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Posted by on Jun 23, 2019 in Ask the Insiders, Nascar |

Ask The Insiders Wednesday #47

Oct 28th, 2009 by T.C.

Apparently everyone is in a question asking mood, because we have (I believe) the largest ATIW post ever.  So we’ll just get right to it.  If you don’t know what this post is, until further notice, we will be answering any and all reader questions every Wednesday, right here.  So if you’ve got one, click on the ”Ask the Insiders” tab at the top of the page and send one to us.  On to the questions…

1. From Patrick:

This popped up the other day when I was watching Happy Hour, the #38 team was having trouble with the placement of pedals, specifically the steering column rubbing against the brake. It got me to wondering, how closely – if at all – does NASCAR monitor seat placement? By moving the seat a few inches around it seems teams could change the cars balance. Is there a mandated location for the seat?

NASCAR mandates how the seats are built and also how they are mounted, but there really isn’t a whole lot in the rulebook about where the seat is mounted.  It would be tough for NASCAR to do, because every driver is a different size and they all have certain preferences for seat placement due to comfort. – T.C.

2. From Steve:

As to the difference between the 48 and the 24, during an episode of NASCAR Now, one of the panelists said a difference between Jimmy Johnson and Jeff Gordon is that Gordon steers (or maybe it was drives) with the steering wheel while Johnson prefers to use the gas pedal.  First, please explain the difference.  Second, why and when would there be an advantage to one style over the other?  Is there something about the COT that makes it more amenable to Johnson’s style?

Often times guys that came up on asphalt will do more with the wheel, and guys that came up on dirt will do more with the throttle.  On dirt, car control is based off throttle modulation because for so much of the track the car is in a slide.  Drivers can’t do a whole lot with the wheel in a slide.  These types of drivers who control the car with throttle are successful with the COT because the only way to be fast is to set the car up loose.  This certainly isn’t a rule, but it is very common. – T.C.

3. From Tom:

Hey guys, I’m a relatively new NASCAR fan watching from the UK. I was wondering if you could answer a quick question. I watch a lot of F1 and while the casual observer might think that the cars all look the same, they are actually all different and with different engines etc. How does this work in NASCAR…obviously there are different manufacturers, but it also seems like different teams using the same manufacturer have different cars. Is this correct? And what does the Car of Tomorrow actually mean?

First, there are some small differences between the cars, but not many.  The chassis for the COTs are all generally the same.  The bodies have some minor differences, and the engines differ between manufacturers.  Nobody uses different models within the same manufacturer.  The Dodge is a Charger, the Chevrolet an Impala, the Ford a Fusion, and the Toyota a Camry.  A few years back, Cup cars resembled what is currently used in the Nationwide Series.  After a few driver deaths, in order to improve safety, NASCAR redesigned the Cup cars and this new version is referred to as the COT (or Car of Tomorrow). – T.C.

4. From Thomas:

I just read an interview with Jimmie Spencer & Kyle Petty & they both blame the COT and it being so sensitive that a 1/8″ change will mess it up.  However, every week we hear Knaus talk about “we kept making changes till we got it better.”  How can #48 make all these changes & the others cannot?  I think it is because JJ wants a very loose car which gives them more leeway for changes. HHmmmmm!!!

They’re certainly a lot more sensitive, but there are a lot of different changes that can be made in different areas. Certainly Chad Knaus isn’t the only one playing with the car; everyone is doing it. He’s just having a little more success with it than other teams, so he and the #48 are the ones that get talked about.- Journo

5. From Barry:

Any news on where Bobby Labonte might end up next yr?
And, any news on the state of Motorsports Authentics? Will they stave off bankruptcy?

Bobby’s been rumored to TRG and EGR. TRG has actually expressed interest in him, and I do know he was talked about for the #1 car. I don’t think the #1 car is as likely as TRG though. As far Motorsports Authentics goes, I haven’t heard anything more since their SEC filing a couple of weeks ago. They’re in trouble whatever the case. With NASCAR looking to combine licensing efforts, it’ll be interesting to see what happens there. – Journo

6. From Savannah:

Hey guys!  How closely does NASCAR monitor the driving history & violations of drivers off the track?  Can a driver face disciplinary action by NASCAR if they have too many speeding tickets?  In the recent Michael Waltrip accident, the police reported alcohol was a contributing factor in the wreck, although Waltrip was barely under  the legal limit.  Would NASCAR force him into rehab since this does cause some embarrassment for the sport (and it is not his first accident- the telephone pole incident of 2007)?  Driving drunk or buzzed is something that is totally avoidable and just plain stupid, especially when you are a high profile person.   Kurt Busch was sidelined by Roush for just being issued a ticket.  I can’t wait to hear what excuse Waltrip’s camp will issue after this latest incident.  I hope that all drivers will take notice and be sure to have a sober driver behind the wheel after they have been partying/drinking/ carousing.

