Oval Office (NASCAR)
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The Oval Office is a nickname for the mobile command station used by officials of the NASCAR oval track racing series. The office, located in a trailer, travels from race to race. The office serves as the workplace for NASCAR officials including president Mike Helton, vice president for competition Scott Miller and Monster Energy Cup series director Richard Buck.
The term is taken from the better-known Oval Office, the office used by the President of the United States, and the oval shape of the 2004 Nextel Cup Series logo which is prominently displayed on the side of the trailer. The term was first used by Mike Joy in 2004 during the Subway 400 at the North Carolina Speedway, after Mark Martin and Pat Tryson were summoned after allegations that Martin was blocking Kasey Kahne late in the race in order to protect his teammate, Matt Kenseth.
Prior to that time, the command station had been known as the "Big Red Truck" for the Cup events or the "Big Blue Truck" for the Busch Series, because of the colors of the series' sponsors (Winston and Busch, respectively). NASCAR has since standardized their logos, so now the term can refer to the shape of the logos of any NASCAR series.
The Oval Office is the venue for meetings, usually just after a race (but sometimes during a race), where drivers and crew chiefs who have run afoul of NASCAR rules are brought in for consultation or notification of penalties. A driver who is in trouble for some sort of altercation, either on or off the track, is often quoted as saying that they have been "called into the Oval Office". Traditionally, the races at Bristol Motor Speedway are the ones where it is said the "line is busy" when numerous drivers and crew chiefs, and even general mechanics and spouses (Eva Busch and Nicole Biffle at the Samsung 500 in one instance), are requested to appear following fouls that take place during or after the race, including fights.
Commentator Larry McReynolds often refers to a "pardon from the Oval Office" when a driver receives a free pass (or "lucky dog"), which allows the first driver who is a lap or more behind the leaders to move up a lap when a caution flag comes out.
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