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!