I can’t think off the top of my head of a situation where this has happened, but I would guess NASCAR would be inclined to dole out a penalty if a driver were legally drunk and driving. Remember Waltrip was within the law. In the situation of Kurt Busch the incident occurred at the end of the season, one in which Kurt was jumping ship and he was not well liked around Roush. It wasn’t a difficult decision for them to suspend him for the remainder of the season. Obviously I contradict myself because NASCAR didn’t do anything with Kurt Busch, but I would guess they could slap a driver with “actions detrimental” if they wanted. I agree with you though, this situation should be an eye-opener. – Journo

7. From Tom:

Why do the NNS cars look so jacked up on one side when looking at them from the rear?

It’s the way the bodies are hung on them.  In order to take full advantage of the aerodynamics of the cars and the spoilers, the teams twist the bodies.  That way, when the cars are in the corner, they are getting maximum downforce, and hopefully maximum grip.  I’m not an aerodynamics expert, but the idea is to get the spoiler as far out into the air as possible when the car is in yaw. – T.C.

8. From Woogeroo:

Howdy folks.  At each race weekend, is the same pace car used?  Does each series have it’s own or is it a track by track deal the track operators have with whatever manufacturer?

It depends on the contract the track has. For instance Martinsville is a Toyota track while I believe Homestead is a Ford track. – Journo

9. From Marc:

With Silly Season in full swing, I am trying to get a handle on who controls the points in some of the top-35-points-related team “mergers” from this past year.  I assume, for example, that Penske will keep control the points of the 77 team, having “acquired” the 2008 points from Bill Davis and his old 22 team.  And, Childress will keep the points from the 33 (which got the 2008 points of the old 01 team).  But, what about the 34 team?  Will Front Row Motorsports keep the points for the team or do they go back to DEI/EGR?  Will Yates keep the points from the 96 team or will they go wherever HOF racing partners next year? Does JTG Daugherty keep the 47’s points they got from the old 00 points through a “technical alliance” with MWR?  I have not seen press about contractual situations surrounding these deals and was hoping you guys knew something more.  Thanks for all of the great work here.

The points will remain with the organizations that purchased them. They’ll just roll over to next season. Remember they more or less bought a position in the top-35, but the points they have amassed over the season are theirs. In the case of HOF, I don’t believe Yates ever actually owned the points, so those will likely remain with HOF; that was just a technical alliance. – Journo

10. From Allen:

I’ve been to many races and always notice on the flag stand they hang a black, white, and orange box on the side of the flag stand before each race, any idea what that is for?

What I believe you are referring to is the display NASCAR hangs from the flag stand to be used when a car is black flagged.  When this happens, NASCAR will wave the black flag at the car as it passes, announce it over their radio frequency, and post the car’s number on this display.  You will sometimes hear this referred to as a team was “posted.” – T.C.

11. From Kim:

I heard something odd during the telecast from Martinsville. It looked like Johnson was speeding on pit road, as he came out of his box; I distinctly heard an announcer (DJ?) mention something about an “average” on pit road, that there are eight timing sections and that you can actually go OVER pit road speed as long as when you hit one of the speed lines, you are going the correct speed (I hope I’m describing it correctly). My friend heard it, too and we were aghast as we had never heard that pit road speeding penalties were based on an “average”. The same term was used again later in the race. Is this true or did I hallucinate/misunderstand he comment?

As I understand it (and I may be wrong) NASCAR uses the scoring loops on pit road to measure how long it takes a car to travel through that specific segment.  It has nothing to do with a measured speed.  With some simple math, NASCAR can figure out how long it will take a car to travel through the segment within the legal speed limits.  What teams have started figuring out, is that they can pick certain pit boxes on pit road, depending on the placement of the loops, and actually speed.  It allows the drivers to be able to speed into their pit boxes, and out of them; before they cross the next scoring loop.  They can do this, because that measured time between loops will be much greater because of the time it takes to complete the pit stop.  Hopefully that makes sense. – T.C.

12. From Robyn:

If the 4 car limit only for the Cup Series?  If not, why does Roush keep saying that they will run 5 Nationwide cars in 2010?  What does NASCAR (or those in the garage) think about teams (especially in NW), for all intents, selling thier owner points for a race?

