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Musings From The Desk of an Official: Techanical Inspection

LONG POND, PA - JULY 25:  A detail of the technical inspection templates in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Pennsylvania 500 on July 25, 2003 at the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Danny H.Contributor IApril 11, 2010

A lot of people just see the races and think that's all that goes on - though there is more beneath the surface.

Since the beginning of 2004, I have been working my way up through the ranks as a technical official. The basic job? Make sure that every car is legal and follows the rules.

Due to certain content to possibly come out through my musings once we get into May, I won't say where I've got or any exact names - though I will say that it has been interesting to say the least.

Technical Inspection doesn't go as smoothly as some may make it look. At times, it can be a challenge by someone who challenges you're ruling, whether that be the driver or a higher up official.

Though it does come with it's rewards because at the end of the day, you know you had a key part in making sure the game was played fair.

I had two reasons in getting involved as a technical inspector - 1) to be around the cars but 2) to keep pairity going.

It can sometimes be an annoying process to drivers and teams, but at the end of the day, don't you want to be credited with winning the right way?

My weekend job entitles checking the cars when they get to the track - height, weight and some other key rules (nothing like NASCAR's complete tech inspection pre-race and post). If the car passes those rules, they get to race.

Following the heats and then the feature, same process applies. Only time it's broken is if another driver challenges another in saying their cheating. However, not just anybody can step up.

That became a problem as people would say it for the sake of saying it or out of jealousy. Now you have to put up so much money - part of that money goes to the tech crew, though part of it can go back to your pocket or the pocket of the person you challenged. If you're correct and tech staff find something illegal, you get your money back. However if you're right, then the driver you challenged gets the money.

Tech inspectors get critizied a lot as sometimes they're claimed to be playing favourites (someone said that against me) or they're being too harsh.

However, there's a certain intregrity that I personally hold myself up to by making sure I never let my own personal favourites get in the way of a call. If the driver is my favourite and I want to them win however their a couple inches under in height, I got to make the call and say they're illegal. 

There's a piece of advice that I often tell others who come up to me and ask me about that - imagine if you were that driver, imagine if you were the driver whose competiting against the driver your checking. Wouldn't you, as a driver, want the tech inspector to be fair?

So the next time you think of a tech official, think of some of these thoughts before you really say too much.

Just my two cents.   

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