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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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Posted by on Dec 15, 2018 in Ask the Insiders, Nascar |

Ask The Insiders Wednesday #135

It’s an off week for the Cup Series, but never fear, there is still plenty of NASCAR action on tap for the weekend.  The Trucks and Nationwide cars are off to tackle the concrete of Nashville Superspeedway on Friday and Saturday night.  While you work through another week, here’s another 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 Chris:

I have been watching NASCAR for several years now and I notice that certain tracks (mostly intermediate tracks) seem boring and allow the cars to get spread out. I just went to the Kentucky race and it is one of the tracks I am talking about. I’ve never seen a good race there, in any of the series. So…is it really the track style that promotes the cars getting spread out? And why? Or is it something else. Whatever it is, I don’t like it!

Yes, it is absolutely the track style that causes the spread out racing.  Usually on these types of tracks, there is plenty of room to race thanks to the track’s length and width.  Multiple grooves mean drivers can race from the top to the bottom, and race side by side with less danger of crashing.  Drivers don’t need to root each other up out of the groove to pass.  Wide tracks mean long green flag runs, and spread out fields. – T.C.

2. From Neon:

TC and Journo-I wanted to give you a full week to ponder this question. Speaking from your “insider’s” perspective, can both of you list some items (both technical and non-technical) within NASCAR racing as a whole that you feel could or should be changed, or left alone for that fact? Maybe they are to benefit the fans, or NASCAR, or you personally as your livelihood is within the industry. TNI’s version of the fan council if you will. You have the floor…

Hmmm… I think a lot is going well right now. As with everything I think there could be more transparency for the benefit of fans; it would be great to see cars that looked a little prettier; and it would be nice to see NASCAR making more changes for the benefit of racing and fans, instead of the benefit of their bottom line (cough, Indianapolis, cough). – Journo

This is going to sound totally self serving, but I wish NASCAR and the broadcast partners did more to promote the crew guys.  There are so many great stories in the garage area and up and down pit road that could be shared.  I feel like NASCAR is missing out on a solid opportunity to add compelling content to the broadcasts by overlooking the crew guys.  I also think we should bring back the old way of fueling the cars.  Bring back the old cans and let the catch can guys get back at it.  The fuel is too much of a question mark right now, and I think it’s taken away some of the competitiveness from pit road.  I agree with Journo that the cars need to keep evolving into a more stock look, and I think NASCAR needs to significantly improve their online offerings.  RaceBuddy needs to exist for all events, and things like streaming race replays and more video are desperately needed. – T.C.

3. From Anthony:

Just read the question about fueling a car on a right side tire change pit stop made me think of this question when a car is jacked up on the right side and being fueled from the left side which would be the lower side, seams that then the fuel cell would not be able to be completely filled because of it being higher on the right side, or is the fuel cell designed to be filled cpmpletely even at a angle?

I believe you would be right.  The cells fill from the middle, so if the car were left jacked up on the right side, I don’t believe it would be possible to get it completely full.  Usually though, if a team is going to do just right side tires and a full load of fuel, you’ll see the jack man lower the jack on the right side so as to get the car completely full. – T.C.

4. From James:

Do tire changers “specialize” in being front or rear on a team or do they change up from race to race?

For the most part, yes, the changers stay where they are each week.  There are plenty of guys up and down pit road that can do both front and rear, but unless there is some problem that needs to be addressed, guys won’t just switch.  Rear guys stay on the rear and front guys stay on the front. – T.C.

5. From Michael in SoCal:

Hi Insiders. Quick question about the Camping World Truck Series – how feasible would it be to make the trucks all-weather vehicles, so that they could race in the rain? I noticed that the in the British Pickup Truck racing series, the racetrucks have rear safety lights, windshield wipers and rain tires to allow rain racing. I thought this would make for an interesting element for the series, although the high number of rookies who race in the NCWTS might make this improbable. Thanks for all the great insight.

Hi Michael! NASCAR has repeatedly proven the feasibility of running stock cars in the rain on road courses which is almost exclusively what the UK Pickup Truck Series races on (the exception being their Rockingham). The problem is, the racing isn’t very good when we’ve run races in the rain – on top of that is the issue of running rain tires on ovals, which is exclusively what the trucks run. – Journo

6. From Christopher:

I have been watching racing for my whole life and I am still in awe of how good these drivers, crews and cars are. So often, lap times for a majority of the field are within tenths or hundreths of a second. I realize that drivers have different attributes and prefer different set-ups, but where would you say the biggest differences come in: the cars or the drivers? For example, if you look at different teams, you see sometimes big disparities in performance on a weekly basis: Busch and Logano, Johnson and Earhardt Jr., Harvick and Burton, etc. So I ask that in conjunction with this: What aspects of a team do drivers look at when they are changing teams? As always, thanks guys!