There is no car limit in the Nationwide Series. So Roush (or any other organizations) could have as many teams as they want. As far as I know NASCAR doesn’t have any problems with the teams selling their points. In some situations, it means they’ll have fewer start and parks, so I would imagine they’re fine with it. – Journo

13. From Dan:

Wow! Are we seeing the birth of a new “Intimidator”? Sounds as if JPM has some people worried. Gordon’s comments after the race got my attention and Chad Knaus cautioned his driver of Montoya’s antics during the race. Maybe this just what NASCAR needs to fill all those empty seats on race day. Your thoughts.

I think JPM certainly has that killer spirit. Part of the mystique of Dale Earnhardt and part of his role as the intimidator though was his success, which Montoya hasn’t had. Drivers knew they were going to have a fight on their hands with him in the rear view mirror, I don’t think Montoya is there yet. Certainly he has a ton of potential and the other drivers are starting to take notice, but I think he has a ways to go before we can say we have a new intimidator. – Journo

14. From Amy:

Approximately how many helmets does a driver go through in a given season? What about the crew?

Unless a helmet is damaged in an incident, they don’t usually need to be replaced.  Drivers will usually have multiple helmets because of different sponsor commitments and paint schemes.  The same goes for pit crew guys.  I’ve been using the same helmet(s) all season. – T.C.

15. From Ric:

How much notice does the crew need for various changes; Air Pressure, Wedge, Track Bar, Spring Rubber, etc.

Not much, unfortunately.  Air pressure changes probably need the most warning, because the tire guy needs to run around and change the pressures before the tires can be taken over the wall.  Wedge and track bar adjustments can be called pretty late before the car enters the stall, as long as the crew guys have enough time to grab wrenches.  Spring rubbers can be called late, but usually there is plenty of warning because they take more time to get out.  A spring rubber, because of the weight of the adjustment usually isn’t called last minute. – T.C.

16. From Ric:

When drivers help anther driver (debris on a radiator, lead a lap, push from behind, drafting, etc) is this $$$, kindness of their heart, instructions from the boss (same team), other?

Most of the time you’ll only see teammates letting each other lead laps or helping with debris. I guess in rare circumstances a driver who is friendly with another driver might be willing to help him out when it comes to debris (an if you scratch my back, i’ll scratch your’s situation). As far as drafting goes, that is something that just happens out on track. A driver might be more reluctant to draft with certain guys, but it’s not like letting a guy lead or helping him with debris. – Journo

17. From Jeff in SoCal:

What can we expect to see from the new Ford engine being ran by Roush Fenway at Talladega next week? Do you guys think it is going to be a major improvement?

I’m sure the new Ford engine probably makes better numbers, but don’t expect to see a huge improvement over the previous version.  Doug Yates and his guys do a good job, but they aren’t going to magically find huge numbers.  The rules haven’t changed for engines. – T.C.

18. From Carole:

Jr had 3 flat tires and brake problems this weekend.  My husband says he probably unconsciously rides the brake with his left foot.  What do you think was his problem?

From what I know about the situation, Jr. told Lance McGrew several times that he was not riding the brakes.  He usually runs very good at Martinsville, and you don’t do that unless you know how to take care of your brakes.  Plus, I don’t believe Jr. is a left foot braker, which can often lead to a driver riding the brakes because they rest their foot on the pedal. – T.C.

19. From Amy:

Wow…I am totally shocked about Steve Addington being relieved of his crew chief position for Kyle Busch.  Yeah Kyle hasn’t had the best of seasons this year…but seems to me all drivers have the occasional crappy season.  Why replace Addington? Any thoughts?

I can’t say I’m surprised they made this decision, but I also can’t say it’s something I would have done. It’s hard to reconcile removing the guy who led your driver to 12 wins over two seasons. That said I think the issue here comes down to consistency, something Kyle has struggled with, even while having a lot of success. Obviously the folks at Gibbs think Dave Rogers will do a better job of achieving that consistency than Addington. Time will tell. – Journo

20. From bb:

Hi Guys.  Firstly, your website is a great combination of information, news and editorial content that has a lot more meaningful depth than most others, so please don’t change it too much…….Second, I was wondering what the feeling in the garage is about the future/stability of MWR. Will they be likely to get sponsorship to be able to run the 00 full time? It seems like they are pretty close to breaking through to being able to field contending cars on a consistent basis. Also, does a full time nationwide ride for Mikey look likely?

