Well, friends, now that the Daytona 500 is in the books, a lot of you had questions, so let’s get right to them.
If you are involved in an accident and go on the 5-minute clock, repair your vehicle within the allotted time frame, and let's say 10 or 15 laps later under green your sheet metal comes off, are you under a fresh 5-minute clock or do you use what's left of the last clock you had? — Chad
Once you re-enter the race and reach minimum speed under green-flag conditions, your crash clock is gone, even if you have to pit again later for more repairs. But, if you are involved in a new crash, then a new five-minute clock starts when you come to pit road.
If you repaired your car under caution, went out and ran one lap and came back to pit road before the track went green, you would be working under your original crash clock.
It sure looked like Kevin Harvick was drafting with Joey Logano helping Logano stay on the lead lap while using the two-car tandem to stay up front. Do you think that this is an accurate assessment? — Ken
That’s a totally accurate assessment. Stewart-Haas Racing is a Ford team now, and Ford followed Toyota’s example from last year. They are one big team now.
This is what Harvick said on media day at Daytona when asked specifically about drafting with Logano: “Well look, I always tell people that you’d rather have me on your side versus against you. I think as you look at Ford, it’s been pretty straight forward of what the expectations are, especially when it comes to superspeedways.
“We’ll try not to hinder each other. I think when you look at us and how this race has shaken out over the last few years with the Toyota’s just lining up, you’re going to have some help to compete with that. I think we have the fastest cars as (far as) the Fords are concerned.”
, LAT Images www.latphoto.co.ukNigel Kinrade
Do you think the 5-minute clock will be adjusted? — Cassie
After the Daytona 500, we went to the garage and asked that question of NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell. This is what he told us:
“If we had a line of teams here saying, ‘We have to do something,’ we would. But we didn’t have one of them. They all knew that their day was done. It’s unfortunate, but that’s Daytona. It’s a tough place to race.”
Could that change down the road? Sure. But NASCAR needs to see it in play at a whole lot more races first.
Jasen VinloveJasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Do you think the repair rule has flaws after the season opening races and needs to be revised any, or is it better for NASCAR at this moment to review the results of the new rule as we get further into the 2017 season. — Lake
Daytona is almost like its own mini-season. You can’t draw any hard and fast conclusions from just the Daytona 500. Once we get through Atlanta, the Western swing, Martinsville, Texas and Bristol, we’ll know how well it is or isn’t working.
My $.02? The caution will be a big issue at Daytona and Talladega and a small issue elsewhere.
And I will reiterate something I’ve said elsewhere: A car that’s 50 laps down and spends a half an hour in the garage so its driver can finish 35th instead of 38th does absolutely nothing to improve the quality of the racing. And watching a wrecked car limp around isn’t the image the sponsor wants, either.
How do drivers, spotters and crew chiefs communicate? For example, a driver, during a race, listens to the spotter, but what if a crew chief has something to say about strategy, do they both just speak to the driver at the same time? — Francisco
Every driver-crew chief-spotter relationship is different. Some drivers want constant information; others want the bare minimum. But when driver and crew chief are talking, the spotter knows to be quiet. But in general, the three of them need to work together to build a rhythm and an understanding of what the others need.
, LAT Images www.latimages.co.ukNigel Kinrade
Is a sole tire supplier good for the sport? — Wayne
If you talk to anybody who raced when Hoosier and Goodyear were having a tire war in the mid-1990s, they will tell you it was an absolute disaster. Not saying Goodyear is perfect, certainly, but with a single tire supplier, everybody races on the same tires. It’s fair for everyone.
When there was a tire war, it drove costs way up and caused some teams to be at a huge disadvantage getting competitive tires. No thanks.
Everyone said back when Darlington would be the last hold out to get lights. Look what happened. Then they said Martinsville would be the last one … Who is next and who is last? – Shane
First off, I don’t know who “everyone” is, but it’s not something we heard in the garage. Every track goes through periodic updates and in some cases, big makeovers. Lights can be part of that. Or not.
Don’t know who’s next — there aren’t many left without lights, but the last ones would be Watkins Glen and Sonoma. Those would be nightmares to light. And I can’t imagine racing at night at Pocono, either. Personally, I’m a big fan of daytime racing.
Getty ImagesRobert Laberge
When a car is taken to the R&D Center for post race inspection and tear down. What happens to the car when the tear down is complete? — Nancy
Nothing, really. Assuming it clears inspection, NASCAR calls the team and they send a truck over to pick it up. These car are all stripped and virtually rebuilt between every race anyway, so it isn’t a big deal to the teams.
Jasen VinloveJasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
How is it Joe Gibbs Racing seems to have a talent for finding young talent? Or is it just an illusion because Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez are arriving in Cup at the same time? Or is it Coach Gibbs understands player / driver scouting and development and is willing to put $$$$ into the process? Thanks! — Cynthia
All of the top teams do that. Hendrick Motorsports signed Chase Elliott when he was a 15-year-old high-school freshman and now they have William Byron, too. Team Penske and Brad Keselowski Racing just announced a driver-development program and Stewart-Haas Racing is bringing up Cole Custer in an XFINITY car this year. And those are just a few examples.
If you’re a top team, you have to be looking to constantly replenish your roster and develop young talent, just like an NFL team does. And they do it with pit crews, too — the top teams aggressively recruit crewmembers at colleges and universities.
, LAT Images www.latphoto.co.ukJohn K Harrelson
Do you ever see NASCAR (all three levels) racing in the rain? — Kevin
No I don’t. The stock cars are just too big and heavy to put on a good show in the rain on an oval. And I watched a few NASCAR road course races in the rain and my take is that it wasn’t especially compelling racing. Yes, there are some crashes and off-road excursions, but darn little racing. And sitting out in the rain for three hours isn’t all that much fun, either.
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