In March 2004 Sinbad jumped out of the SUV of his handler, Scott Edmonds, and went to work. The 10-year-old Belgian Malinois is coming out of retirement from his work as a bomb-sniffing dog to help the track. He has an official "hard card" identification (No. K9-1) and is a fixture in the pit area.
The idea came from Ed Branch, who runs the tire program at the track. Branch contacted Interquest Detection Canines in Pasadena after theorizing that if dogs can sniff out bombs, drugs, and other illicit materials, they might also be able to detect illegal tires. Edmonds confirmed that it could be done, and Sinbad was selected for the task. The dog went through countless training sessions to differentiate between official and illegal tires. Tests were conducted on hot afternoons and cool nights. Sinbad's final exam grade was 100 percent.
On the night of his first visit to the track's inspection line, Sinbad sat at three cars and followed that with a post-race sitting. After track officials visited the teams, there were assorted confessions of illegal activity. Sinbad's record is intact.
Racers may not consider him man's best friend, but his nose knows when something is amiss. Like all tech officials, who usually work like a dog on race nights, he's just doing his job.-Larry Jewett