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!