Surprisingly, we’ve already reached the mid point of the Cup Series season. The Truck Series remains off for another week, but both the NNS and Cup cars will head to Daytona for racing under the lights. The NNS teams are at the beach already getting ready for their race, and the Cup haulers will be en route tomorrow. While preparations go on, we’ve got more reader questions and answers for you. 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:
When NASCAR pit road Inspectors penalize a team is it first approved / cleared / checked with higher ups or what they say goes? Who makes the decision if a team argues / appeals a penalty?
A NASCAR official on pit road can call a penalty on a team just like a referee or umpire for any other sport. They don’t need to check with race control first. If a team wants to appeal, the official will get on the horn to race control, and any decision will be made by the guys in the booth. – T.C.
2. From Kevin:
Hi would like to know if any progress has been made on AJ’s contract and if not do you think he will have other options open in NASCAR or go back to open wheel?
Not that I’ve heard. I definitely think there are opportunities for Allmendinger in NASCAR – I think he’s worked far too hard getting himself acclimated to stock cars to make a return to open wheel. On top of that, he’s never expressed any interest in returning to open wheel competition. If we find out more we will certainly let you know! – Journo
3. From Lee:
What is the difference in race trim and qualifying trim? If in Q you run fastest, why slow the car down for the actual race? What are the differences in the two?
A car in qualifying trim wouldn’t make very many laps. Between grill tape and air pressures, the car would blow up and blow tires. Race trim allows the cars to still be fast, but also have enough longevity to make it to the finish. The teams make setup changes to the car so it will be as fast as possible for those two laps. That means things like pumping up the air pressures and having little or no grill openings. In the Cup Series, teams can and will change some chassis elements too. Qualifying = fast as possible for two laps. Race = fast as possible for 500 miles. - T.C.
4. From yankeegranny:
What does it mean when a driver says the car needs to roll better through the center? How does that effect the car’s handling? Also, how can changing to a new set of tires(assuming no other changes were made) effect a car’s speed so much. You hear drivers say they were so much better or worse on a new set of tires, why?
This usually refers to keeping up the speed and momentum through the center of the corner. The center of the corner sets up the exit, which is vital to being fast. A car that gets off the corner well will look like it has 50 more HP then a car that exits poorly. New tires mean more grip. And more grip can be good or bad. It also depends on tire pressures. You’ll often hear a driver say the car is bad for the first few laps after a pit stop, but then gets better. The car gets better because the air pressure in the tire builds up some. As a run goes on, the tires will lose grip and slow down. When we go somewhere with an abrasive track (like Darlington or Atlanta) notice how far the lap times fall off from the beginning to the end of a run. – T.C.
5. From Debbie:
After watching the haulers leave Loudon, I had a question. I knew I had to ask you for an answer! Do they drain the fluids out of the cars after a race before they load them for the trip back to Charlotte? Thanks!
Unless a team has to pull a motor out, the fluids remain in the car until it is unloaded and torn down back at the shop in Charlotte. If it appears a car may have a small leak, the hauler drivers put down a product called Pig Mat that will absorb any fluids. – T.C.
6. From Ella:
How big a deal is the switch to a new kind of car in the Nationwide series this weekend? Will it cause a lot of problems or be a fairly easy thing for drivers and teams? Is this new car basically a COT car?
The chassis is essentially the same as the Cup Series COT. That said, I think there will be a bit of a learning curve for everyone, with the advantage toward the Cup regulars. There has, of course, been testing done, but no one has a ton of seat time in these new cars. It will be interesting to see them out on track this weekend – I know I’m excited. – Journo
7. From Neon:
Over the last couple of years, TNI has painted a pretty detailed and (albeit anonymous) interesting picture of the professional life of TC (tire changer) w/ just a glimpse of an off-track personal portrait. However, I can’t quite paint a mental picture of the life of Journo (the Journalist) and just what your version of a 20 lug stop looks like. Can you share “and” remain anonymous?
Unfortunately, I can’t really divulge too much about my daily tasks without revealing too much about who I am, or what my role is. That said, I did write a whole series of posts on the NASCAR life a couple of years ago. You may or may not have seen those. I’ll try to think of some not-so-revealing experience posts I can get up in the not too distant future. I’m on it, I swear. – Journo
8. From Tony:
I just read where yet another guy from the Sprint series is suspended for drug use. At this rate there are going to be quite a few jobs opening up,soon! Does anyone think that the use of recreational drug usage is as wide spread as it now looks? It seems that there is about one guy each week that is found. How many guys have been suspended since the drug testing started? Thoughts?
I don’t think this is as big a problem as it might appear. With some quick research I counted 19 guys that have been suspended since the start of last season, and the beginning of NASCAR’s stronger drug policy. The breakdown is like this: four Cup guys, two (ex)drivers, four Nationwide guys, and nine Truck guys. Only three of those 19 came from major teams. Many of those busted are temporary employees for part time teams, which is what you would expect. The bigger teams are able to weed out some of the problems because they have their own drug policies; smaller teams don’t. So out of the probably 1,500 – 2,000 people who come to the track each weekend to work, 19 failures is pretty low. We are talking about somewhere around 1%. – T.C.
9. From Richard in NC:
In a pit stop, would there be a penalty if a car runs over an air hose, but does not leave the pit box? If so, what would the penalty be? Thank you.
If the car runs over a hose entering the box, but the crew fixes the situation, the team won’t be penalized. You usually only see a team penalized when the car runs over an air hose on exit. The rule for this in the rule book would allow the official to penalize for either situation, but the latter is the most common. And all the book says for a penalty is that the driver has to return to their pit stall for inspection. It’s not necessarily one lap or tail end, etc. – 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!