It’s Tuesday and that can mean only one thing: Time for this week’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series mailbag, where we answer your questions about the sport.
Remember, if you have a NASCAR question, you can send it to my e-mail Tom.Jensen@Fox.com, or on Twitter @tomjensen100 or on Facebook. Now, let’s get to your questions.
So without delay, let’s get right to those questions.
Stephen R. SylvanieStephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp
Q: Which drivers currently sit on the NASCAR Drivers’ Council? — Nancy
A: Excellent question, Nancy. Understand that drivers rotate on and off the council, but I asked NASCAR for the current list and this is who they told me is on it at the moment: Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.
Stephen R. SylvanieStephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Q: Have you heard any rumors about Carl Edwards racing with Teams Penske next year?
A: The only rumors I’ve heard have been fans speculating about it. There is nothing of substance that I’m aware of. I don’t see it happening for a couple of reasons: First, Edwards and Brad Keselowski have a long history of not getting along and Roger Penske is someone who is keenly aware of the importance of team chemistry. Then again, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick hated each other for years and they have gotten along well as teammates at Stewart-Haas Racing.
Secondly, Roger Penske has shown no indication that he’s interested in expanding to a third team. If he was, he’d have moved Ryan Blaney up by now. The Penske two-car model works well for that organization. Joey Logano, crew chief Todd Gordon and Shell all recently signed seven-year contract extensions and the team is working on a deal for Keselowski, too.
Penske has a championship-caliber operation right now. In fact, in the last 100 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, Logano and Keselowski are the only teammates to win at least 10 races each.
I just don’t see Penske feeling like he needs to sign Carl to compete, and I’m not sure Carl will ever come back full-time, either. Then again, never say never.
Getty ImagesGetty Images
Q: With the way NASCAR is today do you find hard as a reporter to keep up with the new rules in place? Does it make the job harder for you guys? — Michael
A: Yes and no. Some years there are more changes than others and this just happens to be a year where there are a tremendous number of changes on the NASCAR side. That said, with the exception of the Carl Edwards bombshell, there really weren’t that many driver changes during Silly Season. So part of this year has been harder and part of it has been easier.
The bigger changes are in technology. When I started at NASCAR Scene in 1997, I wrote stories, edited copy and managed a staff. I still perform those functions at FOXSports.com, but now I’m very active on social media, mostly Twitter and Facebook. We do Facebook Live chats, radio interviews, Periscope videos, appear on NASCAR Race Hub a couple of times a year, go to Tweet Ups and engage with fans much more than we used to.
Don’t get me wrong, I love most of the interactions, but this is not a 9-to-5, M-F job. It can take over your life if you let it. And finding some semblance of balance during racing season can be challenging.
Getty ImagesChris Trotman
Q: Can the drivers still make adjustments themselves inside the car, sometimes multiple times per lap? — David
A: Yes, the drivers can move the track bar up or down from the cockpit as they drive. The track bar adjuster is usually mounted on the steering wheel.
, LAT Images www.latphoto.co.ukMatthew T. Thacker
Q: When the series goes on the Western swing, are we going to see a field of 36 or 37 cars entered? — William
A: I really don’t think so. There are 39 cars on the preliminary entry list for Las Vegas, the same number as we had at Atlanta. Remember, there are 35 cars with Charters, which means they are guaranteed to make any race they show up for. NASCAR considers 35 cars to be a full field.
Q: Do you think NASCAR will consider some type of points penalty if the winning car fails post inspection? — Marie
A: Yes, they have done that for years and will continue doing that.
Jasen VinloveJasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Q: How bad do you see the No. 47 JTG Racing Chevrolet of AJ Allmendinger getting slapped for the lug nuts? — Cassie
A: The rule book suggests the penalty will be 35 points, with a three-race suspension and a $65,000 fine for crew chief Randall Burnett. The No. 47 car had three loose lug nuts, so NASCAR likely will drop the hammer.
Aaron DosterAaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Q: Is it really necessary to have pit road speeding penalties? — Peggy
A: It is absolutely 100 percent necessary to have pit road speeding penalties. If you didn’t, drivers would come down pit road at 150 miles per hour and somebody would strike and a kill a crewmember by accident. I hate to sound melodramatic but it’s the truth.
Getty ImagesGetty Images
Q: How would the "old school" drivers (i.e. Cale Yarborough, The Allisons, Richard Petty, etc.) do with "new school" racing and could the young ones hold up under conditions the old school guys did? — Brian
A: That’s a great question, Brian, and one that I think would be very easy to answer: The great drivers, the best of the best, would have been superstars in any era because of their talent and desire. Bobby Allison would have been hell on wheels in the Fabulous Hudson Hornet and Jimmie Johnson would have won a ton of races in 1970 in a Plymouth Superbird.
The drivers you referenced and a handful of others are the most elite in the sport. They would succeed wherever and whenever they raced. They are that good. As for today’s young risers, I think they’d figure it out if they were suddenly transported back to 1957.
RacingOneISC Archives via Getty Images
NASCAR: Daytona 500
Q: When cars go on the race track and cause an accident and come in the garage to fix it they cannot go back out? — Gilbert
A: Correct. You can into the garage to repair a mechanical failure such as a broken transmission and then go back in the race, but if you make contact with either a wall or another car and go the garage, you are officially out of the race. This is new for 2017.
John David MercerJohn David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports