Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Dec 8, 2019 in Ask the Insiders, Nascar |

Ask The Insiders Wednesday #29

Jun 23rd, 2009 by T.C.

As the summer continues to roll along, we have reached the 29th edition of Ask The Insiders Wednesday.  These posts continue to gain in popularity every week, and I’ve been told by many of you that ATIW is what you look forward to the most.  That’s great to hear, and if you keep sending in the questions, we will keep trying to answer them!  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 Scott from Canada:

On June 17th’s version of Ask the Insiders TC said that “there are no computer systems in today’s Cup, Nationwide, or Truck Series vehicles.”  Well just how the heck do the TV stations get access to throttle/brake/RPM and speed data?  Speed I could see coming from a GPS unit and the scoring/timing points but it wouldn’t be accurate to the foot as it appears to be.  So?  And do the teams have direct access to this information or do they get it from TV or NASCAR?  And (#2) if they get the RPM data is it part of the fuel mileage calculations that causes them fits at various tracks.  Sorry for the length but thanks for the answers!

I feel like I’ve been called out here.  First, cars don’t have onboard computers, but some will have an onboard telemetry box and GPS unit that transmits back to the TV trucks.  Information provided from these devices is what is used to create the telemetry you see on TV.  A company called SportVision provides the equipment.  But teams are not allowed access to this information, so as far as they are concerned, there are no onboard systems.  Fuel mileage calculations are based on weather conditions and previous data gathered (engine performance, driver habits, etc.). – T.C.

2. From mangopants:

I’m new to the sport and have a very elementary question – is it “Pit Road” or “Pit Row”?   I’ve seen it written both ways, and just can’t distinguish when the announcers say it.

The two are really interchangeable.  In NASCAR, you will hear it more often referred to as pit road.  By the way, welcome to the sport and thanks for stopping by TNI!  – T.C.

3. From Measure:

How are the drivers reacting to Carlos Pardo’s death?  Is there a serious investigation being done by NASCAR to make sure changes can be made to prevent that kind of crash in the future?

Honestly I haven’t heard a lot about it. I think everyone was pretty shocked by the accident, especially because this is a guy that a lot of people in the garage had interacted with. That being said it is not exactly the response if it were closer to home. Also remember this series is more comparable to a late model series than to the Sprint Cup Series and as such the safety equipment is much less advanced. While I’m sure there will be an investigation I don’t know if there will be any major changes as a result of this. – Journo

4. From August:

Sometimes, after practice or “happy hour,” you’ll hear a crew chief or driver state that they have a really aggressive setup in the car.  What exactly does this mean? Are they setting up the car to the point where their options are limited on changing the handling of the car once the race begins? By the way, you guys have become a must-hit on the internet everyday since I stumbled upon this site a few months ago. Keep it up.

I would take that to mean they have the car set up to run as fast as possible, most likely over the short run.  For example, qualifying setups are normally aggressive, i.e., nose taped up, tires pumped up, etc.  The car will run fast over a very short run, but in race conditions would then fall off very quickly.  Also, aggressive setups are usually uncomfortable for drivers.  They will be fast, but they will require the driver to really hang it out. – T.C.

5. From Joel:

Why is pit road closed at times – especially right after a yellow flag?  PS: Love you guys – keep up the great work!

Don’t quote me on this, but I believe pit road is closed right at the point of caution so no driver can gain an advantage by being able to duck down early and get their pit stop done before the other teams have a shot.  If a car could pit before everyone else, they would then be out front when the remainder of the field pitted.  Also, if a wreck or caution happens near the entrance, they will close pit road to allow the safety workers to do their job. – T.C.

6. From Jon:

I hate to ask about auto racing other than NASCAR… but I know you guys are fans of racing in general.  I am an avid reader and have asked you guys a few questions, to which I was very thankful for your replies!  I hope you answer this but if not I understand… have you heard of the radical news about the FOTA (Formula One Teams Association) pulling out of F1 for 2010?  This is essentially every major F1 brand (Ferrari, Brawn, McLaren, Red Bull, etc) pulling out.  It would be like Roush, Hendrick, Gibbs and RCR pulling out of NASCAR!  It unfortunately also resembles the CART/IRL split that ruined American open wheel racing (AOWR) more or less.  Do you guys really think that Max Mosley isn’t going to give in?  It seems like if he doesn’t, he’ll basically lose the crown jewel of racing abroad.  I realize NASCAR probably gets more TV viewers, but I think F1’s impact on the world of auto racing is even more far reaching than NASCAR.  I love the technology and the skill it requires to run F1 and I hate the thought of it being compromised like the CART split compromised AOWR.

I actually think this split is a lot more comparable to the USAC-CART split in the late-70s. That being said my first instinct is that the teams are posturing to get their way. I know the heads of these organizations are pretty angry with the leadership of F1 and they are very serious about starting a breakaway series, but I truly believe they both know for better or worse they need each other. It sounds like Max Mosley is attempting to re-engage the teams, but what ultimately happens is hard to say. Should this split ultimately occur, I think it will be incredibly ugly. In the end, it would be a shame to have this globally loved series destroyed by bickering and infighting. – Journo

7. From Brian:

I saw this picture from the Nationwide race at Milwaukee: How much PSI do teams typically start on their tires and how much PSI do the tires gain over a typical green-flag run?

Unfortunately I can’t really give you a hard and fast answer on this one.  Initial pressures and what the tires build over a run is really going to depend on the track, the series, and the conditions.  Usually at short tracks teams will start pressures (especially fronts) very low because the tires will build a lot more due to the added heat from brake use.  I’ve seen tires with PSIs in the single digits before.  And rights will be different front lefts, as will fronts vs. rears.  Rights will usually build more because of the forces on them, and front vs. rear depends on the car’s setup. – T.C.

8. From Ric:

Do you guys practice and/or plan what you will do in situations of a damaged car coming in? Who grabs what, where to cut or not to cut, what has to be done in what order, etc. When working on a damaged car does the same group go over a wall to fix it, or would say the gas man stay back so an ignition specialist can check something out? Can different people go over the wall as long as the number stays at / below 7?

Yes, most teams will at least have a basic plan of who will do what when there is damage to be fixed over the wall.  And yes, different guys can go over the wall as long as the number doesn’t exceed seven.  Especially in the case of engines, you want your engine tuner over the wall in one of those situations because he is going to be able to best diagnose a problem. – T.C.

9. From Savannah:

Okay guys, since we are now about 10 races away from the Chase, it is time to ask your opinion on who will make the chase this year.  So, who will be the lucky 12 drivers?  Who do you think will be the surprise chase contender this year?  Do you think that Dale Jr will be in the Chase?  And if you’re feeling like taking a chance and looking into the crystal ball, who do you think will be the NASCAR Sprint Cup champion for 2009!  Remember,  this is just an opportunity for you to express your predictions.  Now, my crystal ball is still slightly cloudy- hopefully, y’all will have better luck with yours!  Thanks for answering all of the questions.

Actually if I had to pick a top-12 I really like the current standings. Obviously there is still a lot of room for movement, but given what we have seen this season, these are, in my opinion, the strongest 12. I don’t think Jr. will make the Chase this season. He has a lot of points to make up and unless he has a huge turn around quick, I don’t think this year is his. As far as who the Champion will be, I’m not ready to say quite yet, but I think Tony Stewart looks like a new man and those three Hendrick cars are very strong. Unfortunately my crystal ball is still very cloudy too. – Journo

10. From Steven:

How come some teams like Jay Robinson’s #49 and Dwayne Gaulding’ #21 start and park even though they have sponsorship? Are these teams offering companies (GetMoreVacations, Stock Car Steel, & Anderson’s Maple Syrup) space on the car for dirt cheap, or do they just give them a free ride?

You’re absolutely correct. They pay a few thousand dollars to have their names on the car for a few laps. The money isn’t enough to make it worthwhile for them to run the whole race. It’s just one more way for these start and park team owners to make money. – Journo

11. From Amy:

I was at the track in Sonoma and my two questions stem from my experience there:  1. We had prerace cold pit access and while walking up and down the pit boxes taking pictures I noticed of all things in the arsenal of stuff packed into one of the pitboxes a can of cooking spray (PAM to be exact).  WHY?  2. I took time sitting in both the grandstands on Friday and turn 7 on Sunday and noticed that with the elevation changes and turns- it must be a challenge to be a spotter at a track like that. Where were the spotters located? And do teams ever use more than one spotter at a road course?

First, teams will sometimes use cooking spray (such as PAM) on the wheels to avoid brake dust.  PAM can hold up to the heat, yet it won’t allow so much dust to collect on the wheels.  Second, spotting road courses is definitely a challenge.  At Sonoma, the spotters are located up towards turn two at the top of the hill.  They can see the majority of the track from there.  And teams will normally use more then one spotter at a track like this (especially Watkins Glen) because you don’t want to put your driver in a bad position because one guy can’t see the whole track. – T.C.

12. From Mike:

I have been given tickets to the Daytona 500 Club for 4th.  Can you see the race from here?  It looks nice online but do we sit at bar the whole race?  They’ll have to roll me out.

You know I’m not overly familiar with the Daytona 500 Club, but after looking around it looks like you can see the front stretch, but not the rest of the track. I’m sure there are TVs in the building though. With an open bar though, can you really go wrong? – Journo

13. From Kim:

Hi guys!  1.  Has any team in NASCAR switched manufacturers mid-season?  2. I was watching the set up in the cold pit at Sonoma (Bud team, of course!) and wondered what each of the four monitors on the pit box showed during the race, and also the two flat screens behind the box.  Thanks.

Me and Journo were discussing this one, and in the modern era, I don’t remember a team switching midseason.  I’m sure its happened in the past, but no specific situation stands out.  Maybe a reader knows?  For your second question, the monitors up top are used to display the race broadcast, the feed from timing and scoring, any engineering data for the crew chief and engineer to use in strategy, and whatever other miscellaneous computer programs teams use (like instant messengers).  The flat screens down low are also used to show the race broadcast, timing and scoring, and the playback from the pit stop camera(s). – T.C.

14. From Ric:

I have noticed that after the Catch Can Man waves his arms that the tank is full, they keep putting fuel in the car, until it?s down on all four tires, sometimes actually moving forward. I would think with the left side of the car up in the air more fuel would be in the tank, hoses, etc then when on all four tires. I do not believe the idling engine is burning that much fuel, so what is the story?

