The 2010 season is finally here! And with it comes a big batch of reader questions! If you don’t know what this post is, we answer 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 Ric:
How many different measurements are taken before and after a tire is used in (race, practice, time trials, etc)?
Well let’s see if I can remember them all. The tires’ circumference is measured to check stagger and pressure for both the tire and applicable inner liner is measured and measured again. Tire specialists also use a tread depth gauge to check tire wear and a pyrometer to check tire temps at various points on the tire. I think that’s everything. – T.C.
2. From David:
Hey TC, any idea how much more power a cup engine out front would make than say a car back in 8th place at say Watkins Glen? I know cooler air makes more power than warmer air. Just thinking about exhaust from cars up front, make any sense?
Well, they always say the cleaner air out front is best. I’m not sure what effect that has on engine performance though. They are usually referring to clean air on the nose for good downforce. You have to remember that exhaust dumps out the right side, down low; while the engine’s intake is at the base of the windshield in the cowl area. There may be a small difference, but it would be minimal at best. – T.C.
3. From Andrew:
What are you guys looking forward to most this season? A certain race, an event, a potential win, or something else?
I’m just looking forward to getting the season going period. I hate the down time during the offseason, and am always chomping at the bit to get going again come Daytona. I’m with a great team this year, and I’m excited for the opportunity to win some races. – T.C.
Like TC said, I’m just happy the season is back going. As is always the case, there are going to be great stories, and great races. I’m just ready for everything to start happening. – Journo
4. From Kenny:
Why is there significant variance between the primary car and the back-up they bring to different races? Aren’t both cars built to the same specs, with the parts and components coming from the same manufacturers and fabricators?
With the bigger teams anymore, there isn’t much difference between a primary and a backup car. Often times you will hear a driver say their backup actually felt better then a primary after a wreck. Sometimes though, for what appears to be no reason at all, some cars just run and feel better to a driver. And a driver who has confidence in his race car can be a very powerful thing. – T.C.
5. From Ross:
Did Danica Patrick have any on track practice in a Nationwide or Cup car before she started talking to teams about making the move?
I believe several years ago she went out and ran some laps in a car, but nothing substantial. Her first real chance to run a stock car was at that ARCA test last December. – Journo
6. From Scott:
While watching practice from Daytona I have noticed that cars are carrying alot less associate sponsor decals around the front fenders this year. I think most noticeable are the Hendrick cars. Is this a sign of a lack of companys sponsoring NASCAR or are teams just not opting into the sponsorship deals for other reasons? Thanks for your time and love your website!
I can’t say I noticed a difference. I went and looked at some pictures from over the weekend and it looked similar but I can’t say for certain. You might have noticed some of the teams that choose not to take advantage of the contingency program like Red Bull or Penske. Roger Penske for instance is a real stickler for how his cars look, so you don’t see too many. I wouldn’t read too much into this. And thank you! We’re glad you enjoy the site. – Journo
7. From Christopher:
I understand that if a driver changes an engine or car after qualifying, he must start at the end of the pack (43rd). But what happens if multiple drivers have to start at the end? How do they determine who starts 43rd, 42nd, 41st, etc.?
To be honest with you, I’m not sure on this one. I would imagine it’s one of two things: the highest in owners points gets the spot or the faster qualifier gets the spot. The rulebook doesn’t spell this one out specifically. – T.C.
8. From mangopants:
I’m so ready for racing! Hey – watching the Danica Show (the ARCA race today) I started to wonder… do drivers know when the in-car camera is on and showing what’s going on? Like a red light turns on or something? Followup – are drivers compensated for being the “in car reporter”? Do drivers find the radio/TV interviews *while racing is going on* a nuisance, or do they like it?
I don’t believe there is a red light, but I honestly can’t give you a definitive answer there. Generally the in-car camera’s are paid for by teams or sponsors for obvious exposure (that isn’t necessarily always the case). As far as the nuisance question goes, I would imagine it depends on the driver. Some guys are much more willing to talk than others. – Journo
9. From Keith:
Any word on what Jimmy Means is up to?
He has a car entered for the Daytona Nationwide Series race, with Donnie Neuenberger listed as the driver. You will most likely see more of the same from Means’ team. They’ll make as many starts and as many laps as the money will allow. – T.C.
10. From David:
Since Harvick did not practice the Shootout car, why was he allowed to start where Bowyer drew his spot and not start at the rear of the field?
David, you’re very correct that under normal circumstances a driver would have to practice the car in order to keep their starting position. There was some confusion about this over the weekend, but I can tell you, as far as I know, it was never really cleared up. I would imagine given the situation and the nature of the race, NASCAR didn’t feel it necessary to penalize this. It is NASCAR though. – Journo
11. From Michael:
A question about the Ford NW series cars – why don’t the Fusions have the new light / grill stickers like the COT does? I find it strange that the NW cars are an older look. Thanks.
I have seen at least one NNS paint scheme with the new headlight decals. I don’t know why they wouldn’t switch though, but it might be that the nose pieces are still molded for the old body style. – T.C.
12. From Kevin:
Hey guys, last week in the Shootout the Hendrick guys were never really players. How much of that do you think was them maybe trying some out of the box stuff or how were they seriously lacking horsepower/handling? Tony Stewart ran up front, and he is driving the same cars for the most part. Also, good to see some Childress/Earnhardt engines upfront, that combo has been terribly underwhelming in the past few years. Maybe they are on to something. One more thing: how good would Kasey Khane have to finish this year to consider re-upping with RPM (or whatever it is called now) and Ford considering all that has happened between them. It would sure be hard for him to leave a Chase team wouldnt it? Thanks, and looking forward to a new season with TNI.
Remember Daytona is perhaps not the best indicator of how a team will run for the remainder of the season. As long as you’re fast, good in the draft and lucky, you’ll probably finish pretty well. Remember last season Matt Kenseth won the first two races out of the box and then was off and on for the rest of the year. Likewise Kevin Harvick won the Shootout last year, and we all know how he and the other RCR cars did. We’re going to need a couple of months to assess how things have changed. On the Kasey Kahne front, I would say how he finishes isn’t as important as how comfortable he is with the situation. He ran well last year despite the chaos at the team; and as we heard in his late season comments, that wasn’t the problem. If he chooses to leave he’s going to have a lot of good opportunities available to him, and you would think he would have to consider those. My early feeling on the situation is that RPM is going to have a hard time hanging on to him. – Journo
13. From Loren:
Are the two pole sitters(Dale Jr./M Martin) required to run in the Duels or is it optional?
Yes, the rule says a car must compete in the Duels in order to race in the 500. – Journo
14. From Amy:
What exactly does the “shark fin” on the cars do? They mentioned during the Bud Shootout broadcast that it was considered safety equipment…but what does it do and why do the cars not have one on each side?
From my understanding, the shark fin makes the cars more stable when they turn sideways. Think of it as a spoiler, but for a car moving broadside. Besides the roof flaps, NASCAR and the teams are trying to find other ways to keep these cars on the ground when they get turned sideways and backwards at tracks like Daytona and Talladega. – T.C.
15. From Anonymous:
Can you bring me up to date on what is happening with the Ford FR9 engine. Will it run at Daytona? Does it have problems? Etc.
I know for sure that the Wood Brothers team will run the FR9 at every race they run this season. I also know that the Roush teams have not yet fully implemented the new design yet. I believe they used it at the Shootout, but will switch to the old Ford engine for the 500. I’m not aware of any specific problems, but keep in mind that developing a whole new engine from the ground up takes time. – 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!