It’s a rare off weekend for all three major NASCAR series. But we here at TNI don’t take days off, and we are back with the 14th edition of Ask The Insiders. 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 Susan:
TJ told Jr that a car was waving another car by during a caution. Then TJ said that the ‘new rules’ are that if a car allows one past then he must let all cars by. Do you know what they are talking about? Jr was trapped in front of the leaders when this happened.
I’m not exactly sure what he means. I scanned the rule book and looked for any possible addendum and I couldn’t find anything. I’ll keep my ears open and if I hear anything I will get back to you. Sorry. – Journo
2. From Charlotte:
Hi there, my family and I live in Australia and at the end of April will be heading state side for 7 weeks. 2 of those weeks will be at our 1st time nascar race at Charlotte athough I am a huge nascar fan and this is my dream I am bringing a husband, and 3 children aged 9,7and 4 ,1 girl 2 boys who are not keen race fans we will also be in an RV which our family never has done before. Any tips on what to do so i am happy and my kids and hubby as well.
Perfect timing. We actually just had a post about this where other fans had the opportunity to give advice for first time race goers. Here is the link. If you have any questions or would like some further elaboration please don’t hesitate to email us. I hope you have a blast in Charlotte! – Journo
3. From Savannah:
Who do you think is currently the most underrated driver in the Sprint Cup series? Is there an overrated driver? Thanks for answering the questions.
This is a hard one. Throughout the entire sport I think Cale Gale is very underrated and under utilized. I think he deserves a chance at a full time ride. He has shown a lot in the little stints he has had here and there. The most overrated? I think you could probably make a convincing argument for a lot of guys; for instance Dale Jr. (only because of the attention he receives) and Juan Montoya (though I believe he has the potential to do a lot more than what he is presently doing). – Journo
4. From Michael:
In regards to team members appearing in sponsors commercials. Are they compensated for their appearance,or does it come along with the sponsorship agreement with the team?
Don’t quote me on this, but I believe per the Screen Actors Guild, if you appear in a commercial you have to be compensated based on a certain scale. And if you are a principal in the spot (they show your face) you get residuals. – T.C.
5. From Eric:
Hey, guys! I was just wondering about your caps. I have noticed in the last couple of seasons that all teams have the same design for their pit caps, with only team colors and logos to differentiate. Is this something that the sanctioning body pushed for? I personally liked it better when the teams all had different designs for the first and second halves of the year. It made them more collectable, too.
I am guessing what you’re seeing is Motorsports Authentics cost cutting measures. Everbody uses them, so it is much cheaper for them to just create a standard hat and change the logos and team colors. It is not a forced measure by the body, but I think it is cheaper for everyone involved to take advantage of. I agree with you though, it does kill the fun of team hats. – Journo
6. From Marc:
My question is about the restart order after cautions occurring in the midst of green flag pit stops. This is a little complicated to explain, so the question is a bit long. Several cars that pitted and are now lap down don’t have to pit. Those cars now pass the lead cars when those cars pit, and they are now at the tail end of the lead lap. Those tail end cars, start behind the pace car, on the outside row with the leaders behind them. But the cars that are still a lap down after pitting, get to pull up, not to the leader but to the car thats behind the pace car. So, not only do the cars that pitted before the caution get their laps back and start ahead of the car in 1st but so do the cars still a lap down… I am not going to suggest that cars that get their laps back because the leaders pit and they don’t go all the way around to the tail end of the outside line. But, wouldn’t it be a much better idea to have the first car one lap down start inside the leader and not inside the first lead lap car behind the pace car? Why does NASCAR do restarts the way they do?
I agree with you that the whole thing is a little screwy (personally I think that it would make a lot more sense if they just had those cars pass the pace car and go to end of the line). If I understand you correctly, the cars only technically get their laps back, and ultimately with the momentum of the lead cars it doesn’t really matter. The method you suggest would make sense, but that means you would have to hold them back with the leader and I think that would get a little crazy on restart. As far as why NASCAR does it this way, all I can say is why does NASCAR do a lot of the things they do? I honestly have no idea. – Journo
7. From BB:
When it comes to a young driver “breaking into nascar” references are ofter made to who can “write the big check”. Exactly what does this mean and how does the whole process typically work?
What this means is if you can write a check for $5 million a team is going to be more than happy to put you in a car. Now it is not that expensive if you are just interested in one race (or a full season in a lower series). You can do one race for around $60,000 in the truck series and a little more in the Nationwide Series (depending on the team). I don’t know the exact process, but what it comes down to is presenting your credentials and a money offer to a team. This is how guys like John Wes Townley and Paul Menard, among others, have rides. It is unfortunate, but for a lot of young drivers, having money (either personally or through sponsorship) is key to breaking into the very costly upper levels of NASCAR. – Journo
8. From Kenny:
TC, how many laps does it take to “scuff” a tire? Is there a reason why a crew chief would choose to put on “stickers” if he has some scuffs available? Are the stickers actually removed before the tire is used?
It only takes a few laps to scuff a tire. Sometimes as few as two laps is sufficient. Whether or not a crew chief uses scuffs or stickers depends on the race track and the specific situation. If you’ve got an abrasive track, you always want stickers. If you’ve got a hard compound, sometimes tires are actually better after they’ve been run a few laps and the “new is knocked off them.” And no we don’t remove the stickers before we put the tires on the car. The track/tire friction does a pretty good job of that. – T.C.
9. From Dave:
How do they line up the tires to the lugs in the pits so quickly~even without the pressure it takes me awhile…
Check out this post I wrote a while back. It’s about tape marks. Scroll about half way down and you’ll find the answer! – T.C.
10. From Jeremy:
How do the tire changers keep the lug nuts glued to the wheel after they tighten one of the lug nuts? Wouldn’t they fall off?
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.
11. From windowlicker:
During qualifying at many tracks, why does it seem to be more difficult to get a faster second lap than first?
It’s all about tires. Soft compounds and abrasive race tracks mean the tires just aren’t as good on that second lap. You see at places like Darlington, and now Atlanta, that cars will fall off a couple of seconds per lap from the start of the run to the end. So at tracks like this, unless the driver screws up the first lap, you probably won’t see a pickup on the second. – T.C.
12. From Mr. Ed:
What’s the dumbest thing you have done on tv and what happend to the 47s guy if we don’t know yet ?
As hectic as pit stops can be, I think it’s only a matter of time before something stupid that happens is caught on tape. I actually wrote about a little experience I had that was shown on TV. And it came out today that NASCAR is suspending the 47′s gas man for four races and placing him on probation… – T.C.
13. From Dan:
Why did NASCAR change the length of the wheel stud which you say is creating the loose lugnut issue?
While I’m not exactly sure what NASCAR’s official reasoning was behind the rule change, it was most likely a safety issue. Some teams had gotten pretty crazy with the stud length, and I’m sure NASCAR wasn’t cool with only a tiny bit of threaded metal holding tires on. – 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!