Normally what you are seeing is the catch can and fuel man trying to “pack” the car.  They are trying to make sure the fuel cell and the fill and overflow tubes have every drop of fuel in them possible.  The catch can man will wave when fuel comes out the overflow, then he and the gas man can work a carefully choreographed dance between the gas can and catch can and burp the system, filling it to the gills. – T.C.

15. From Dianne:

How long do we have to tolerate ESPN/TNT coverage?  I am already sick of having to try and find races on TV. Fox was Fox and ABC was ABC! Now I gotta hunt to watch a race let alone listen to those know-nothing broadcasters. Bring me D.W. and Larry Mac!!! at least they KNOW racing…

Well you’ll have to deal with it at least until the end of the season. Beyond that I believe TV contracts are up in 2014. To be frank what we have now is much better then the TV situation 10+ years ago. Prior to now each track operator held their own TV contracts. And at that point in time you had more than just two major track operators. Literally you had a race on a different channel every week. As far as your comment on Larry McReynolds goes, he’s on TNT too. – 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!

Read More

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

Ask The Insiders Wednesday #42

Sep 23rd, 2009 by T.C.

One Chase race down, nine to go.  It’s Wednesday again, so if you’ve got questions, we try really hard to have 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…

1. From Pat:

Simple question: what tool do the pit crews typically use to pry the fenders up off the tire after contact? Is it just a pry bar or something more specialized? Thanks!

Teams use everything from their hands, to hammers and baseball bats, to specialized tools.  Roush has a fender rolling tool they developed some years back that some teams use. – T.C.

2. From Ric:

I have heard that the Michael Waltrip we see on TV is not the real Michael Waltrip. That he just plays the country boy / hick  / hillbilly /  country bumpkin /  image. Any truth to that? Are other drivers out there that are totally different on TV / in front of the fans, then they are in real life / behind the scenes?

I think to some extent the TV side of Michael you see isn’t real.  He’s not quite as funny and goofy as he’d like you to think he is.  And I think because of how corporate NASCAR has become, drivers are more polished when they are on TV and in front of the fans.  They are going to be a little different when they are just around friends or their teams and can loosen the collar a bit. – T.C.

3. From Matt:

What plans does Hendrick have for Landon Cassill? I thought he would have been a perfect driver for the 88 car in NW.

I honestly don’t know of any plans. I believe he is still doing testing for Hendrick and he is running some dirt modified races, but as far as next year goes, I haven’t heard anything. I too think Landon would have been a good candidate for that ride, but with Bires you get someone with a bit more experience and a little bit more assurance. – Journo

4. From Steve:

Each team has their tires for the race laid out in rows behind the pit box. Is there anything to this, are the tires in any particular order?  Or is a tire a tire?  And while I saw pressures being checked before the race, are pressures double checked just before they’re used?

Before the race, all sets of tires will be numbered and then will be used in the race according to a specific order.  The tire specialists will match tires according to stagger, and strategy will dictate which order the sets are used (for example, when to use stickers and when to use scuffs). – T.C.

5. From Kenny:

What do you hear about the #9’s engine? I kinda wonder if someone who was upset about the lay-off notices at RPM might have just forgotten to tighten a bolt, or fasten a nut…

We actually heard it was a broken crankshaft that did Kahne in. Honestly I can see where all the conspiracy theories are coming from, but it’s just not true. Not only would the sabotage have had to have been the greatest the sabotage ever (he makes it 66 laps, qualifying and several practice sessions?), but despite many of these guys probably losing their jobs at the end of the season, they are still looking at bonuses if Kahne wins the championship. In the end they would only be hurting themselves. I honestly believe it was nothing more than a coincidence. – Journo

6. From Amy:

My question revolves around Tony Stewart’s loose (broken?)  axle cap at Louden. One of the announcers said during the broadcast that they probably didn’t even need to bother to fix it? If that is they case why did the team take the time (losing positions) to fix the issue?

The rear axles actually have two caps.  The first is a flat cap that actually holds the axle in the tube.  The second cap screws to the first cap and is a cone shape.  It aids the tire carriers in indexing the new tires during pit stops.  The cap that gave Stewart trouble was the outer, cone shaped cap.  It sounded like the screws were not tightened properly and came loose.  Not fixing the loose cap wouldn’t have led to any mechanical failures, but it would have made subsequent pit stops very difficult for the rear tire carrier, probably resulting in slow pit stops. – T.C.

7. From Amy:

Here is another question I just thought of- this one is directed more towards T.C.  In the last two races, two different crew members have sustained hits on pit road during stops.  In this article on NASCAR.COM ( Dwayne Moore (hit by Tony Stewart at Richmond) mentions  that drivers who hit crew members should get penalized (he specifically mentions tail end). Do you think this is a good idea? When you are over the wall how much trust do you put in the drivers around your pitstall? Is there a way to make it safer?