Well thank you. I think Waltrip is in just as good a shape as any other organization. Certainly sponsorship is difficult to come by, but RCR, EGR, Hendrick all have (or have had) sponsorship issues going into next season. As far as Reutimann goes, I don’t think you have to worry about him running a part time schedule next season. I’m sure they’ll fill the gaps, which I believe is somewhere around 12 races. I haven’t heard anything more about Michael in the Nationwide Series next season. Like anything I’m sure that’ll be determined on whether or not they can secure funding for a team. – Journo

21. From Robyn:

Looking at the other competition caution – the one called for before the race begins.  This past week when it rained in Martinsville, I don’t recall a competition caution being called for the truck race.  That series raced on a green track.  I don’t recall hearing about rain on Saturday night, so there was rubber on the track.  Why was there a planned competition caution in the Cup race (Waltrip negated it with his lap 40-something spin)?  These teams are supposed to be the best of the best.  They should know how their tires will wear without making a race run, which some teams did on Friday anyway.

The only thing I can think of here, is that NASCAR was concerned because the Cup cars hadn’t been on track since Friday.  Other than that, I’m not really sure what to tell you.  In any case though, it’s usually better to be safe then sorry. – T.C.

22. From Harold:

Are the tires used in NASCAR races provides free or do they have to pay for them?

Teams technically lease tires for competition, and they are not free.  They cost about $1,500 a set. – T.C.

And that brings yet another “Ask The Insiders Wednesday” to a close.  Thanks to everyone who sent in questions.  And remember, if you’d like to be a part of next week, click on the ”Ask the Insiders” tab at the top of the page and send your question in!

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Posted by on May 7, 2019 in Ask the Insiders, Nascar |

Ask The Insiders Wednesday #48

Nov 4th, 2009 by T.C.

And then there were three.  Texas, Phoenix, and Homestead are the last remaining races on the 2009 schedule before we put it in the record books.  But before we start the home stretch, we’ve got more of your questions and our somewhat educated answers.  If you don’t know what this post is, until further notice, we will be answering any and all reader questions every Wednesday, right here.  So if you’ve got one, click on the ”Ask the Insiders” tab at the top of the page and send one to us.  On to the questions…

Just a quick follow up from a few weeks back, we were asked what Michael “Fatback” McSwain was up to these days.  We have confirmed that he is running an auto repair shop in Dallas, NC. – T.C.

1. From Kenny:

Do you think some drivers might intentionally spin out just to get screen time for their advertisers? I’m thinking about Robby Gordon here, because he seems to bring out a yellow at least once during every race.

While I don’t think this is going on (if it is Robby is doing a very bad job of it because Jim Beam is leaving at the end of the season), anything is possible. One thing to remember though, is if you’re a company sponsoring a lesser team you go into it knowing that you’re not going to get a lot of TV time. These sponsorships are much larger marketing efforts (that can be said for any team). If they just wanted TV time it would be a lot cheaper to buy TV advertisements. – Journo

2. From Ross:

T.C.: It’s probable that someone on the blog has ripped your driver.  Does that make you cringe a bit when you read it?

Nope, everyone is entitled to their opinions.  I know how things really are with my driver, so outside talk doesn’t bother me.  Besides, maybe we’ve ripped my driver on here too… – T.C.

3. From Bobby#7Fan:

What is the deal with NASCAR giving AJ a breath test before practice Friday?  It seems to me it’s just a way to embarrass him.  Did they really think he was throwing back shots before getting into the car?  I saw Tony Stewart scratch his ass before practice once, did they check him for hemorrhoids?

I’ll be honest with you, I was in favor of NASCAR suspending him, but I thought the breathalyzer was over the top. I really don’t know what the purpose of it was. It was a little press for them, but it really only served to add to AJ’s embarrassment. – Journo

4. From AJ:

I don’t know how to ask this in a question but has a superstar from the Nationwide series ever gone on to win the Cup? Two sets of drivers come to mind for me, Matt Kenseth and Jr, and Truex Jr and Clint Bowyer. Both Jr’s were 2 time nationwide champs, but it was the runner ups Matt and Clint that have gone on to preform better on the Cup level. Same for JJ and Stewart, they never really got their barring in the lower level and it wasn’t until they came to Cup that they excelled in stock cars.

Are you asking if any former “Nationwide” champions (before they went to Cup) have gone on to great success in the Cup Series? Ned Jarrett was a Sportsman Division champion and Bobby Labonte, Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle were all Busch Series champions. It’s an interesting point and one I’ve never really thought about. As of now I guess it really isn’t a great indicator of success in the Cup Series. – Journo

5. From Mike:

Since this week was an impound race many cars and most go or go home cars were probably still on some kind of qualifying setup. Since you know it was probably going to be cancelled can you adjust them back to race trim or is there a stop work time? On a normal week can’t you work on it until right before it goes on the track?

