We are off to the Circle City this week. Friday and Saturday night shows at ORP for the Trucks and NNS cars lead up to Sunday’s Brickyard 400. While we work through another hump day, here’s the 84th version of Ask The Insiders. 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 Zach:
During practice sessions, why are some cars allowed to skip past the line of cars that are waiting on pit road to get onto the track? While at Chicagoland I noticed several cars bypass the line and head straight to the track from the garage.
The higher a driver is in the points, the earlier they get to go out in practice. So I’m guessing that what you probably saw was these drivers getting to blow past those who are lower in the points. – T.C.
2. From Dan:
Do you know what’s going on with Ray Evernham? Is he attached to RPM and if so in what capacity? What happened to the connection with Dodge? Just haven’t heard much about him lately. Seems to me with the talent he had shown as a crew chief years ago he would still be at the forefront of the sport or maybe he just wanted out. I do remember him doing some work for one of the networks at one time.
The last I heard he and RPM were working with lawyers to end his relationship with the team. He hadn’t had any real role with the team for quite some time. Not sure if that’s been resolved. Other than that he is working as an analyst for ESPN, he owns East Lincoln Speedway in Stanley, N.C., and he’s working with wife Erin on her Sprint car career. There has been some rumbling that he may be interested in getting back involved in NASCAR in some capacity, but I think otherwise he’s pretty happy where he’s at. – Journo
3. From Cinde:
During qualifying, why do the drivers go down on the apron and then back up on the track as they come across the start/ finish line? Thanks for your writing! Facebook, twitter, email!! You keep me informed.
Remember that the fastest way around a track is the inside line. Some drivers think that by dropping down on the apron, they are actually cutting down the distance to the start finish line, which will result in a faster lap time. Does it actually work? Maybe a little. – T.C.
4. From Garry:
Sorry if this is a dupe question, but during the Chicago race ( I actually wrote several question that night but did not want to flood you) …..anyway.. I noticed on some cars on later pit stops that THE FREEKIN BRAKE PAD WAS ON FIRE!!! (I think it was the brake pad ) …anyway…something was on fire..and la-de-da…the badass tireman changed the wheel as if nothing was happening except… THE FREEKIN THING WAS ON FIRE!!! ….HOLYCOW TireMan!!!… Do you ever fire extinguish that thing? It seems the new tire rubber could catch if they dont haulass out of there… looked scary, but not even the commentators mentioned it.. WHAT IS THE DEAL?
A little flame from the brakes is certainly not uncommon. During race conditions, brake pads, calipers, and rotors can reach 1,200 degrees or more. And all it takes is a little rubber build up over the course of a run to give all that heat something to burn. Unless there is actually brake fluid coming out that is causing the fire, you won’t see the flame extinguished. Once the car is rolling again, and the rubber is burned off, the flame will go away. That’s why tire changers wear gloves… - T.C.
5. From Marcus:
What is your guy’s opinion on the Carl Edwards vs. Brad Keselowski deal? As an Edwards fan I am definitely with him but I am just wondering what you guys think. You don’t need to pick a side I am just wondering what you guy’s think about it. Thanks!
Honestly, I see both sides of the argument. Carl probably didn’t need to right-rear BK down the straightaway, but BK started it. If he would have raced Edwards clean, he probably wouldn’t have gotten wrecked coming to the checkered. Keselowski has shown that he isn’t against laying the bumper to somebody, and sooner or later it was going to catch up to him. Does Carl deserve some sort of penalty? Who knows? I’d be really surprised if we saw something significant however, with NASCAR’s new stance. A meeting with John Darby and Mike Helton is probably inevitable for both drivers though. – T.C.
6. From Steve:
In the Nationwide race, Ryan Truex, a MWR driver, ended up in a Gibbs car. It looked like Truex’s 99 car could have gotten back on track after his brush with the wall Did Gibbs borrow/buy/rent Truex from Waltrip, presumably to turn in laps and score some points? Has this been done before, where a driver has left a drivable car and started driving another owner’s car?
The #00 was not driveable (Trevor Bayne was in the #99). Even if it could have been repaired there was no point in putting him back out there – they aren’t running for points, just seat time. I can’t say with 100% certainty he didn’t get paid, but he didn’t get paid. He was available, and I’m sure very willing to jump in a car for Joe Gibbs. Dale Jr. did this a couple of years ago. Kyle Busch wrecked a car while he was still at Hendrick and was so angry he got out of his car and left the track. The team got the car repaired and Dale Jr. (who was also out of the race) jumped in it and finished the race. – Journo
7. From Kevin:
How much longer do you think NASCAR will continue to stick their head in the sand with ol’ Horse Face? Need I remind everyone that Kevin Harvick was once parked in a Cup race for actions in a lower series. But I would bet a pretty penny NASCAR’s golden boy from Missouri wont face the same punishment. But it has nothing to do with Jack Roush’s boy handing out the punishment, nothing to see here, move along…. Really it doesn’t matter anyway though b/c the 99 car is so far from being a championship contender he could miss 4 races and we wouldn’t notice him being one, other than Brad actually being able to finish a race and all.
I’m assuming by ‘ol’ Horse Face’ you mean Carl Edwards. Remember NASCAR instituted this new ‘boys, have at it’ policy this season that has loosened up their enforcement of things like on-track retaliation. It has nothing to do with the driver in question – it isn’t just Carl that’s gotten away with stuff this season. Remember Clint Bowyer during the Nationwide race at Dover, leaving pit road and wrecking Denny Hamlin under caution? He was only placed on probation. NASCAR has a different doctrine in place (I think for the better), then it did back when. Now whether Carl gets penalized because he is a repeat offender is yet to be seen. Expect news on that tomorrow. – Journo
8. From Denny:
I noticed on the Cup-Lite pre-race, last Saturday evening, right before the starting of the engines, they showed a close-up of the #99 and there was one guy with a Triad Racing pit suit, standing right behind, maybe the car-chief, who was giving Trevor instructions before the car moved down pit road. I think the 99 runs a Prism engine. Is this an engine tuner? BTW, I attended an ARCA race in Springfield IL, last season, and I also saw a couple of Triad Racing pit-suits around the Eddie Sharp Racing cars, as they pitted directly across the track from where I was sitting.
Triad Racing Technologies is the main engine supplier for Toyota. So, except for the Gibbs cars, whenever you see a team with Toyota power, a Triad employee is not far away. Part of the engine program for most builders includes the builder sending a tuner to the race track. So you will see guys in Triad firesuits in every series from ARCA to Cup supporting the Toyota teams. And Prism doesn’t build engines, they actually use Triad power as well. – T.C.
9. From Dave:
I think Carl Long just ran the truck race at Gateway. Does that mean that he paid that huge fine to NASCAR?
You saw correctly. He was suspended, but he wasn’t fined. The fine was imposed against his crew chief Charles Swing – I believe if he wasn’t able to pay it, it then it fell to Long’s wife as she was the car owner (it was never Carl’s responsibility). As far as I know the fine was never paid. – Journo
10. From riterchick:
How do crew members view rivalries? Do they want their driver to go for blood, or is it more a “don’t wreck the car, nitwit!” feeling. I should think it’s hard to see all your work destroyed just because of a testosterone surge on the race track.
Well that depends. If your car is already wrecked anyway, a little revenge certainly wouldn’t make it worse. I am personally of the mind that confrontations should stay on the race track and crew guys don’t need to get involved unless absolutely necessary. Fixing a ton of wrecked race cars will definitely wear on the guys at the shop though. - 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!