It might not be a bad thing to consider.  If drivers knew they would be penalized for hitting a guy, they might be more careful.  But the problem is, is none of these incidents happen on purpose.  Drivers aren’t trying to hit guys.  These end up being wrong place, wrong time type of situations and there just isn’t enough time for either party to react quickly enough.  When I’m over the wall, I just have to hope that my guys around me will watch my back and that the drivers are paying attention.  But part of doing what we do is knowing that there is a chance you could get hit.  That is why we now wear firesuits and helmets. – T.C.

8. From Doug:

I feel the new restart rule in the cup series has had an unexpected fall out. It seems now since the lap down cars don’t get any air time (by starting on the inside of the front runners), that sponsors are pulling out and will continue to do so. Since NNWS has gone to this rule you’ll start seeing this trend also.

I’m not really sure what evidence there is of this. I can promise the recent announcements by Jack and Jim had nothing to do with the restart rule. Other than them, I can’t think of any sponsors at any level pulling out. The TV the back markers get really wasn’t all that great before the restart rule, and still remains not great. TV exposure while important, is not the only reason a company sponsors a Cup car though. I don’t think the restart rule has/will have any effect on sponsorships. – Journo

9. From red8814:

Hey TC, when a car ends up backwards in the pit like Ragan did this past weekend, are there any changes in who does what on the stop?  Also, can you extend our “get well soon!” thoughts to Clint Pittman?  You guys in the pits don’t get enough credit for everything you do in the middle of that chaos!

Teams will usually keep their positions, but the problem lies in the tires.  With fronts now in the rear, the rears now in the front, and the sides swapped, guys have to be real careful about knowing which tires they are putting on.  They end up needing to swap tires front to rear, and left to right. – T.C.

10. From ronfrankl via Twitter:

Which teams are likely to have sponsorship issues in the closing weeks of the season? Any teams that might fold?

None that I’m aware of before the end of the season. As far as next season goes, look to those teams, even individually within bigger organizations, that have lost sponsors or are having trouble finding sponsorship. Most of those problems are ones that have been well publicized. – Journo

11. From 4wide via Twitter:

With 5 tracks in the Chase that have lights, why only one Saturday night race and the rest on Sunday against the NFL?

I think this is simple. ABC needs something to go against the NFL on Sundays and they have NASCAR. While in a lot of situations the NFL game is going to do better than the NASCAR race, it will still give ABC a formidable NFL opponent. – 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!

Read More

Posted by on Sep 1, 2019 in Ask the Insiders, Nascar |

Ask The Insiders Wednesday #43

Sep 30th, 2009 by T.C.

It’s the last day of September, and fall is in the air.  The Cup and Nationwide teams take the fight to Kansas Speedway this week, but before they do, it’s question and answer time.  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 Steve:

Re: RPM – Yates merger and the loss of Petty engine jobs.  Isn’t it likely that Yates is going to need to hire at least some more people – perhaps from the RPM engine shop – to handle the increased workload?

It’s possible. At the end of the day they’re only adding two teams though. That may or may not mean more positions at Roush-Yates. I would say even if there are new jobs it’s far from guaranteed someone from RPM would be hired for them, and even if they are I’m sure they would take a pay cut of some kind (which means they may not even be interested). – Journo

2. From Walt:

At the first of the year alot of the teams were having problems with the lug bolts because they were longer. How have the teams adjusted to this issue?

The tire changers have just gotten used to the new stud length.  It forces guys to slow down a bit, and it was just going to take some time for it to happen.  You’ve got to remember, some of these changers have been doing it this same way for five or ten years.  Changing the rhythm overnight was just not going to happen.  Plus, I believe NASCAR has relaxed the rule just a bit. – T.C.

3. From Larry:

Is their anything brewing, in the garage area, pertaining to Johnny Benson landing a ride and sponsorship, for 2010?

Yeah, as we reported a while ago the buzz is JB is heading to Kyle Busch’s potential new team next season. Ray Dunlap reported a couple weeks ago that he’s hearing Conway is a potential sponsor for the team. – Journo

4. From Dan:

Any idea how much a guy like Dave Blaney gets for qualifying and starting a “start and park” car? How are they looked upon from the rest of the teams? Is there an understanding they will stay out of the way as long as they’re on the track after the green flag waves?

A guy like Blaney probably gets a flat fee plus a percentage of the winnings, usually in the 20-40% range depending on the driver.  I can’t speak for everyone, but as long as a S&P doesn’t interfere with my team, I really don’t care.  I know NASCAR isn’t fond of them, and neither are teams that want to race but can’t out-qualify them.  Most of the S&P’ers do a decent job of staying out of the way.  But not always. – T.C.

5. From Martha:

Can you please tell when the 2009 Nascar Chase cup winner banquet will be held and shown on TV?  Date, time, and channel.  We missed it last year and we want to get it on the calendar for this year.  Thanks.

Unfortunately NASCAR hasn’t released a lot of information pertaining to the banquet. We know it’ll be on December 4th a the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, but other than that nothing. When it gets closer and we hear more about it, I’ll be sure to update you. – Journo

6. From Jeanette:

I noticed some time ago that Red Bull Racing has been very clever with the numbers on the car. Brian Vickers in the 83: Inside of the 3 is a sideways “V”! On the 99 Nationwide car of Scott Speed, the numbers look like “SS”. Any idea who was behind this hint of creativity? Team? Driver? Sponsors?

