Normally the phrase "Are you hot? Is reserved for some of the more seedy spots along Atlantic Avenue in Daytona Beach. Due to a change in NASCAR policy, it is now the buzz of the Winston Cup Garage area. The Budweiser Shootout at Daytona was the...
Normally the phrase "Are you hot? Is reserved for some of the more seedy spots along Atlantic Avenue in Daytona Beach. Due to a change in NASCAR policy, it is now the buzz of the Winston Cup Garage area.
The Budweiser Shootout at Daytona was the first test for NASCAR's new garage access policy.
Preliminary indications from fans and teams are that the system worked.
NASCAR, long known as the sport that allows fans to get up close to the drivers restricted access due to concerns for safety, and the growing problems with massive crowds.
In August 2002 a fan accused driver Tony Stewart of assault at an event in Bristol Tennessee. Stewart maintained he simply moved the fan out of the way in order to enter his transporter. The assault charges were found by a grand jury to have no merit, but the incident highlighted the concerns that something needed to be changed.
Hot credentials are issued to teams, members of the media, and any other person who has a "working " role at the track.
Cold passes are issued to guests of the team and the speedway.
Traditionally, each team is given thirty garage passes to distribute to sponsors, friends and family.
Each track has the right to issue passes in accordance with its own policy.
Dr Joseph Mattioli, owner of Pocono Raceway is supportive of the change. "We have always viewed the garage as a work area, and have never issued additional passes. Some tracks have been known to give them out in the hundreds."
Additional access can also be gained through the existence of a SEL (single event license). The SEL allows team to purchase additional passes.
As the popularity of the sport has grown, so has the utilization of the SEL.
With NASCAR's new policy, SEL, and non worker related passes are issued cold allowing fans a first hand glimpse of NASCAR behind the scenes without effecting the ability for teams to do their jobs.