true loyalty is to winning, no matter whose car gets them there. I would have expected one of them to be the first major team to switch to Toyota. I never in my wildest dreams last year hoped to say Tony Stewart's Home Depot Camry this year. I had to replay the video of it several times just to make sure I was really seeing it.

Nor did I ever expect to see that NASCAR's cumulative list of single-car speeds from all the test sessions would have the top six be Dale Earnhardt Jr. being chased by 5 Toyotas representing 4 Toyota teams.

Of course, a lot changes in racing conditions. But right now, I have a lot more hope for this season than last, where the best action was at the press conference tables.

Opening Lap

Okay, you may have noticed this article's in a new location. I just wanted to try something new this week and post it where you can reply to me where anybody can see. Feel free to register with the Forum here and reply!

Fastest Lap

Move over Bill Elliott, Russ Wicks sets the record for fastest lap in a NASCAR race car at 244.9 mph in a Dodge Charger. OK, not quite the same, as Russ didn't have corners to contend with, his "lap" was a Bonneville Salt Flats test.



The F1 record was set in a Honda at 397.481kph, about 247 miles per hour. So the NASCAR came within 3mph of the F1 speed record.

Of course, the F1 cars accelerate, brake and corner better than a NASCAR Charger, but then you can't rub fenders in a F1 Honda. Which is why I watch NASCAR a whole heck of a lot more.

But knowing a full-bodied NASCAR racer is capable of almost the same top speed is definitely interesting, and with all the old hardware obsolete now, I wonder if someone else will take a shot at the record, and to try and beat the Honda. After all, the Honda test was done by BAR-Honda, the actual F1 team, while some dude named Russ made almost the same speed in a castoff Dodge.

The Press Booth

Speaking of F1, the commentators have this rather unfriendly thing they call slower traffic: rolling chicanes. I think it's kind of funny, if a bit mean, but it doesn't apply to NASCAR as only two tracks on the circuit have chicanes. Then it dawned on me this offseason: ROLLING DEBRIS!!! Lapped traffic can be called rolling debris!

I'd just like to hear that once on TV. I'd even settle for radio.

Victory Lane

Tony Stewart got to drive an old-car Home Depot Monte Carlo onto a very different Victory Lane yesterday. He auctioned off one of his race-winning cars at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car auction, then threw in a driver's suit, helmet and ring.

The car won the 2006 Banquet 400 (Kansas), 2006 Bass Pro Shops 500 (Atlanta), and the 2006 Dickies 500 (Texas). All proceeds from the $300,000 sale went to the Darrell Gwynn Foundation.

Of course, in pure Tony Stewart fashion, a burnout preceded the drive to the stage.


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