You know I’ve honestly never noticed that before. I don’t know if there is anything to that or if it’s just the script they use (it’s the same on all the cars) and it’s just a coincidence. Usually the designs for the cars come from the teams and are approved by the sponsors. In this case they’re one in the same. Sorry I can’t give you a more conclusive answer. – Journo

7. From Denny:

I have noticed most of the pit boxes have around three monitor screens on them. One looks to be the ABC TV-feed and where does the feed come from on the other couple of screens? One looks like the running order on the track, maybe?

Teams will usually have the live TV feed, timing and scoring, their various engineering programs, and views from the pit stop cameras available to view on the monitors on the pit box. – T.C.

8. From Lee:

I thought Hendrick always prides itself on their open book policy.  So why then is Johnson bragging about some small adjustment they made, when it seems the other Hendrick teams don’t know what that adjustment was. It’s from this article the phrase below:

Those are pretty strong words from a driver considered to be one of the hardest workers in the garage. But Martin is right. While most were watching college football, gambling at the Dover Downs casino or sleeping Saturday night, Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus were looking for an edge.

Finally, as Johnson said, they “just hit something in my stomach.”

It was a small adjustment, one that made Johnson better in the corners. It turned into a huge advantage, one Johnson knew he had two laps into the race. Not even a new rear tire changer slowed the team.

A couple of things. Even if they did share whatever this minor adjustment was, there is no guarantee it would have done anything for the other teams. They’re all likely working with different setups, which means adjustments affect the cars in different ways. Remember too, all of these teams are running for a championship at this point, so you might not necessarily want to give away all your secrets. – Journo

9. From Phil:

Thanks for the opportunity to ask questions and get replies.  You guys are great!!!This weekend, the rain washed off the rubber at Dover before the race and had to be built back up. Can you explain how rubber on the track affects the cars. Does it increase or decrease grip? Increase or decrease tire wear? Does it make the car tight or loose? Does it make passing easier or harder? Sometimes it seems if it?s hot, the announcers say it makes the track greasy and slippery. Other times, if the track has no rubber, it seems like the announcers and drivers look forward to getting rubber build up. I?m totally confused!!!!!Incidentally, as a side story, my only experience with rubber on the track is walking on the track at Bristol before a race. I told my wife to climb to the top of the banking in turn 4 while I stood at the bottom to take her picture. She got up there but was afraid to walk back down for fear of falling so I had to walk up and hold her to walk back down. The rubber on the track was like walking in glue and I almost walked out of my shoe. We looked like total idots in front of 100,000 people!!!!

As a weekend rolls along, a track will get “rubbered in.”  The more laps that are run, the more rubber gets laid down.  How exactly the cars are affected by the rubber really depends on the track, the surface, the weather, and what tire compound the teams are using.  For maximum grip, there needs to be some level of rubber laid down.  Without it, you end up with situations like last year at the Brickyard.  A green race track will usually wear tires faster.  For a more detailed (and scientific) explanation of track surfaces and grip, check out this post. – T.C.

10. From windowlicker:

When the cars or trucks come in for a fuel only pit stop, they are told not to slide into the pits so as not to flat spot the tires. But when  they’re leaving the pit it seems they’re always spinning the tires & sometimes smoking them. Does this affect the grip in the rear tires at all,  especially if the tires are past due to have been changed?

I’m sure that some rubber is lost, but compared to what the tire goes through during a normal lap, I would imagine the amount isn’t significant.  If it was, you’d see crew chiefs instructing drivers to not spin their tires leaving the stall. – 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!

Read More

Posted by on Aug 13, 2019 in Ask the Insiders, Nascar |

Ask The Insiders Wednesday #44

Oct 7th, 2009 by T.C.

We’ve got a short list of questions this week before the Cup and Nationwide Series head to California.  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 Ed:

What do you think of this idea:  no pits stops during caution periods.  Some of the advantages I see are as follows.  Save money,teams will not be putting on tires at every caution even if not needed.  Safety,not as many cars on pit road.  Less caution flag laps,get the beer can off the track and go.  No waiting for the lap cars to pit.  Teams not getting screwed because a caution comes after they pit on green.  It would be interesting to watch how crew chiefs would manage the race.

Not to insult your plan, but I’m not a fan of it. I don’t really see how that saves money, but even if it does I like free reign pit stops. Part of what I like about NASCAR is all the strategy that goes into it. As much as it’s about the driver, in order to win races and perform well it’s about your entire crew. Limiting pit stops would limit the competition in my eyes and I don’t like that. – Journo

2. From Safemike1:

So how come Carl Long got a suspension and fine for having an engine displacement of 358.15 instead of 358, and Jimmy Johnson;s car is .006 out of line and no fine or suspension? Pretty much any car that is out of tolerances has been fined by NASCAR and given points loss or even probation.  Isn’t it time that NASCAR enforce the rules the same all across the board?