Qualifying trim for an impound race is really only a taped up grill, pumped up air pressures, and some other small adjustments.  Once qualifying is cancelled, NASCAR allows the teams to make final adjustments, which includes taking the car out of qualifying “trim.”  On a normal, non-impound weekend, teams can work on the cars right up until they need to be in line for pre-race inspection on race morning. – T.C.

6. From Lost In Texas:

The firing of the #18 crew chief is bothering me.  Can either of you lend some insight into how something like that happens.  How much did Kyle have to say about it?  Sure would to be a fly on the all at JGR.

I would say the situation differs from team to team. Some drivers have more say about these situations than others. Look at Juan Pablo Montoya. He had three different crew chiefs last season, and I can tell you he wasn’t happy about any of the changes. I honestly can’t tell you internally what the conversation was at JGR, but I’d guess there were pretty lengthy discussions between Jimmy Makar and the Gibbs’. I’m a little skeptical of this move too, but they must think this situation will be better. – Journo

7. From Ric:

I have noticed that some over the wall people wear 1 piece suits, others wear two piece suits. Who decides what you wear? What is the pro / con of both of them? Is there another type?

Some teams decide which kind they want their guys to wear, but in many cases it’s just a preference thing.  Often times when Simpson, Impact, or whoever is making the firesuits does their fittings with the crew guys, they will ask what your preference is.  I’m not really sure of pros vs. cons, it’s really just what a guy thinks is most comfortable.  There is also a three piece, which is pants, a top, and then a vest that goes over the top. – T.C.

8. From Ric:

I noticed on the back bumper about middle to right of the car either a cover (guessing about 3?X3?), or something sticking out slightly from the car. What is this?

This is where they put the rear facing on board cameras.  If the car is carrying it, the camera is mounted there, and if it isn’t carrying one the hole is just covered. – T.C.

And that brings yet another “Ask The Insiders Wednesday” to a close.  Thanks to everyone who sent in questions.  And remember, if you’d like to be a part of next week, click on the ”Ask the Insiders” tab at the top of the page and send your question in!

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Posted by on Apr 2, 2019 in Ask the Insiders, Nascar |

Ask The Insiders Wednesday #49

Nov 11th, 2009 by T.C.

All three series have one more trip out West for the year.  While the haulers make the long trek to Phoenix, we’ve got another question and answer post for you.  If you don’t know what this post is, until further notice, we will be answering any and all reader questions every Wednesday, right here.  So if you’ve got one, click on the ”Ask the Insiders” tab at the top of the page and send one to us.  On to the questions…

1. From Savannah:

Hey Guys, does the COT become airborne in accidents more than the old style car?  In several wrecks, the cars seem to be flipping more than the older car.  Does the wing on the back of the car cause it to loose the downforce and then the flipping starts?  I am just curious.  I apologize if you have already responded to this type of question in the past.

I’ll be honest with you, I can’t really give you a great explanation of this. Diandra over at Stock Car Science though does have a good explanation of why this is occurring with seemingly more frequency. By the way Stock Car Science is a great blog; the woman who writes it, wrote The Physics of NASCAR. – Journo

2. From Doug in CA:

I was reading about tire testing at Daytona.  How much tire testing goes on?  Do Cup drivers participate in most?  Very little?  It seems to me that there are plenty of drivers out there who don’t have rides (Blaney, Riggs, Raines etc.) who would appreciate picking up a few bucks for running laps for Goodyear.  Why do busy guys like Johnson or Busch do this job?

It happens a few times a year.  Goodyear will pick certain tracks they need to work on, and go from there.  Tire testing happens for the Cup cars the most, but it does happen for the other series too.  The thing to remember about driver participation, is that Goodyear doesn’t supply the cars.  Teams show up with all of their own equipment,  So out of work guys wouldn’t really do Goodyear any good.  Guys like Jimmie and Kyle will do it because it allows them to learn, and to help their teams learn.  Especially now with the testing ban, any extra track time is a huge positive for a team and driver. – T.C.

3. From Blair:

Sitting here watching the race and though I’m a little tickled at the fact that Jimmie Johnson is stuck in the garage it has made me wonder. As far as the car goes, what all can be changed during the race as far as engine pieces and all that? Obviously you can’t change the original chassis but what all can you change? Or maybe the easier list would be what can’t you change? Thanks guys! Love reading your blogs!

Outside of replacing the car (chassis) and engine, everything is pretty much fair game.  Rear ends, suspension, body, really anything else is okay to work on. – T.C.

