We’ve got a weekend full of left and right turns coming up. The Nationwide Series heads north to Road America in Wisconsin, and the Cup cars are on the left coast at Sonoma. Expect plenty of action from both races. While NASCAR deviates, we’ve got our regular Wednesday lineup of reader questions and our attempts at answers. 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 Tony:
I’m hoping that you guys can help me understand something about the locked in cars. I’ve noticed that as long as the Wood Bros. have maintained their spot in the top 35, they have been given a locked in position for the races that they have attempted. However, the NNS #20 and #16 teams are not locked in because they both missed a race. History has shown that NASCAR normally doesn’t need justification, but why the double standard? Thanks.
No double standard. If a team fails to attempt a start they lose their guaranteed spot. It rewards those who are consistently attempting races while discouraging Cup drivers from picking and choosing events in lower series. – Journo
2. From Christopher:
Why do the start and parkers practice?
Start and park teams practice because they need to make sure their cars are going to be good for qualifying. If you think about it, qualifying really is the race for the start and park teams. – Journo
3. From Warren:
Hi guys, A couple of questions from an Australian fan who has been to multiple Daytona, Charlotte and Darlington races the last 3 years. Q 1- With the age of scoring loops and freezing the field,do you think it is time to get rid of the stupid “Lucky Dog” rule? In any other form of motorsport,if you are a lap down,thats your bad luck and this stupid rule has given some drivers an unfair advantage in the past,giving the team time to work on the car under yellow, guaranteeing they will restart on the lead lap,rather than having to fight for it! Other drivers run on the lead lap all day without problems and due to long runs/fuel mileage etc,often finish behind some teams who “Lucky Dog” consistantly! And Q 2- Why dont drivers who are deemed the prime cause of a caution flag penalised like in nearly every other form of motorsports? eg- Darlington this year,#48 spun twice on his own accord and restarted with no penalty other than lost track position,ultimately ending in the top 15,while other drivers like #5,00,47 raced on the lead lap all night and never put afoot wrong,only to be beaten by someone who bought out 2 yellows! eg2-Kyle Busch spins in Charlotte truck race of his own accord,never hits anything,causes some to stack up behind him,never lost a spot when they restarted (position 5)and went on to win the race. Another quick observation if i may,Nascar want to make a “show” of the event,then also ditch the wave around! This would mix up the cars at re-starts,give the fans some action and value for money and let the eventual winner, work for his money a bit more as,lets face it,the prize pools seem extraordinary to the average working man with a mortgage and a family. Thank you for your website,it is my homepage and well worth a read every couple of days. Looking forward to heading to Bristol next year.
I’m not sure I agree that the Lucky Dog is stupid. In the age of double file restarts and frozen fields under caution, it’s extremely difficult to race your way back onto the lead lap. The Lucky Dog at least gives some teams a chance. I would rather there were more cars racing for the win than less. For question two, what forms of motorsports penalize drivers for causing cautions? In most cases, the damage from incidents and lost track position is enough of a penalty. If a team can fight back from two spins to finish well, good for them. In your example, if the 5, 00, and 47 wanted better finishes than the 48, they should have gone faster. And finally, I also don’t agree that the wave around rule should go away. Having tail end cars in between the pace car and leaders is a really good recipe for wrecks and I’m not cool with that. Taking a wave around is a risk/reward proposition with tires and fuel mileage, and I think that’s good enough. Some teams will gamble, and others won’t. – T.C.
4. From Anonymous:
What is the approval process that NASCAR teams have to go through when it comes to parts.
I’m not sure there really is a formal approval process. It is my understanding that when something new is created, NASCAR would just like to look at it first. A quick trip out to the R&D Center is Concord, NC is usually sufficient. In the case of JGR, the teams were penalized because NASCAR wasn’t allowed to look at the oil pans first. We’ve all got to remember that this is NASCAR’s sandbox. – T.C.
5. From Joe:
NASCAR measures its tracks at a point 15 feet down from the outside wall. Was Daytona measured this way, or was it measured from the inside, like Indianapolis? If Daytona was measured from the inside, wouldn’t that make it more or less 2.66 (like Talladega) if measured from the outside. Measured from the outside wall, isn’t Indy the longest track in NASCAR?
I don’t have a clue how each individual track does its official measurements. If the official measurement of Talladega is 2.66 miles than that makes it the longest track. – Journo
6. From Eric:
Crazy question here, but with all the recent fuel mileage finishes in recent weeks, it made me wonder… why dont they put small cameras and a light by the fuel pickup. Now, Im sure this is illegal, but I imagine something could be hollowed out to put a tiny camera by the fuel pick-up. Im not sure if there is foam inside the tank, but if the camera was right by the pickup, there has to be a way to see it. Im sure knowing when youre running our of gas would be worth the investment.
There is foam inside the fuel cell, so that is one problem. And besides the fact that NASCAR would never allow it, I’m not sure we want anything electrical inside a fuel tank or cell. A camera and light would need electricity and any sort of short in the system could cause big problems. – T.C.
7. From Kristin:
Now that we’re about halfway through the season, what are some of the most interesting things you’ve seen since NASCAR changed the dress code in the garage area? Do you feel it has had any effect on the integrity of the sport? Or has the most obvious effect been the entertainment value of people watching by crews? Have you seen instances where this was clearly a bad idea? As always, thanks for the “Insiders” point of view! I can’t wait to get a gander myself in Daytona!
I’m sorry to be a killjoy but nothing worth reporting. It’s what you’d expect – there are some ladies wearing high heels and short shorts or skirts. Guys are wearing shorts and and flip-flops. I haven’t seen any instances where it’s been an issue. – Journo
8. From Bobby:
With the news about Red Bull seeking outside partners, do you guys think there is a major problem coming up for NASCAR? The TV numbers haven’t been looking great (while they are improving over last year) and very limited number of new companies coming into the sport makes some of us fans wonder what’s going on. Seems like they are not striking the target Red Bull consumer (18-30). Thoughts on why this is and a way to “right the ship”?
Major problem? Remember FOX averaged 8.6 million viewers each week and a 5.0 rating – those are solid numbers in the face of serious fragmentation in the media market. Most agree NASCAR shouldn’t have a problem commanding a TV rights deal just as valuable if not more valuable than the last one. As far as sponsors go, there have been plenty of new sponsors throughout the sport – look around the Nationwide Series and how about American Ethanol, the AARP, and WalMart, among others, this season. Just this week we saw a substantial entry by Farmers Insurance. On top of those, sponsor retention has been pretty good. With Red Bull, what you had was very poor management on the competition side of the business. I have no doubt if Red Bull had 1/2 the success of their F1 team in NASCAR they wouldn’t be leaving. There are no doubt issues with NASCAR, just as there are with every sport, but it’s a sport that sits on pretty solid footing. – Journo
9. From Dot:
How long does it take to get approval from nascar to run certain parts? I’m asking because of the oil pan deal at JGR. Is there some long drawn out process? Thanks guys, love you column.
Like I said above, I’m of the understanding that it’s a pretty informal process. A quick trip over to the R&D Center will usually suffice. – 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!