Listen I don’t want to speak for NASCAR’s decision making on issues like this (I wasn’t there), but NASCAR doesn’t do itself any favors when this stuff happens. And there are definitely a lot of folks in the garage who weren’t pleased with this. In NASCAR’s defense Carl Long was fined so heavily because he was found with an oversized engine. Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin were pushing it with their bodies and arguably within the tolerance. At the end of the day this is an area that everybody screws with. I’m not saying NASCAR was right or wrong with their decision, but I agree with you that when stuff like this happens it looks bad. – Journo

3. From Tom:

How are teams selected to test tires for Goodyear?  Sorry if this was asked before, I missed it..Thanks

Goodyear usually selects one representative from two to three manufacturers to participate in tests.  They try and do it on a rotating basis. – T.C.

4. From Kenny:

How much performance difference do you get from 4 fresh tires instead of 2? If you had two identical cars starting from the same position on the track, about how long would it take for the car with 4 fresh Goodyears to overtake the one which had only fresh right-sides?  The 14 took 2 on his last stop and still pulled away from the field at the end of the race at Kansas. If you don’t get that much more from 4, why not take 2 every other pit stop just to gain position? Take lefts only often enough to make sure you don’t get blow-outs.  I’m also wondering about sticker tires. I see all the side to side steering to warm up the tires after a round of pit stops during cautions and at the beginning of a race, so I wonder if you lose performance when you make a green-flag stop. Would NASCAR permit a back-marker team running laps for position to scuff sticker tires for other teams?

The effect of four tires versus two really depends on the track.  At a track like Darlington that is very hard on tires, you almost never see a team only take two.  There is no formula for how quickly a car with four fresh tires would overtake a car with two fresh tires.  Tony Stewart was able to stay out front on two tires at Kansas because of that infamous “clean air.”  Being mired back in traffic negates some of the benefits of four tires.  In regards to new tires after green flag stops, drivers know that it will take a few laps at speed for the temps to come up and for the tires to be at their best.  This really happens after all pit stops, not just green flag stops. – T.C.

5. From Rain:

During Sunday’s race, Brad K was told by NASCAR to drive less aggressively around the chasers.  It sort of angered me. Isn’t that his job??? To win a race?

I’m going to straddle the fence on this one. I understand where NASCAR is coming from because you don’t want Brad K. to wreck one of the Chasers and that to impact the championship. On the other side of things he’s out there to race hard and win. That is his job. I don’t think I personally have a good way to look at this situation, but I think you’re justified in being irritated, whatever that’s worth. Here’s a good back and forth about the incident on – Journo

6. From Karen:

What are pit officials looking for when tires are changed?  In other words, I can see that they could easily tell if a lugnut was dropped, but how do they know from a distance that one is loose?  Do they look different?   How can they tell something like that?  Is it an exact science or is it subjective?   (p.s. I bet you can guess why I’m asking that question.  I hate to see a good run – finally! – ruined by something like that, and I really don’t want to hear that it’s one of those judgement calls but I’m betting it is! LOL)

The officials are looking to see if all the lugnuts are on the studs.  The rule specifically says “all lugnuts must be installed before the car leaves the assigned pit box.”  I’m guessing you are referring to Dale Jr’s pit stop at Kansas, and it is my understanding that a lugnut was missing, not loose.  I’ve never heard of a team being penalized by NASCAR for a loose lugnut, because there is really no way for an official to tell if a lugnut is loose or tight. – 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!

Read More

Posted by on Jul 28, 2019 in Ask the Insiders, Nascar |

Ask The Insiders Wednesday #45

Oct 14th, 2009 by T.C.

It’s a home game this week, as both the Nationwide and Cup cars take to the 1.5 mile Lowes Motor Speedway in Concord.  But while the season starts winding to a close, ATIW keeps chugging along.  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 Justin:

Are wheels weighed by NASCAR? Never heard anything about teams lightening wheels so I’m assuming the answer is yes.

I’ve never seen a wheel weighed personally, but the rule book says they must weigh a minimum of 27 pounds uncoated and without valve hardware. – T.C.

2. From Ricky:

What really makes me mad is the fact that Dave Blaney is a great racer, and yet he drives a Start & Park car… I remember the spring race at Talladega where he led quite a few laps….and then he got spun out and parked it! I believe if he would have stayed out there he would have had a good chance at a good finish! I was so angered by the situation! The whole deal of Start and Parks angers me. If you are going to race in NASCAR’s top series, then race! Don’t go out and be whimps and park it. What do you think about this? How did you feel when Blaney put that car up front, then parked it just because of a lousy spin? I really thought that was a bonehead move… I am a big fan of Dave Blaney. Please help cool heads prevail and tell me… WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?!

The answer is they were taking the money and running. That’s the whole purpose of the start and parks. Instead of running the risk that they’ll wreck their equipment by running the whole race, they make a few laps and take the guaranteed money. For their intended purposes and the strength of their equipment it really wasn’t a bonehead move. Whether you agree with it or not, they’re becoming a fact of life. Trust me though, NASCAR is not a fan. – Journo

3. From Dot:

Regarding burning and scraping tires. How do you know when to stop scraping? What happens if you go to far?  Regarding loose/missing lugnuts.  If one is loose or missing (and missed by the official), wouldn’t the other ones hold the tire on?

Scraping a tire after a race run is done to get any excess rubber and garbage off the tread so an accurate tread depth reading can be made.  The tire specialist only scrapes that excess off.  I’m not even sure you could go too far and scrape any of the tread off.  And yes, if there are only four lugs tight they will probably hold the tire on for a while.  But would you really want to take the chance that they don’t hold?  I know I wouldn’t. – T.C.