4. From Scott:

Hey Guys, following Jimmy Johnson’s big wreck on Sunday his crew really pulled together and did great work to get his car back out there.  Clearly this shows part of the reason that he is in position to win another championship and highlights the team aspect of NASCAR, which I don’t think gets enough coverage.  However, with all the parts being changed I was wondering about a couple of things.  I heard during the race that you can change just about everything except the motor and NASCAR lets you back on the track for your attempt to get back up to speed.  What I’m wondering is this, what allowances does NASCAR provide for how the car measures up in post race testing?  While its doubtful that after that type of crash a car would havea competitive downforce advantage is this something NASCAR checks?  As always, great website, great columns and commentaries, love Ask Wednesdays, keep up the great work!

Post race inspection usually only happens to the top five (I think) and a random.  So unless NASCAR decided to be ridiculous, a team in a situation like Jimmie’s won’t have to go through tech after the race.  There is no point in checking a team for cheating when they were a few seconds off the pace, 120 laps down. – T.C.

5. From windowlicker:

Hey guys. During the Busch race at Texas, a car (I think it was Justin Allgaier) came out after a wreck with no front end. NASCAR black flagged him for not maintaining minimum speed. He went back in they did something & he came back out & finished the race. I thought once you got black flagged for not maintaining speed, NASCAR parked you. You didn’t get a second chance.

I think that was his one chance.  The car comes out of the garage, NASCAR sees it doesn’t make minimum speed, then you are allowed one chance to make it right.  That is how I always understood it.  When a car is wrecked and comes out of the garage, the team doesn’t really know what it has to work with.  If the rule is as I understand it, NASCAR gives the driver and team one chance to feel it out and make the car better. – T.C.

6. From J and D:

After seeing some of the recent wrecks in NASCAR races, we got to wondering: when a car is torn up badly but still able to finish a race, how on Earth do they pass post-race inspection? We’ve seen some cars with no front ends, jacked-up rears and much more. What’s left to measure?

Like I said above, unless a wrecked car finishes top five, they won’t be inspected after the race.  Once a car is wrecked and goes many laps down, there really is no point in inspecting them. – T.C.

7. From Red Kneck:

Why does Marcos Ambrose’s 47 car have yellow rookie stripes but is not listed in the Rookie of the Year Standings?

It’s because he ran too many races last season to run for the Rookie of the Year Award (11 in 2008), but he is still considered a rookie (hence the rookie stripe). – Journo

8. From Michael:

I know racing in general money is money no matter the funding entity. However, do guys like Conway, Nemechek (Extenze) & Martin (when he was sponsored by Viagra) face much ribbing in the garage area?

Yes, absolutely. I would say the crew guys are the ones that face the majority of the ribbing though. Can you imagine walking around the garage with Extenze or Viagra on your chest? I’m just glad it’s not me. – Journo

9. From Christopher:

During the Texas Sprint Cup race, we all saw the shots from the hour or so the 48 team was re-building Johnson’s car.  It seemed that Jimmy stayed in the car the entire time.  Is this normal?  Is there any reason- knowing it was going to take awhile- that Jimmy wouldn’t have gotten out?  Maybe to help- or at least take a stretch?

In this situation I think Jimmie was trying to make a point that he was committed to going back out. Likewise he was still very much in that zone, so I think he wanted to avoid distractions like the media. Generally, I would say whether or not a driver stays in the car depends on the driver and the situation. -Journo

And that brings yet another “Ask The Insiders Wednesday” to a close.  Thanks to everyone who sent in questions.  And remember, if you’d like to be a part of next week, click on the ”Ask the Insiders” tab at the top of the page and send your question in!

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Posted by on Mar 12, 2019 in Ask the Insiders, Nascar |

Ask The Insiders Wednesday #50

Nov 18th, 2009 by T.C.

The last race of the season is upon us.  Come Sunday night, the 2009 season will be over.  But what won’t end, is Ask The Insiders Wednesday.  We’ve got our 50th batch of questions and answers for you.  If you don’t know what this post is, until further notice, we will be answering any and all reader questions every Wednesday, right here.  So if you’ve got one, click on the ”Ask the Insiders” tab at the top of the page and send one to us.  On to the questions…

1. From Nick:

The last time I was @ Hendrik Motorsports, Jeff Gordon’s “T-Rex” car wasn’t there. Do you know where they moved it?

