The NASCAR teams have a home game this week, as both the Nationwide and Cup Series will take to Charlotte this weekend. As the teams look forward to sleeping in their own beds this week, we’ve got the 96th round of reader questions and answers. 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 Dan:
Great web site and lots of inside information a must every day. The question that I have is the following. Why on the TV broadcast after the race I notice that the teams are removing the new shark fin spoilers from the roof, rear window and trunk lid. Why remove these items at the track and before loading the cars into the haulers? I have seen it several times?
To be honest, I’m not 100% sure on this answer, but I believe it’s because the shark fin is too tall for the trailers. The fin on the rear window sticks up above the roof line, and the cars just barely fit into the trailers as they are. – T.C.
2. From Rowan:
Hi guys, great site, love it. Do you think Kenny Francis will stay with the number 9 team @ RPM next season? In Australia we have series called the Masters for cars that raced back in sixties and seventies. Do you think NASCAR would introduce a series similiar where we could see those old Dodges, Plymouths, Torino s and Chevys back on the track again in battle? And last question Owen Kelly drove the Road America race is he still racing in the U.S.?
Thanks Rowan! It was all but announced this weekend Kenny Francis would go to Red Bull with Kasey Kahne (you probably already saw that). How exactly that’s going to work beyond next season remains to be seen. To your second question, I don’t think so. It would be entertaining for sure, but I’m not sure where they would get equipment. There are actually people who have classic race cars and race them in exhibition races – it’s not sanctioned by NASCAR though. As far as Owen Kelly, he drove for Baker Curb Racing at Road America, but I’m not sure if he’s done any other racing in the US since then. Maybe someone else knows? – Journo
3. From Steve:
I know you’ve said that all drivers at the Sprint Cup level have talent. But in your view, which drivers have the talent to get more out of their car than a so-called average driver? And which drivers seem to get less out of their car than would seem right given their equipment, support, etc.?
I think it’s a two fold thing: what can a driver get out of their car, and what they can communicate about their car. Kyle Busch is very good at both of these things. And look at Kasey Kahne and Kenny Francis as a team that is good at both of these things (given their situation). In my opinion, Martin Truex is a guy who struggles to communicate and get everything out of his car (in comparison to his peers). – Journo
4. From Kim:
I don’t know what a crew chief makes, but seeing fines of $150000 takes my breath away. When a crew chief is fined for an infraction, do they have to pay it in one lump sum?. Do they pay it personally? Does the team pay it? Does it have to be paid before they come to the track for the next race?
Those fines are generally paid by the teams. NASCAR does allow for payment plans to be set up though should a team not be willing (or able) to pay a fine. As far as when fines have to be paid, as I understand it (section 12-3 in the rulebook) fines are to be paid promptly, but if that’s not possible they must be paid before NASCAR will approve the following year’s license for the person who received the fine. – Journo
5. From Thenewme:
Is ESPN TV trying to create the feeling that we are live at NASCAR races? They are doing a good job because we cannot hear the announcers. The mix of track noise is killing the commentary. We just turn the sound off.
Among the issues in an ESPN broadcast I’ve noticed that too. It’s called ‘nat sound’ – and I agree it is often too loud. It is kind of like you’re at a race though, you can’t hear the PA announcer over the cars – you can’t hear the broadcasters over the race. – Journo
6. From Mike:
Do you have a real idea how the 6 man over the wall crew is going to work next season? Have you talked to any of the truck guys about it? Does the fuel can act differently? Who is making the adjustments now?
It won’t be drastically different than what we have now. Stop times may slow down some early on, partially through inexperience and partially because the new cans don’t dump as quickly. But give the teams some time with it, and improvements will be made. You will still have five guys changing the tires, and adjustments will be made by the rear tire carrier. – T.C.
7. From dwiltone:
Something I have thought of a few times before. Is there at any time, short of loading and unloading, any reason for anyone other than the drivers to actually drive the race car? How about an older car? I mean. Ya’ll do what you do because of your love of racing. Ever have two seats in the car just to give the guys a spin so to speak? Thanks you 2.
There are times when cars will be driven around the shop complexes, but usually not at the race track. When cars are moved at the track, they are always just pushed around by the teams. For those guys who really want to experience a race car, most just go out and race. There is pretty good percentage of guys who either raced previously or still race, whether it be latemodels, go carts, or something similar. – T.C.
8. From Gabriella:
A newbie question: I’ve figured out that there’s a sub-race off pit road, but what I don’t understand is how those drivers flying out of pit road merge? E.g., what if the leader at the caution is the mighty Jimmie Johnson, who decides NOT to pit: where does he fit in the restart? Thanks!
They don’t really have to merge. At the end of pit road is a line, and the cars are put in order by who gets to the line first, second, third, etc. And if there are cars that are on the lead lap, but don’t pit, they stay behind the pace car and any cars that pitted line up behind them. So if JJ is running 5th, but he stays out and everyone else pits, JJ is the leader. – T.C.
9. From Denny:
I know every year we have all of these great rumors throughout the season. I was wondering if you are hearing any rumors of a major Cup/Cup Lite team making a manufacture-swap for 2011? Also been meaning to ask this question and this goes back to Chicago’s Cup Race. I am sure I heard one of the announcers mention either during or after the race that winner, David Reutimann’s #00 was running a new, improved intake manifold from TRD. Wouldn’t this take a long approval process from NASCAR? What was the deal with this?
The only team in either the Cup or Nationwide Series that I am fairly certain will switch manufacturers is the new Turner Motorsports. From what we’ve heard, the team will switch all the old Braun Toyotas over to Chevrolets. Other than that, I believe all the other teams are sticking with what they’ve got. To your second question, I didn’t hear anything about Reutimann using a new intake, but it’s certainly possible. Any new engine part would definitely have to go through an approval process by NASCAR, but I doubt it would be overly lengthy. – T.C.
10. From Fireball:
Are you aware of any team trying a four or three stud wheel. This would seem to speed up pit stops, but obviously less redundancy if a nut were missed?
I’ve never heard of a team trying a wheel with less studs. It’s certainly against NASCAR’s rules to use something like that, and I highly doubt NASCAR would ever approve something like that for competition. Outside of faster pit stops, I don’t really think there is an advantage to using a four or three stud wheel. – T.C.
11. From Mike:
Two questions: 1. What do you think are the chances we’ll see NASCAR at the new F1 track in Austin? 2. Have you heard anything about the future of Robby Gordon Motorsports or Robby’s career in NASCAR?
I would say probably not too likely (if they do actually get it built). It would require ISC, SMI, Dovor Motorsports, the Mattiolis, or Indianapolis to give up a date. I don’t see any of that happening. I’ve heard (I don’t know how good the info is) Robby is close on a sponsorship deal for all of his racing endeavors, but nothing is done. We’ll see. – Journo
12. From markh:
I noticed at Fontana the 18 team working on Kyle’s car under a canopy next to the hauler. What’s up with that? I’ve seen that on the Nationwide side before, but never on the Cup side.
They do that with a few of the Cup teams on their side of the garage, and I’m not really sure why. According to the Auto Club Speedway website, they have 100 garage stalls, so you’d think they could fit them all. For whatever reason though, the way they have the Cup garage area set up, that’s just what they have to do to to fit everyone in. -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!