4. From Jason:

What is the typical amount that a business pays to sponsor a truck in the Camping World Truck series?  I’ve read things like $20 – 30 million for Cup and $15 – 8 million for Nationwide. But I have never heard any number for the truck series. Thank you!

For a full season with a decent team you’re looking at $2 million to $5 million. As far as your Cup Series number goes, many are below that $20 million mark. – Journo

5. From David:

Why do the tires have red stripe on the side wall?

Tires have colored tape on the sidewalls for the tire carriers.  They use that mark to line up the stud holes when they are indexing a tire during a pit stop.  See more about this here. – T.C.

6. From PrincessStewart14:

It has been reported tonight, by Marty Smith, Jim Utter and Jeff Gluck to name a few, that Tom Logano had his hard card pulled for ‘gesturing at Greg Biffle postrace’ [via Marty Smith on Twitter] What are some other things NASCAR would take your hard card? Just what they would deem bad behaviour or harmful?

NASCAR could probably take a hard card for whatever reason they wanted.  Hard cards are technically owned by NASCAR, and they can use the taking of one as punishment.  I’m sure John Darby, Joe Balash, and/or Wayne Auton could probably answer this one better then I can. – T.C.

7. From Michael:

Whatever happened to Fatback Mcswain?

You know that’s a good question and one I don’t have an answer for. Does anyone know anything about Fatback’s whereabouts?

8. From Jeff in SoCal:

Ok so I have to say it! The Nationwide series race was way more entertaining than the Sprint cup race at Auto Club this week. What gives?  Also what would you guys do to tighten up the field in a very cool(love how huge it is), yet boring race track?

I think because we saw more cautions during the NNS race, the field was bunched up more.  When that happens, there is bound to be more side by side racing and more action.  Double file restarts have helped too.  And I have no idea how to fix the racing at Auto Club Speedway.  Maybe tear it down and start over again? – T.C.

9. From Stephen:

I listened to AJ Allmendinger’s post race interview with ESPN at California and to me it sounded like he was trying to throw someone under the bus for his lack of preformance, but he never really came out and said who.  I got the feeling that he was trying to say that Kahne gets the better engine’s. Do ya’ll have any insight on what  Allmendinger was trying to get at?

I’m not exactly sure what you’re referring to, but it’s very possible he was referring to the engine situation at RPM. With the trouble’s they’ve had of late, plus the move to Ford, it’s not doing him, or any other member of the team, any favors in the performance department. And certainly Kahne is going to get the best engines, he’s the only member of the team with a shot at the Championship. – Journo

10. From Ric:

I’ve seen drivers / crew / TV personalities put on and take off the steering wheel. It looks like they just throw it on, no trying to align anything. There must be something to slide the steering wheel into the correct spot.

The steering column has splines on it, and the wheel itself fits onto those splines and has a quick release.  Teams will help their driver line up the wheel prior to the race.  Sometimes you will see drivers pull to the inside during pace laps, and what you are seeing is them setting their wheel.  A tape mark at 12 o’clock tells a driver if the wheel is straight. – T.C.

11. From Neon:

Just as the drivers in Cup have their personal motorcoach delivered to each race, which of the crew chiefs have their motorcoach on the premises? Owners or other crew members?

Most owners have motorcoachs, some crew chiefs do and some team executives do to. Ultimately the guys most likely to have them are the ones who make the most money. You have to figure you’re probably spending $500,000+ on a coach, $30,000+ a year on a coach driver, and then thousands of dollars more on fuel, and upkeep. With the small number of spaces available it’s a pretty restrictive thing for those who are not drivers. – Journo

12. From Larry:

What does the announcement, by Con-way Freight, that they are moving to the Nationwide Series, with Colin Braun, do to the rumored sponsorship of Johnny Benson, in the Truck Series?

This means that Johnny won’t be sponsored by Conway. Beyond that I unfortunately can’t really offer any more insight into the situation. Does this mean Johnny won’t be back to the truck series next year? Absolutely not. Beyond the initial rumors of him going to Kyle Busch’s team next year though I really haven’t heard anything else. – 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!

Read More

Posted by on Jul 1, 2019 in Ask the Insiders, Nascar |

Ask The Insiders Wednesday #46

Oct 21st, 2009 by T.C.

We’ve got a good batch of questions for you this week, and many from some new names which is great to see!  Remember, there are no stupid questions here, and even if we’ve answered a question in the past, we will answer it again.  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 Scott:

How are the rims handled in NASCAR?  Does Goodyear haul them from race to race?  If Goodyear always has the rims do they check them for damage and how are old and new rims rotated in and out of the line up?  Thanks, and I love your website!

A company called Champion Tire & Wheel hauls all of the wheels for the teams to the track, and they also store them and check them for damage before the races.  Champion also transports the pit boxes and some other equipment for most Cup teams and many of the Nationwide teams. – T.C.

2. From Donald:

What happend to Scott Riggs. I haven’t heard his name anywhere for the last 2 months.

As far as I know he’s out there looking, like a lot of other guys. I don’t really know anything specific, sorry. – Journo

3. From Sue:

Does NASCAR prior to qualifying ever check the fuel in the cars  to verify that additional additives such as more alcohol were not added by the teams?

