Another Wednesday is upon us, and with that comes another round of your questions and our attempts at answers. The Cup and NNS cars will take to the Monster Mile of Dover for the second time this season, and the Trucks are off to Sin City this weekend. 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 yankeegranny:
Read an article that said the majority of drivers who made the Chase had a background in dirt track racing. If that is so, how does it give them an advantage with the COT. After the race on Sat, Jr said they were using an experimental setup that involved a different type of spindles. What are spindals, what do they do and how could they contributed to the 34th place finish?
In order for the COT to be fast, the drivers must be able to drive it loose and off the right rear tire. What this means is that they are using not only the steering wheel to turn the car, but also the throttle. Being successful on dirt means being able to control a car with both the wheel and the throttle, as the car is in a controlled slide through the corner. COT cars aren’t much different. And spindles are part of the front suspension. They attach to the upper and lower control arms, and they are what the hub actually spins on. The design of the spindle can be changed to alter the front end geometry, which changes the handling characteristics of the car. See photos of a spindle here (the photos with a blue background are spindles). Obviously what Lance McGrew and Dale Jr. were trying with their new spindles didn’t work. – T.C.
2. From Chris F:
What race do you think that Danica Patrick will make her NASCAR Sprint Cup debut at?
Who says she’s going to make a Cup Series debut? Danica has a long way to go in the Nationwide Series, and in her stock car development before anyone is going to think about putting her in a Cup car. I’m not a very good prognosticator so I’ll refrain from making predictions, but unless she decides to ditch the IRL (excuse me IndyCar Series) soon, I think it’s going to be a while. – Journo
3. From Bob:
A couple of weeks back Kevin Harvick could not get slowed down enough to get into pits, and eventually popped a tire due to flatspotting. Was just wondering, would anti-lock brakes be feasible on these cars? I know it’s more electonics to contend with, and maybe not worth the hassle, but it seems it would eliminate alot of tire issues due to flat spotting and possibly eliminate some accidents as well.
In most cases, a skilled driver with the proper technique can brake just as good as an ABS system could. But I believe the main reason ABS isn’t used is because of traction control. ABS systems can be utilized as a very effective traction control system. And the words “traction control” are practically four-letter words in racing. – T.C.
4. From Ray:
When fuel injection comes to pass will the restrictor plates still be used, how will they change and what type of fuel pump will be used? Mechanical may make restarting the engine difficult or impossible and electric pumps have to shut off in an accident.
I honestly don’t know a ton of details about the fuel injection system NASCAR is considering. I’m not even sure they know all the particulars yet. And I’m guessing the method of restricting the engines will probably depend on what type of fuel injection system they use. – T.C.
5. From Old School Fan:
Fox Sports reports NASCAR had to wait for the 11 & 48 shocks to cool to pass inspection. Will you explain the physics?
Neither TC nor myself are experts here. I know it has to do with the pressure built up in the gas shocks, but I couldn’t explain it to you beyond that. What you should try is Dr. Diandra at Stock Car Science – she is a physics expert and could probably much better explain this. – Journo
6. From Larry:
Love your column. You recently explained how the lug nuts are mounted and how they stay attached to the new tires during a pit stop. But what happens to the lug nuts from the tires that come off the car? I don’t see them flying around or being picked up, and I know you don’t want your driver to run over them, so where do they go during the tire change? And if they somehow stay in the wrench, how do they keep from messing up the ones that go on car?
The lug nuts drop down onto the pit stall as they are taken off. Drivers actually do run these over after stops and they become little metal projectiles that can hurt if you’re in their path (the next time you watch a pit stop on TV look for the little spark as the car leaves its stall – that’s probably a lug nut). If they’re not kicked backward, they’re usually swept up after the stop. – Journo
7. From Big John:
Hey guys, as we race fans shell out our $25 for our drivers hats or T shirts at the trailers how is the supply of hats, shirts etc that you guys can grab out of your haulers?
Crew members obviously don’t have to pay for hats and shirts, as they are our uniforms. But the supply certainly isn’t endless. We each get our allotment of clothing for the year, and that’s pretty much it. An extra shirt or hat here and there is attainable, but it’s not a free-for-all. – 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!