I have absolutely no idea. Was it in the museum? I’m sure they try to rotate the cars in the museum to keep things fresh. Too, the museum was redone earlier this year, so they might have changed some things out. – Journo

2. From Big Mike:

I don’t understand how an experienced  winner in all three series of ARCA, Trucks, and Nationwide, Rookie of the Year, 3 Cup Poles, can be overlooked for any job in any series. I’m speaking of Scott Riggs. Scott’s a great driver who doesn’t go around with a swelled head. He’s a clean driver 99% of the time and would do a great job for any team.  Do you think the fact that he was man enough to stand up and admit on the air that Tommy Baldwin asked him to start and park has hurt his chances to secure another ride?  Let’s face it the last 5-6 cars every week who squeeze in and have no chance of winning are there to rip off the gate.  So what is your take on Scott’s future?

I haven’t heard a thing about Scott Riggs and as far as I know he isn’t really very visible around the garage. The problem is there are a glut of drivers and not enough rides. Unless you’re bringing with you money or proven talent (and money) it’s going to be hard to find a ride. I don’t think there were any hard feelings over the TBR deal. Tommy just realized he couldn’t afford to keep running the full races and starting and parking wasn’t something Scott wanted to do. As far as Scott goes though I haven’t heard anything about him for 2010. He may be working on something, he may not. – Journo

3. From Savannah:

Here is a what if question.  Since Dale Jr has struggled this year, do you think that Rick Hendrick considered moving a successful crew chief, ala Chad Knaus, to the 88 team for next year?   Even with the recent crew chief change, Dale Earnhardt has not improved as quickly as some fans hoped.  Just curious if you think that this option was considered.

If it was considered I would think it was for only a fleeting moment. Rick Hendrick is not the type to kill a successful pairing like Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson. Was it thought about? I’m sure every scenario was considered, but I doubt this was a likely solution. – Journo

4. From Dave:

When NASCAR takes a team’s car to Concord for further inspection, how does it get there? Does NASCAR take it on one of their haulers or does the team?  Once there how does the team get it back if NASCAR releases it?  Y’all have done a great job all year and I hope this continues after the season ends.

NASCAR has transporters they use to take the cars from the track to Concord. After they’ve finished inspecting the car you get to come get it yourself (doesn’t seem fair right?). And thank you! – Journo

5. From Ric:

On the #48 team, what is the garage feelings about them. Do they mirror the fans? Is their dominance hurting NASCAR?

I’m not sure I can speak for everyone in the garage, but I don’t personally feel the way some of the fans do about Jimmie.  Yeah, I wish the competition was closer, but I respect what amazing things they have been able to accomplish.  I certainly don’t dislike Jimmie or the #48 guys because of their run.  I wish that on some level, people could step back from their allegiances and see just how great this team has been. – T.C.

6. From Ric:

About how long does it take the winning driver / team to make it thru all the pictures and interviews after a race? What is the longest you have heard of?

The drivers take a lot longer then the rest of the team.  After the main celebration and hat dance is over, the crew can take off to start loading the hauler and tearing down pit road.  The driver has to stay longer for more pictures.  Usually the bigger the race, the longer it takes.  The Daytona 500 victory lane activities can go on for a while.  I’m not sure I could tell you an exact time though, as I don’t normally hang around for the driver part. – T.C.

7. From Ric:

Who supplies (pays for) the champagne in the winners circle? What is on the bottles, looks like the Sprint Cup Logo? About how many bottles do they go thru after a race?

I’m not 100% sure who pays for it, but I would assume it’s supplied by the marketing company that handles Sprint’s NASCAR efforts (which I believe is Octagon). As far as how many bottles they go through, upwards of half a dozen maybe. – Journo

8. From Roger from Colorado:

Last week I was on a hunting trip traveling on I-20 towards Dallas from Colorado. It was Monday and I noticed quite a number of Cup and Nationwide haulers going west towards Phoenix for the weekend race there. I saw the 48 hauler and wondered what they had inside after the big wreck. I got to thinking about what all of them had on the trip to Phoenix. I assume that a different car is used at Phoenix (a smaller flat track vs the big, banked Texas track). Does another hauler meet them at Dallas and switch equipment and cars for the different style track? There were a bunch of busted up cars after the Texas race that were junk. Sure too far to return to NC and then come back out to Phoenix with more equipment.

Actually most teams have somebody meet them in Texas with the equipment they need for Phoenix.  They’ll trade out everything that needs to be traded out and then head their separate ways. At Texas these guys were actually waiting in a lot outside the track ready to make the switch. – Journo

9. From Scott:

Hey Guys, after Johnson’s win this past weekend its going to be tough for Mark Martin to win the championship, but as we know anything can happen.  I think we all know the fans are divided between frustration, hatred and awe of what the number 48 has done (again) this year.  My question is how do your peers feel about in the garage?  Do they feel the same as the fans?  What about the drivers? And just to add some fuel to the black helicopters out there, is there any driver out there that could hold Johnson up or make his day difficult enough to give Mark Martin a run at this thing?  Ok, I’m caught!  I’m a big Martin fan and it saddens me to see him be a bridesmaid again.  Not to take away what he’s accomplished this but jeez!  Thanks again guys.

Like I said above, I can’t speak for everyone, but I do wish the competition was closer.  You never want to see one driver or team dominate a sport.  But there really isn’t the hate and discontent in the garage area for Jimmie that you will find among some fans.  Unless it’s a freak deal, I think you will see most drivers steer clear of Jimmie during the race.  Nobody wants to be that guy. – T.C.

10. From Ric:

Let’s say you have a car that just won a race, it stayed out of all the wrecks, the driver wants to race it later in the year. What needs to be done to the car to get it ready for that next race? What is (or not) changed / replaced / redone?

After a race, cars are completely torn down.  Everything from the engine to the suspension is taken out and off.  The cars are checked over and then placed back into rotation to be set up again for the next race in which it will be used. – T.C.

11. From Tommy:

I know NASCAR takes the top two cars and others for post race inspections.  What do they look for in the engine?  Is it just they meet certain specs like cylinder size?  Do they put it on a dyno and determine how much horsepower it has?   Rick Hendrick admitted his engines may vary from 5 – 15 horsepower.  I wonder if Jimmie has more horsepower than the other 42 drivers?

I don’t believe that NASCAR puts engines on the dyno in the course of their normal post race inspections.  What they usually check the engines for is that they meet all the specs in the rule book; compression, displacement, etc.  And while Hendrick’s engines are certainly a part of their success, a few horsepower over other competitors isn’t why Jimmie has won three straight championships. – T.C.

12. From Tom Gulf Coast

If NASCAR chooses to go with a larger tire, what else would have to be changed with the car?  Do you know if its a larger wheel or just a taller tire?  I think the 15 inch wheel is about the only thing that has always been the same over the past 50+ years.

From what I understand, the tire is wider and would require a change to 17 inch wheels.  A larger wheel and wider tire would require teams to make some big changes to the current cars.  Bodies would need to be different, as the wheel openings would need to be larger.  Also, I would imagine that both front and rear suspension geometry would change because of the larger combo.  Also, fender wells and crush panels would need to be different.  – T.C.

And that brings yet another “Ask The Insiders Wednesday” to a close.  Thanks to everyone who sent in questions.  And remember, if you’d like to be a part of next week, click on the ”Ask the Insiders” tab at the top of the page and send your question in!

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Posted by on Feb 2, 2019 in Ask the Insiders, Nascar |

Ask The Insiders Wednesday #124

This week, we follow up one Saturday night show with another.  The Cup and NNS cars will take to the Lady in Black for some “under the lights” racing.  While we wait for the weekend, here is a very short edition of ATIW.  If you don’t know what this post is, we answer any and all reader questions every Wednesday, right here.  So if you’ve got one, click on the ”Ask the Insiders” tab at the top of the page and send one to us.  On to the questions…

1. From Marc:

How do you think the new qualifying rules are working? Have the television ratings have improved ? If anything, I’ve been watching less of the broadcast, tuning in only for the fastest cars and the go-or-go-homers at the end, and I cannot imagine I am the only one. Also, do you think drivers would go slower in practice to qualify early if the track is expected to slow down as qualifying proceeded?

I think they are probably working as expected.  Unfortunately, I have no idea if the TV ratings for qualifying are better this year, or if more qualifying day tickets have been sold.  Regardless though, there is definitely a bit more drama towards the end of qualifying sessions.  As to your last question, I believe teams will do whatever they feel is necessary to get a leg up on the competition.  If that means sandbagging practice to get a good spot in the qualifying order, then so be it.  But remember that a team could really only do that if they felt their car was very good.  If not, they will need to maximize practice in order to make their car better. – T.C.

2. From Christopher:

Jeff Gordon is listed as the “owner” of Johnson’s 48 car. But when it comes to stats and listings of results, its considered a “Hendrick” car. What is the difference? Who owns what? Also does Jeff Gordon make any extra cash when the 48 wins or whatever?

Jeff Gordon is the “co-owner” of the #48 team with Rick Hendrick. It’s been like that since, I believe, the very beginning of that team. What exactly that means I really can’t say. Does he receive benefits for that? Is it purely symbolic? I unfortunately can’t provide any more than very general details on the situation. – Journo

And that brings yet another “Ask The Insiders Wednesday” to a close.  Thanks to everyone who sent in questions.  And remember, if you’d like to be a part of next week, click on the ”Ask the Insiders” tab at the top of the page and send your question in!

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