If NASCAR wants a fuel sample, they usually do it after qualifying is over. – T.C.

4. From fanwanzabee:

Were there as many empty seats at Saturday’s race as it seemed to me watching on TV.  This is bad news for all,  When I go to a race, about half my money goes to other things than tickets.

Yes. I’m not good at estimating how many were in the crowd, but attendance was the worst I’ve ever seen at Lowes. Tom Sorenson at the Charlotte Observer wrote a little bit about it. This season has definitely been different. Charlotte in the last few years has been one of those tracks where you could get tickets up until race time, but the crowd has always been pretty good. It’ll be interesting to see how attendance does next season. – Journo

5. From Woogeroo:

With all the hullabaloo over consistent start times and things, I started wondering what exactly that meant. Talking heads start time? National Anthem singing? The fly over? Green flag waving? I miss the days when you turned on the race and they were on the parade lap. I’m glad NASCAR gets coverage and all, but jeez… I really only care about the race. -W

All that means is that the official start time will be standardized. That still means the race won’t start for 15-20 minutes after that “start time.”  – Journo

6. From Anonymous:

What is it that is making the 48 team so good? I do not believe Jimmie is a better driver than Tony, Jeff or even Carl and Kyle. It’s hard to believe other teams haven’t figured it out yet. Are the resources and “under the hood talent”  that much different between the A level teams??

Like I said in my post today, if I knew exactly what the answer to this question was, I’d be a rich man.  My guess is that it’s not necessarily that one of the parts is better, it’s that the sum of the parts is just a bit better.  Jimmie + Chad + Hendrick equipment + team 48 = success.  I promise you though, teams are working overtime trying to figure out how to beat the 48. – T.C.

7. From Ella:

I don’t understand how there can be such a difference in performance in COT cars from the same stable.  It is said that the crew chiefs share information among themselves but then you have Carl Edwards limping along while his teammates run much faster.  Same with Earnhardt and his team mates.  One would think there would be more parity.  What things make a difference?

You’ve got to remember that every driver wants their car setup differently.  What works for Jimmie Johnson might not necessarily work for the other three Hendrick drivers; and vice versa.  So copying the 48’s setup exactly won’t make Jeff Gordon run as good.  The teams share information, but drivers and crews need to know how to use and apply that information the best possible way to go fast.  And you also need to keep in mind that we are still very earlier in the life cycle of the COT.  Teams are still doing a ton of R&D to figure out what the car needs to be really good. – T.C.

8. From Big John:

Great site guys!  If a team picks up a new sponsor during a race weekend, is there a grafix company that travels the circuit that can make decals for the cars?

I don’t believe any of the graphics companies have a mobile operation, but I do believe that they will overnight decals to a track if they have enough warning.  If it’s too late for that, I’d imagine a team would have to track down somebody locally to get the printing done.  Maybe if somebody from TDS or Motorsports Designs reads our blog they could give us more details. – T.C.

9. From Ron:

We tend to take for granted improved safety in NASCAR, thanks to advancements like the COT, SAFER barrier, etc.  My question is, has any Cup driver missed seat time this season due to an injury received on the track?  I can’t recall any.

Not any Cup drivers. We’ve seen some pretty gnarly wrecks, but thankfully, thanks in large part to these safer features, no one has been seriously injured. Off track is a different story. Turns out walking on your dock and playing Frisbee is more dangerous than driving a stock car.  – Journo

10. From Roger:

Todays post about the #48 got me thinking a little about cautions that are called. Sometimes (especially late in a race), a caution will come out for debris which turns out to be a water bottle, obviously thrown out of one of the cars.  A situation like this usually ends up with 3 to 5 laps under the yellow and everyone (who wants to) pitting. This changes the strategy and dynamics of the race and could be blamed on a driver (at least in my mind!)  Why does NASCAR treat an obvious and possibly planned strategy as it does? In my opinion, they should check/clear the track as necessary and get back to racing with the pits closed all the time during that yellow.

Unless there is video of a driver doing something blatant, there really is no way to know where debris came from.  It could have been a water bottle out of the stands.  I know in the past drivers have tried to tear off pieces of roll bar padding and throw them out windows to cause a caution.  Sometimes they got away with it, and sometimes they got caught.  Wasn’t it Carl Edwards that got busted a few years ago for this?  Either way, I don’t think NASCAR is going to start saying which caution periods you can and can’t pit during.  If they did, people would probably start saying that NASCAR was only allowing teams to pit during a certain caution because it benefited a Dale Jr. or a Jimmie Johnson. -T.C.

11. From Ben:

Now that the #48 and #5 have passed NASCAR extended tech inspection 3 weeks in a row has Jack Roush backed off on his “Hendrick is cheating” rant.  Reminds me his “Tiregate” accusations…

Jack Roush is a little like Felix Sabates. He likes to open his mouth from time to time and complain or just say generally outlandish things. He’s Jack Roush though and he can get away with it. – Journo

12. From Chris:

If JPM were to win the Championship would this give F1 fans bigger egos about being better drivers?

I don’t think so. I think it would be a testament to Juan’s talent though. – 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!

Read More