At the sport’s best teams, it’s a combination of a lot of things. The driver, the equipment, the crew chief, etc. Gibbs is a perfect example – Kyle Busch is winning because (1) Kyle is a great driver, (2) he has a good crew chief, and (3) and he’s in good equipment. Joey Logano also has (1) good equipment and (2) a good crew chief, but he’s less experienced than Kyle and is therefore not as dominate (certainly that could change). Drivers consider the above criteria when making a move, but team stability, sponsorship and money certainly play a role too. Drivers want to be competitive, want to win races and championships, but they, like any of us, want to make money too. – Journo

7. From Michael in SoCal:

Hi Guys. So it seemed Jamie McMurray didn’t have a functioning radio during Sunday’s race, hence his crew guys making a sign late in the race telling him to ‘Save Gas’. I thought you had to have a functioning radio so that you can communicate with (or at least hear) your spotter. Why was the #1 allowed to remain on the track without a working radio? Thanks.

NASCAR does require teams to have working radios, but I’m not sure if it was just that they couldn’t hear McMurray, or if neither side could hear the other. I will say if NASCAR thought it was an issue, McMurray would have been black flagged. – Journo

8. From Chris:

The 88 was penalized for a tire violation and sent to the end of the longest line during the last caution period at New Hampshire. the only thing i saw was one of the crew guys fall on a tire while it was still in the pit box while the care left, is that the violation? or did i miss something? thanks! love your site, you guys do a great service answering these questions!

Thanks Chris! According to the rule the tire has to be halfway back to pit wall when the car leaves the stall. Since the crew member tripped over the tire it was technically in violation of the rule. It’s one of those things that is at the discretion of the official, but rules are rules. – 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 Nov 5, 2018 in Ask the Insiders, Nascar |

Ask The Insiders Wednesday #86

Road racing returns this weekend as the Cup and NNS cars head up to Watkins Glen.  While they are turning left and right, and doing backwards pit stops, the truck series takes on the Nashville Superspeedway.  As we work through another week, here are more 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 Garry:

How often do you AND your driver practice the exact routine of the car pulling in and out of the pit stall? How many times does it take to be perfect? When you are working with a new driver or at a tougher track (like Bristol) do they allow you extra time to practice a lot? Is it true that “pit mates” (drivers in ajoining pit stalls) try to coordinate their stops, to stay out of each other’s way? It seems so many things can go wrong. Do you have any good stories about bad blood rivals who are battling and then winding up next to each other? ( e.g if Horse face and lil Brad wound up next to each other. It might make things interesting)

You won’t find most drivers at the shop driving the pit stop car for practice.  Some teams will use their development drivers or just a shop guy to do the driving.  Once most guys get to a certain point in their career, practicing getting into and out of the pit stall just isn’t necessary I guess.  And the only real example of a track that sticks out where we might do some extra practice is for this weekend’s race at Watkins Glen because the pit stops are backwards.  Other then that, the rest of the tracks get the same amount of prep usually.  In terms of pit road neighbors, you try as much as you can to coordinate stops, but often it just isn’t possible.  The hope is that the guys around you are either on a different lap or fall out early, so your driver has a clean path in and out.  And there are plenty of times where teams end up pitting next to each other and things get ugly.  There have been instances where crew members have thrown lugnuts and other objects at an opposing driver as they come by, pit boards have been hit by drivers, there have been plenty of shoving matches, and there is always going to be a ton of yelling when things go south. – T.C.

2. From Bill:

Why not let the cars that make the chase all race together and have another race for the other cars. Nascar asks the other cars to move over and not race the chase cars. This makes for poor racing and the other cars cannot win.

I’m not really sure what the question is here, but NASCAR doesn’t ask other cars to roll over for the Chasers. In fact Jamie McMurray, a non-chaser, won the race at Talladega during the Chase last season. – Journo

3. From Michael:

Regarding Tool sponsorship. Mac, Snap-On, Craftsman, etc. Are the tools given to the teams, discounted, or on loan? Or is each team contract different with each vendor?

The contracts can be different, but for the big teams, when the team itself needs tools, they are usually given or highly discounted.  Remember though, the guys who work in the shop use their own tools and must pay for all of their own equipment.  With the shop guys, they are usually given a discount, but nothing is free. – T.C.

4. From Marty:

After watching the wide array of tire strategies at Pocono I offer you this question… Has anyone ever taken 3 tires in a pit stop? How about just 1 tire?

Not that I’ve ever heard of.  Getting one tire takes the same amount of time as it does to get two, as does the time for three versus four.  So it wouldn’t really make sense.  Plus, it would give the car really odd handling characteristics to have grip at one corner, but not the others. – T.C.

5. From Jackie:

On Sunday’s race, I noticed that start and park teams would come in and then go back out on the track – Why? Do they not want to be listed as last or are they trying to better their position? At what point in the race do the start and park teams say enough is enough and call it a race?

