When the checkered flag fell at Jukasa Motor Speedway (ON) for the second running of the Canadian Short Track Nationals, it appeared Eddie MacDonald would leave with second-place honors after losing out on a late-race duel with Bubba Pollard for the win.
Instead, MacDonald was disqualified in post-race technical inspection for an ignition box violation. On Speed51’s “The Morning Bullring” Tuesday, technical director Ricky Brooks explained the disqualification, which revolved around the rev limiter on MacDonald’s entry.
“When I got to the 17 car [of MacDonald], he buzzed too much, so we pulled the sticker off. Some of the boxes are already sealed from APC. I used the APC seals to stick over their dials in qualifying tech. We did not buzz or check all the boxes, we just sealed them up. Teams presented their car, and we wouldn’t allow them to change it after qualifying. They had theirs set at 6,900. The rule was 6,400, so that’s where it went.”
According to the procedures and purse breakdown posted on Jukasa Motor Speedway’s website for the event, second-place paid $35,000 (CAD) for the $75,000-to-win race. Instead, MacDonald left with last-place pay of $3,500.
After Monday’s race, MacDonald chalked up the discrepancy to a misunderstanding. He and his team were under the impression the ignition box had been dialed to the proper setting by the inspection team prior to being sealed for qualifying.
“He had put a seal on or something,” MacDonald said. “We were under the impression he adjusted it and put the seal on it. He didn’t adjust it and put the seal on it. It’s unfortunate. We had a good run. We knew the inspection would be a learning curve. They do things a lot different than we’re used to, so we’ve just got to figure that out and come back.”
Brooks confirmed MacDonald’s version of the misunderstanding, and added that MacDonald’s care owner, Dave Lemieux, apologized to him on Monday evening.
“They thought I had set the RPM when I put the seal over it, and I explained to them that wasn’t the case,” said Brooks. “The owner came up to me afterwards. We had spoke before qualifying, but I didn’t know who he was at the time. I showed to him in the rulebook where the rule was 6,400. They could have elected at that time to tell me they needed to change gears and reset their box. The owner came up to me after the race and apologized for it.”
Despite MacDonald’s strong run and the ignition box discrepancy, Brooks acknowledged he had no reason to suspect an issue until he started inspecting the gear ratio on MacDonald’s entry.
“I could have sworn he was hitting the chip during the race,” Brooks said. “We pulled gears out of cars to see where everybody was at. With everybody at the same RPM, they should be pretty close in gear points. He was way different than everybody else. If that box had buzzed correctly, I would have been looking for a second box. There’s no way you can run that different of a gear and not have a different box in the car.”
While MacDonald was naturally disappointed with the disqualification, he left Jukasa optimistic that a good conversation with Brooks afterwards will lead to better communication about inspection procedures for next year’s Canadian Short Track Nationals.
“Nobody’s going to agree with that, but he agreed they need to do a little more pre-tech in the future so everyone understands what the deal is. Hopefully they’ll get it figured out for next year and everyone knows they are good.”
Fans who missed Tuesday’s episode of “The Morning Bullring” can click here to view an on-demand replay of the broadcast, which includes the complete interview with Brooks.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo