The 2009 season is officially on the road to Homestead, and with the end of the first weekend brought an onslaught of reader questions. Keep them coming! 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 Eddie:
How come the Toyota Camry COT nose looks different???
The nose is the same, but I think what you are seeing is the different decal package they have for this year. The grill sticker is slightly different, as is the “CAMRY” on the front. – T.C.
2. From Chris:
When will we see a female driver racing in the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard?
That is a good question Chris. I think the answer to that is when we have a female driver that is competitive in big time stock car racing. Certainly there are some promising prospects out there, but only time can give you a definite answer. – Journo
3. From Red Kneck:
If the lug nuts are glued on the wheel, what keeps the last 4 from popping off when you tighten the first down?
We glue the lugs on the wheel directly over the stud holes. When the tire is hung, the lugs are hanging on the end of the stud. The glue we use is slightly elastic, and strings of it will keep them straight on the studs while we tighten the other lugs. – T.C.
4. From Scott:
What do teams do with all the car parts that can not be reused? Obviously things like sheet metal are sold to fans but what about things like bent suspension pieces and engine parts? Is anything sold for scrap?
Yes, many parts are sold for scrap. If it’s metal and completely unusable, normally it will be tossed in a scrap bin. Many parts though are sold to be reused by smaller teams who can’t afford new stuff. Companies like 2nd Chance Race Parts will buy and sell used stuff. – T.C.
5. From Jeff:
Hi guys whats up! Ford Motor Company released some information on their new Ford Taurus SHO which should be released some time in 2010. This got me thinking about the cars and manufacturers currently in NASCAR. Do you think that with the sporty SS Impala and Charger that Ford would ever bring back the Taurus in light of the SHO edition. I would love to see Pontiac come back into NASCAR with the G8 and possibly Nissan with the new sporty Maxima. What do you guys think, ever gonna happen?
I doubt you’ll see the return of the Taurus in NASCAR. The Taurus of old was actually discontinued in favor of the Fusion. When Ford figured out the Taurus name was still worth something they renamed the Five-Hundred the Taurus. Today the once mid-size Taurus is an entry level full size luxury sedan. I think the Fusion is here to stay.
Don’t expect Pontiac to return to NASCAR. At one point the marketing for GM’s brands was done seperately. This is not the case today. The prospect of spending millions of dollars to re-launch in a sport GM already has one brand in doesn’t look too appealing to company at the very edge of liquidity.
Now I think it is possible that you will see other manufacturers enter the sport years from now. The real litmus test for all of them will be the big three. If they stay and continue to see value in their sponsorships perhaps other manufacturers might too. – Journo
6. From Hal:
Why the new pit stop rule for fuel and tires being prohibited in the truck series?
The main purpose of the new pit stop rule in the truck series was to save teams money. You could make a really strong case that it has not done that. As for their having to make two trips down pit road, this is because there aren’t enough people over the wall to handle everything in just one stop. For safety reasons they are requiring them to go down twice. – Journo
7. From Alan:
When they show a close up of the flagman, like at the start of a race I can see a small platform in front of him. I have been watching races for 25 years and have never seen this before. Is this something new and what is its purpose.
If I’m thinking of the same thing you are, you are either seeing a set of caution lights or possibly the board they post car numbers on when a driver has been black flagged. That’s about all it could be. – T.C.
8. From Joe T., Gary:
How many of the pit crew have been hit or hurt by the flying lug nuts? Or have any spectators actually been hit? ALSO: It would seem many pit crew members would get hit by lugnuts removed during a pitstop when the cars spin tires during exit from box….how often does this happen & if not, why???
This seems to be a popular question. This is the third and fourth time its been asked over the last couple of weeks. Yes, crew members do sometimes get hit by flying lugnuts after a pit stop. The guys in the worst spot tend to be the fuel guy and catch can guy. I’m not aware of any spectators being hit. And yes, I’ve been hit by an errant lugnut. It hurts. – T.C.
9. From Savannah:
Now that the season has started back, can you describe a typical race weekend? Specifically, when do you have to leave NC to travel to the race and what is your weekend like? As a tire changer, are you present for the practice sessions or do you just arrive on race day? Thanks for answering the questions during the offseason.
Most road crew (mechanics, crew chief, etc.) will leave earlier in the week then the straight weekend warrior/B team guys. When they leave Charlotte all depends on the track schedule and how far away the track is. B team guys will leave either the day before the race, or sometimes the morning of the race depending on how far they’re going. Whether pit crew guys are present for practices, etc. really depends on their job. Some over the wall guys are also mechanics, and some aren’t. If they aren’t, they’ll just show up on race day. Days at the track can be very long sometimes. Once the race is over, we pack everything up, head to the airport, and fly home. – T.C.
10. From Joe J.:
Can anything be done about the bias coverage on TV (Speed TV and FOX) in Nascar racing. It seems Toyota is given so much coverage by the color commentators Darrell Waltrip and Larry Mac are the worse. Michael Waltrip is a close third. This really seems like a conflict of interest.
Probably not. The rule of thumb to think about in this situation is, if you’re not wrecking or winning, you’re probably not going to get a lot of coverage. This past season we saw a relatively new manufacturer doing exceedingly well on track, which is why they were perhaps getting a little more coverage. As far as people with conflicts of interest working in the media, I can tell you that I am not a fan. This is one of those issues that straddles that ethical line. If I own a team, or receive money from a sponsor I have absolutely no business promoting them on the air (unless of course I paid for the time). – Journo
11. From Dave:
Please talk about the logistics of having to have a quick turnaround to go from Daytona to California. How does it effect the team with loading cars and equipment?
What it really comes down to, is having everything ready to go in advance. Before most teams even left for Daytona, their California stuff was already prepared and ready to go. And their Vegas stuff was probably not far behind. The haulers will return to the shop, switch out cars (or trucks), re-stock parts and supplies, and take off again. Many teams have also gone to having two truck drivers, so that they can keep the truck moving and not worry about being illegal with log books. - T.C.
12. From Neon:
OK, the Lucky Dog was designed to eliminate cars/trucks from racing back to the flag during a caution period to try and get a lap back. OK I understand that. I also understand why Vickers (who wrecked) and Jr. (who caused the wreck) were not allowed to earn the LD. What I don?t understand is why NASCAR did not award Robbie Gordon the LD because he did maintain race speed during the malay. So no one in the field got to be the LD for that caution. Is NASCAR?s stance that the first lap down car, that is not involved in a wreck but is in a position to race the leader back to the flag, the only eligible LD recipient? My argument is that timing loop yellow lights and scoring should take care of the danger of racing back and RG was entitled top a freebie. Sure makes racing complicated!
The rule says (I’m paraphrasing) that NASCAR will give the free pass to the first car one (or more) laps down at the time of caution. If the car that would be eligible for the free pass is determind by NASCAR to have been involved in the caution, or the cause of it, there will be no free pass given. – T.C.
13. From Terry:
Why aren’t the drivers, families, and crews more patriotic when the National Anthem is played? Like remove hats and cover the heart.
Are you thinking of someone in particular? I know sometimes the guys don’t cover their hearts, but that is not necessarily a required thing. A couple of things to think about. It is really hard to hear the National Anthem on pit road. All of the speakers are in the stands and pointed away from everyone standing down there. Another thing is, sometimes guys are still trying to get themselves or their team ready before the race starts. Probably not a great excuse, but I promise no one means any disrespect. – 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!