NASCAR Fan Q & A · Matt Taliaferro · Thursday July 17, 2008
Questions were a bit sparse this week, so it seemed to be the right time to clean out the inbox of a couple that weren’t time-specific. See? I’ll get everyone in at some point! You can get in next week, however, with your questions, comments, takes and the like by clicking on this little red link. Remember, this is your column, so take advantage of the cheap labor!
First, though, we’ll start with a question that is very timely — in fact, Taylor here could know the answer by this time next week. Maybe. Possibly. Ahhh, who really knows for sure anymore …
Q: My question is why would Martin Truex, Jr. leave DEI to take a seat at Penske Racing’s No. 12 car? That’s a big rumor that I keep hearing, but it doesn’t seem like a step up to me. If a driver is going to switch rides, why wouldn’t he go to a better team? Not a team that has performed about the same as the one he is leaving?
I like both Newman and Truex and would love to see them both on Tony Stewart’s new team. That would be a great team in terms of talent. But I’d hate to see Truex land in a seat that is practically the same as the one he is in. Thanks!
— Taylor Alexander
A: Yeah, hard to say whether Truex is the man for Penske or not, Taylor, but a change is sometimes just what it takes to energize an athlete or a team in any sport. You never know when that chemistry is just going to click. Plus, the long-term health of an operation such as Roger Penske’s seems much more attractive than a company that has lost the sport’s biggest cash cow and most respected drivers in Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Mark Martin in the last calendar year. That said, sponsorship issues abound just about everywhere.
I do agree that both DEI and Penske Racing are at about the same level competition-wise this year, and from our perspective, would seem to be a lateral move for Truex. Kurt Busch could probably fill Martin in there, as I can’t imagine he’s too happy with the performance of his team, either.
Up next is Linda, who’s in for the second week in a row …
Q: How timely! Kurt and Kyle tie the Flock record [of four race wins in a row by brothers] just as we were talking about it! So Matt, I have to ask if you think we’ll see it broken at The Brickyard?
— Linda Davis
A: For those of you who didn’t read last week’s column (or don’t remember it) and feel like you’re eavesdropping on a private conversation, you can check it out here to get up to speed.
Can a Busch brother win at the Brickyard next week? Sure, Kyle could; he’s never finished outside of the Top 10 there. The kid readily admitted after that race that he and his team hadn’t gotten the hang of the flats just yet, but at the rate they’re going, are you willing to bet against them? (Especially when the Toyotas are apparently allowed to use nitrous these days — yes, I’m taking a jab at all you conspiracy theorists … you know who you are.)
Kurt, I’m not so sure of — but he pulled a miracle at Loudon, so why not?
And you know, Linda, if you write in to me the next two weeks, you’ll break a Fanning the Flames record currently held by Rowdy Rush. I think.
To Barry and Dee who are up next, I thank you for your patience. You’re now on the air…
Q: Matt, I have a question that’s very basic but I’ve never heard it addressed. How is the qualifying order determined for a race? There are any number of procedures I could think of that would make sense, but I don’t know that I’ve heard SPEED or any network talk about it. Thanks for your help.
— Barry Holcombe
A: Blind draw, Barry. Each team sends a representative to a draw a number at the qualifying lottery typically held the morning of. Each rep pulls out a ping pong ball with a number marked on it from one of those machines that you see the Powerball numbers drawn from and voila! The order is set.
Q: Hey Matt. Thanks for the weekly entertainment and education! This is the first time I’ve written, so I hope it makes the cut. My question is about the gauges on the dashboard of the cars. Before the seats were huge and there was an in-car camera mounted in the car, you could see the five or six gauges. What are all those measuring? Of course, there is the tachometer and fuel, but what else are they showing? Thanks man!
— Dee Osby
A: Thanks for the kind words, Dee. The gauges on the dash monitor oil pressure, oil temperature, water temperature, and voltage — in addition to the fuel pressure gauge and tachometer that you mentioned. Tony Stewart has a special one now installed that reads “puke level” so he doesn’t have to get any more helmets gutted and re-lined.
That’s it for me this week, ya’ll. The NL just went up 3-2 with two outs in the top of the eighth in the All-Star game, and I gotta catch the rest of this bad boy.
Editor’s Note: Little did Matt know that he was in for a looooong night of baseball.
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