The Cup Series is off this weekend, but there will be no shortage of racing to watch. The Truck Series takes on Chicago, while the Nationwide cars head north of the border to the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. 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 Dave:
Any speculation about Erik Darnell and what he’ll be running next year?
At the moment I haven’t heard anything about him leaving Roush, but Roush has been out with their interest in having Colin Braun and Ricky Stenhouse in Nationwide next year. Darnell hasn’t been mentioned though. If and when we do hear something about Darnell we’ll be sure to pass it on. – Journo
2. From Ric:
While watching pit action, I noticed a white rectangular patch on the tires, about the size of your hand, maybe larger. Not the sidewalls but the where the tread would be on a normal tire. It reminded me of the tags I see on new tires when tire shopping. IF this is paper wouldn?t you want to peel the paper off before using the tire.
When teams get new tires from Goodyear, they do have a label (or sticker) on them. That is why you will hear new tires referred to as “sticker” tires. And you don’t need to peel them off, because once the driver does a burnout leaving the pit stall, and then scrubs the tires in, the paper is long gone. – T.C.
3. From Janet:
Nationwide qualifiying sometimes ends just a couple of hours before the race. How long does it take for all 43 teams to pick their pit boxes & how long to set up all the equipment & stuff in the pit. Assuming they also have to do some work on the car after qualifying it seems time would be short to do everything.
Following qualifying, the crew chiefs for all the teams gather and pick pit stalls. Once the stall is chosen, the teams will collect up pit boxes and all their equipment and head to pit road. Most teams will have their pit boxes at least partially set up before qualifying is over, so it maybe only takes 20 minutes or so to get a pit stall squared away and ready to go. Post qualifying adjustments go fairly quickly, but most race teams will have one group on the car, and another setting up the pits. - T.C.
4. From Ric:
How do they bring new over the wall people into the group? Do they just substitute one in every once in a while, until they get experience / confidence? Do they just throw them in and hope for the best. I’m sure they got some experience from the other series and practice, but wouldn’t it still be a little different. Like college ball to pro ball.
When a team has an opening on a pit crew, they will either have somebody in mind they want to hire, or they will hold tryouts. Once somebody is selected, there is definitely an adjustment period for the new guy. Just like many other jobs, you don’t make it to the top (Cup) without experience at lower levels first. Many big teams will use their Truck and Nationwide programs as a way to develop pit crew guys, and if they become good enough they can get a shot at moving up. Guys don’t normally get “subbed in” or thrown in with little to no experience in the Cup Series because so much is at stake. – T.C.
5. From Dave M:
With all of the traveling and working so closely, there have got to be some “lighter” moments. Can you give us a couple of funny incidents or pranks that you’ve seen or done?
I could really get myself into trouble answering this one. It’s hard to tell stories without revealing details about myself. But, there are always bad things that happen with rental cars. Think beating and banging at Martinsville, except with Avis minivans. Off roading/dirt roads are always a favorite, and no road cone is safe. And there is always somebody who wants to see just how fast the 15 passenger van will go. I’ve seen toolbox drawers tack welded shut and tools epoxied to things. There is also never a shortage of “wars” in race shops involving various projectiles and things that go “boom” really big. I won’t even go into the stories involving adult beverages, as those could REALLY get me into trouble. – T.C.
6. From Michael:
I worked on a small Busch North team several Years ago. We arrived at Watkins Glen and were down a case of oil. Mark Martin stepped up and gave us Two cases of Valvoline. Which brings Me to this question. Do drivers receive comps from their sponsors? For instance free Shell gas to Harvick? Miller Lite for Busch?? Etc….
Absolutely. One example is Martin Truex Jr. He’s an avid outdoorsman, and you better believe he has a Tracker Bass Boat and fishing equipment from Bass Pro Shops. Every driver drives around a car from their respective manufacturer and if a sponsor provides something tangible driver’s definitely receive the benefits. – Journo
7. From Chris:
I heard at the Michigan race that a car was penalized for getting fuel a second time. When was this rule implemented and why?
There is no rule for fueling a second time. I’m not really sure what you could be referring to, but maybe they fueled without the catch can plugged in, or they topped off a car before the green flag. Both of those will result in penalties. – T.C.
8. From Marc:
I’ve been a NASCAR fan for many years, but I still don’t understand Rookie of the Year eligibility for the Nationwide and Truck series. I gather that the driver must not have run more than seven races in the series in a previous season and not run more than five races in a higher series in the current season. So, John Andretti was eligible to run for Busch Series rookie of the year 2006 (with a rookie stripe and all) even though he had run 340 Cup races before that. And, Brendan Gaughan is eligible in Nationwide this year even though he ran the full 2004 Cup season. This just does not make a whole lot of sense to me. Does this Mark Martin should have run a rookie stripe in his 14 Truck Series races in 2006? Would Jeff Gordon be eligible to run for Truck Rookie of the Year after he retires from Cup? It seems to me that, if you have had a rookie season at a higher level series, you should not be eligible for rookie of the year at a lower level. Any idea why the rules are as they are?
