Race week in Charlotte is in full effect. Fans will descend on the QC this week to watch the Coca Cola 600 and to check out all there is to see in the center of the NASCAR universe. In case you are coming to town and are looking for stuff to do, we’ve put together a nice list to get you started (see it here). 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 Bill:
With Bruton Smith offering up $20M to run in and win both the Indy 500 and Coke World 600, I got to thinking… It obviously wouldn’t be possible to run the Grand Prix of Monte Carlo, the Indy 500, and the Coke World 600. But, could someone run in Monte Carlo and Charlotte in the same day?
Well the Monaco Grand Prix took place this year on May 16 (Red Bull’s Mark Webber won). Last year it was the day before the 600. If they fell on the same date would it be possible? The race starts at 8 a.m. eastern standard time (Monte Carlo is six hours ahead). If the race lasts, say two hours (and you figure another hour to get to the airport and take-off – flying private of course), and the flight is about 9 hours (so the Internet tells me) that would put you back in Charlotte at 8 p.m. – too late to make it in time for the start of the 600 (which is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.). – Journo
2. From Sue:
Does it really make a difference for team morale when a driver shows up at the shop daily or weekly vs those who rarely do?
I certainly don’t think a driver coming into the shop regularly is a bad thing. Guys know the drivers are busy and some, like Montoya, don’t even live in Charlotte, so shop visits aren’t always realistic. But the occasional visit is good for everyone, I think. – T.C.
3. From Gabi:
The cameras at the track record in 720p format or in 1080i? Thanks.
I believe the cameras Fox and ESPN use shoot in 720p, but don’t quote me. Maybe someone else knows for sure? – Journo
4. From Bristol_B:
First of all, thanks for sharing your insight, and perspective. Your website is a must read for any race fan! Now, I’m confused about the All-Star Race eligibility. Is it the car or the driver? Brad Kesekowski won last year in James Finch’s #09, but that car is not entered. Keselowski is entered in the #12 Penske car. Red Bull has entered the #83 with Casey Mears as the driver in place of recovering Brian Vickers. So if it’s the car why isn’t the #09 entered, does Finch need special dispensation due to a driver change? Thank you in advance for clarification!
All Star race eligibility is based on the driver’s accomplishments, not the team or car’s. With the situation surrounding Brian Vickers, NASCAR made a special exception to allow Casey Mears to pilot Red Bull’s #83 in the race. That is why Keselowski is in the race, and the #09 Finch car is not. – T.C.
5. From Christopher:
Cup teams generally bring two cars to a race, correct? What if they outright total both of them during practice? I know this is a stretch, but I could see it happening at Talledega, where you do have to practice dangerous drafting moves. Secondly- has this ever happened?
If I remember correctly, this happened a couple of years ago when Casey Mears was driving for Hendrick. He wrecked both his backup and primary at a race. I believe he ended up using one of his teammate’s backup cars in the race. This also happened to Ryan Newman at Daytona last year. He wrecked his primary in the 150 qualifier and his backup in final practice. I believe a third car was brought from Charlotte for Newman to race with. So if they are close enough, a car could be brought from the shop, if not, a teammate’s backup would work. - T.C.
6. From Steve:
Your thoughts on Vickers/Red Bull/Mears? Given the investment Red Bull has in both Vickers and Speed, would you agree that Red Bull needs Mears to do badly, at least worse than Speed does and worse than Vickers was doing? Any better, and it raises the question of why they wouldn’t keep Mears next season. And yet while Red Bull doesn’t want Mears doing too well, Mears knows this is a great shot at impressing people to earn a ride next year – a bit of a conflict, perhaps?
I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. Casey Mears has seven full Cup seasons under his belt (all together 255 series starts) and one full Nationwide season (with a total of 93 starts). Scott Speed on the other hand has 52 Cup starts, 13 Nationwide starts, and 16 Truck starts. I would hope Casey performs better than Scott. Speed is very much a driver in development (not at all the case for Casey), so I think it’s like comparing apples and oranges. Speed still has the potential for growth – with Casey I think what you’ve seen is what you get. It is true however that this is Casey’s fourth opportunity with one of the sports top teams (recall Ganassi, Hendrick and Childress) to show he can be competitive (I’m not holding my breath). – Journo
7. From Melissa:
Between the All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600 weekend do the haulers return to their shops or do the crews replenish what they need and switch out cars using other transports?
Being so close to home, and seeing as how there is no track activity all week, the haulers go back to the shops. The Cup haulers will return to the track on Thursday to park for the weekend. – T.C.
8. From Emanuel:
When we’re watching the race at home, they allow us to “ride along” with the car, with the roof mounted cameras. Sometimes junk ends up on the lens, and you can see the lens rotate, and tada!, no more junk. Does the lens constantly spin, or does it “sense” when it get junked up, and then rotate itself to get the junk off the lens?
There is a little tape mechanism inside the cameras (it’s clear and in front of the lens) that allows the production crews to ensure the view from the camera is always clear. Check out this great NASCAR.com article for everything you wanted to know about onboard cameras. – 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!