It’s hard to believe, but this is the 30th edition of ATIW! We’ve got another full slate of questions to get to, so I will save the babbling for the answers. 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 Ella:
Is being a spotter or a pit crew member a full time job? Do they have work responsibilities outside of race days at the tracks?
Every situation is different. Some guys work in the shop during the week, others don’t. During the week, pit crew guys are responsible for being at practices and workouts, but if they don’t work in the shop or in the office for the team, that’s it. Every spotter is different. Just to give you an example, I believe (don’t quote me) Kyle Busch’s spotter actually is a driver agent for Motorsports Management International. It really just depends. - T.C.
2. From Jan:
I know everyone is in a hurry to leave after the race. Do you have to take off the tires immediately and return them to Goodyear or can you just load the car and return the tires later in the week? What other stuff has to be done before you can load the car?
Yes, tires do have to be returned immediately following the race to Goodyear. Teams have a set of travel/setup tires they will put on the car to load it. Other tasks after the race include removing the transponder and wing (Cup cars), possibly going through inspection, and waiting for any TV/camera gear to be removed. – T.C.
3. From Glenn:
When placing a spring rubber, does the location on the spring itself affect the spring rate?
I don’t think so. When I’ve changed rears (I’ve done both BTW, and I won’t tell you which one I’m doing currently) and done spring rubbers the crew chief never told me to put it in a certain place. – T.C.
4. From Anonymous:
How come they use gas cans? Why can’t they just have gas tanks and fill them up with a hose?
This is one of those “we’ve always done it this way” things. Back in the day teams used fuel cans because there were not refueling systems. I’d imagine it sort of just stuck. – T.C.
5. From Scott:
I am sitting here watching Happy Hour for the cup cars and they have a camera inside the wheel well of Michael Waltrip’s 55 car. EverytimeMichael goes into the corner and uses the brakes the rotors are glowing blue instead of red. What is up with that???
I’m not sure on this one. If they were glowing blue, I would imagine it’s because they are using a different type of material for the rotors themselves. Maybe somebody else knows? – T.C.
6. From Alan:
My question is about fuel mileage. During the truck race at Memphis, the annoucers said that Brian Scott was 9 laps short on fuel of making it to the end. They used the generic figure of 2 laps of caution equals 1 lap of racing. They debated how many laps of caution he needed to make up 9 laps. The choices were 4 1/2 laps, 9 laps or 18 laps, which do you think.
Well, I’m not a crew chief but I think it’s 18 laps. That was the answer that my tire changer math gave me. – T.C.
7. From Savannah:
Hey guys, could you explain the different types of racing series and the cars used in them? Specifically, why do the dirt cars look that way-with the tale looking wing on the top? At my local dirt track, they race regular looking cars. I’m just curious. Thanks for answering the questions.
It’s mostly an issue of functionality. The World of Outlaws want their cars to function and drive in a certain way so they are small and have a big wing on the roof (also the 700-800 HP and the lightweight nature of the car make it necessary). The same can be said for your local late model series. They have rules and want the competition to look and work in a certain way. Too this is an issue of ‘it’s always been done that way’. IndyCars have always had a futuristic look to them and NASCAR cars have always looked substantially like a stock car. Different strokes for different folks. – Journo
8. From Les:
What is it about the Gibbs cars that causes them to smoke going into the turns?
I believe it’s just how they have the engines tuned in them. When the drivers get off the throttle, they smoke out the tail pipes a little. Now what exactly they’ve done, I couldn’t tell you and I doubt they will tell you either. - T.C.
9. From Joey:
My question is about pit road and speeding during practice. Does NASCAR have a speed limit during practice and if so, what happens if a driver exceeds the limit?
There is no specific pit road or garage speed limit that I’m aware of during practice. There are officials everywhere though, and if they feel you are going too fast, they will let you know. – T.C.
10. From Michael, Brad:
Any info you can share regarding Bill Weber? What really happened with Bill Weber last weekend, in New Hampshire?
You know I would like to tell you exactly what happened but I am not 100% certain so I’m going to refrain from speculation and hearsay. – Journo
11. From Ric:
Does NASCAR or the sponsors or others dictate what logo / decal goes where on the uniforms? I understand more $$$ gives you a better location, but other than that. Does the over the wall group NEED to have similar and current (logo / decal) uniforms. What happens to the old uniforms?
I can’t find anything specifically in the rule book about it, but I am almost certain there are minimal guidelines. For instance the inclusion of a Series logo and a logo of say Goodyear and Sunoco. Beyond those though, where logos are placed is at the discretion of the team. This is something that is left up to licensing and marketing folks within the teams and the sponsors. – Journo
12. From Steve:
I was watching the NASCAR Performance episode from Loudoun in which Knaus was showing the fuel cell and the regulations governing the fuel cell… and that got me thinking: A lot of NASCAR’s rules are safety related but a lot (more than half?) relate to ensuring a level playing field. Collectively, the teams and NASCAR havegot to be spending tons of money on making sure everything is compliant. Given the financial situation, what do you think about NASCAR lightening up on the inspection process (fewer inspections, fewer items subject to inspection and so on) in order to save money?
In the process of building a race car making sure everything is compliant is just part of the things you do. Beyond the initial development compliance doesn’t necessarily cost the teams extra money. I think lightening up the inspection process would actually cost the teams more money because they would be looking for ways to cheat/beat the system. – 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!