Jeff Gordon would absolutely be eligible to run for Rookie of the Year. I believe Mark Martin was a rookie in the truck series a couple of years ago when he ran with Roush. The points are determined by a driver’s best 17 races in the Cup Series, and I believe 16 in the Nationwide Series and 14 in the Truck Series. Jayski has a more in-depth explanation of the points and how they are awarded here. I unfortunately can’t give you a good reason why veteran drivers are allowed to run for ROTY in lower series. – Journo
9. From Dale:
Can you Please tell me what the wave around cars mean. Is it the same as the lucky dog? Who gets the wave around anyways?
The wave around rule with the new double file restarts affects cars that are a lap down. Normally, when a caution comes out, lead laps cars pit first. This puts all the cars that are a lap down behind the pace car. If they want to pit, they come down pit road the second time by. But, if a team now wants to get a lap back they can stay out behind the pace car (and in front of the leader) and not pit. As the field is coming to take the green, NASCAR will wave these teams around (so they don’t restart in front of the leader) and they can get a lap back. But, the kicker is that they cannot pit until after the green flag is out. So they benefit by being able to get the lap back, but they may be taking a big risk by not pitting. - T.C.
10. From BLiZZ:
With the new double file restart rule, how does it work with the cars in spots 3 – 43? I noticed the leader of the race could pick to restart from either the inside or outside lanes and second place takes the other. In the Bristol Night race after the red flag, I noticed Biffle (currently 3rd) restarted behind Martin (currently 2nd). Was this an error or is it how it works? I assumed it worked the same as the start of the race, odd on one side, even on the other.
When it comes to both the initial start and restarts, the leader has the option to either start on the inside or the outside. You don’t see it happen very often, but at certain tracks starting on the high side can be an advantage. This only affects the first row, as all the other rows must line up properly. But if the leader chooses the high side, third place would line up behind second place. – T.C.
11. From Paul:
Hey guys, I’ve always wondered what the drivers, crews, and transporters do after a Saturday night race like the one last weekend at Bristol. Do they all pack up and head home in the middle of the night right away, or do they stay the night and head home in the morning?
Once the race is over, we pack up and get the hell out of Dodge. Drivers and crews climb onto airplanes and into vans, and the truck drivers get on the road. Staying in hotels would cost the teams more money, plus staying an extra day means one less day at home with friends and family. – T.C.
12. From Justin:
Can you give a brief primer on IRL racing for the NASCAR fan? are a lot people fans of both? are they way more different than similar?
There are definitely fans of both sports and motorsports in general. I like both. That being said the demographics of NASCAR fans and the demographics of IRL fans are pretty different. IRL fans generally make more money and are more tech savvy compared to NASCAR fans (think Izod, Swarovski, William Rast in the IRL and Camping World, Tylenol and Best Western in NASCAR). As far as the mechanics of the cars, they are like night and day. IRL cars are more technologically advanced, they are lighter, faster, have bigger tires and are a lot different to drive. NASCAR cars are heavy, they still run carbureted, push-rod engines, they’re difficult to drive, they aren’t particularly agile, and they run on much smaller tires. The pitting of the cars is also very different. The IRL uses a single lug tire, air jack and they fuel the car through a hose. Generally speaking they both have four tires and a steering wheel and that is where the similarities end. – Journo
13. From Dan:
How will the field be set to start the “Chase”? Right now Mark Martin is almost 600 points behind points leader Stewart, but has 1 more win. If all stays the same will Martin start ahead of everyone else with 4 wins even though he has earned way less points? If Kyle Busch makes the “Chase” with 4 wins how will that effect the line up? What’s more important, earned points or number of wins pre-chase?
When the points get reset everyone will have 5,000 points and then they will get an additional ten points per win they have. If Mark Martin is the wins leader after the points reset and he is in the Chase he will become the points leader. – Journo
14. From Ross:
Hey there! Here’s part of the post-race report for Kurt Busch from Bristol:Busch had fallen to 18th in the running order when the seventh caution flag of the night was displayed. But after making numerous trips to pit road to repair the sheet metal damage and work on the front splitter, NASCAR officials forced the No. 2 Dodge to restart from the very rear of the field. The 21 other cars on the lead lap were separated from Busch by every other lapped car that was still running.I was listening to Busch on the scanner when this was going on. He was angry and said something like, “NASCAR says we made too many pit stops.” I’ve never heard of that. I always thought you could do what you want under yellow. Is there a maximum number of stops you can make or did they make him restart from the rear for another reason?
Unless it was a new rule at Bristol, I’ve never heard of NASCAR penalizing a team for too many pit stops under yellow. More then likely, the 2 car was penalized for coming to pit road before it was open, or Kurt was speeding off pit road to avoid going down a lap. Both of those will result in the ”tail end of the longest line” penalty. - T.C.
15. From Neon:
TC-would you consider hanging up your pit uniform one day and pursuing the same profession as Journo? And Journo…any aspirations to jump into the pit box one day?
I can say with certainty that I have no desire to become any sort of journalist, whether it be TV, internet, or newspaper. Writing on this website is the closest thing I will ever get to real journalism. – T.C.
The long and short is no. Even if I was interested I don’t think I would be any good going over the wall. – 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!