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!