Most are trying to just be able to finish a little better.  Remember most don’t have pit crews, so if they are going to run longer then a tire/fuel run, they’ve got to do something to change tires and add fuel.  A few minutes in the garage can do the trick.  And the agendas will vary by team.  Some of the bare bones operations will just run a few laps because they are fine with last place money.  Others might be attempting to make more money, and score more points, so they may stay out longer. – T.C.

6. From Debbie:

While watching the Pocono race a driver, I want to say Denny Hamlin, but don’t quote me on that, said his tires were over rotating. How can that be and what does that mean? Thanks!

I’ve never heard a driver say his tires were over-rotating.  I have heard them say that about their car though.  If a car is over rotating, it just means it’s loose in the corners. – T.C.

7. From Kevin:

First off, the 48 dumped the 2. Everybody who has ever watched a race with bump drafting knows you dont do it unless your wheels are straight. The 48 was turning left the entire time and clearly turned the 2. No question about it. Kurt should have gone and kicked some ass. I am sure he will in coming weeks. Secondly, how great was the racing at the end of the race? For about 20-40 laps there we saw some of the best racing of the season. All through the pack. I am so tired of the people complaining, if they didn’t like the racing right after the rain stoppage then they should just quit watching, b/c it won’t get much better. Finally, do you think the recent success of two tire stops is due to the flat nature of the last two tracks? I imagine someone taking two tires at say, Vegas, will suffer a lot more due to the speed all the way around the track. I do enjoy the mixing of strategies though.

To your first point, I don’t think Jimmie dumped him, I think Jimmie got sloppy and made a poor decision. To your second point, I couldn’t agree more. I think we have had stellar racing this season. And to your last point, the two tire strategy works when everything comes together right. Certainly tire wear is a factor, but how many laps are left, who took four versus two, and how many all  play a role. It has played a role the last two weeks. – Journo

8. From steve:

Any idea what was going on with Brian Pattie and Montoya, especially Pattie’s barb that Montoya needs to come to Charlotte to practice pit stops? How redfaced do you think ESPN is that they had zero cameras on Sadler? But for his crash sneaking into the Busch coverage, they would have had nothing at all on one of the worst wrecks in NASCAR this year.

Montoya screwed something up, and they had a 17 second stop (I would imagine he messed up getting into the box), so Pattie called him out. Montoya was then upset that Pattie called him out, and he was upset about losing track position because they got four tires. JPM is notorious for his ability to express his feelings. To your second question, I think it’s the nature of the beast. This sort of thing is the nightmare of every sports television director – missing that key play (or in this case a wreck) because they didn’t have a camera – but it happens because you just can’t have cameras everywhere. I’d be willing to bet there have been some serious discussions this week about how to make sure this doesn’t happen again. – Journo

9. From Lost in Texas:

Anything new in the Jeremy Mayfield case?

I haven’t heard anything new. The last I heard was that Mayfield’s legal team had asked Judge Mullen to reconsider his ruling, a formal step before they can appeal to the 4th Circuit Court. – Journo

10. From Kipp:

T.C.- This is a great outlet and source of information and discussion. Thank you for you and Journo’s efforts. With the recent fine given to Denny Hamlin, have you worried any about potential fines or punishment coming from NASCAR for operating on this forum?

Thanks Kipp!  Glad you are enjoying what we do.  And no, neither myself nor Journo is worried in any way about being fined or punished by NASCAR.  We operate a very fair website, and if they ever took exception to something we wrote, all it would take is a simple request, and they could post a rebuttal here.  Also, I think it’s important to note that NASCAR didn’t fine somebody in the press, it was drivers.  If they did ever try and penalize a media member, it would come to light pretty quickly.  And, as our regular readers know, we’ve been very critical of NASCAR at times (see Tuesday’s blog post), and they have yet to even bother contacting us. – T.C.

11. From derek:

Why does a crew member use a propane torch to heat the tire up and then scrape it?

The crew guy is using the torch and the scraper to clean off any build up on the tires so the tire specialist can get an accurate reading of the tire’s tread depth after a run.  When a car is running around the track, especially under caution and heading to pit road, the hot tires will pick up rubber and all sorts of other things.  Cleaning them allows the teams to figure out how much rubber was actually worn off over the course of a run. – T.C.

12. From M. Sauter:

With the season winding down, and sponsors signing or leaving, when should Kahne fans begin to panic?Right now, he has no ride and no sponsor.

There isn’t a point you should start panicking. Kasey will be in a car next season. Where that’s at is still yet to be seen, but Kasey will absolutely be driving somewhere next season. Rick Hendrick didn’t sign Kasey to sideline him. Don’t worry! Everything will be worked out…eventually. – 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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