TweetFanning the Flames: Explaining NASCAR's Scoring, Contemplating NASCAR's Diversity, And Revealing Free Agents
NASCAR Fan Q & A · Matt Taliaferro · Wednesday June 20, 2007
Questions, questions, questions…there were so many this week that Matt didn’t even have time to write a short intro! Let’s get right to it…
Q: Matt, does NASCAR make known where in the track the scoring loops are placed? After the Daytona 500 and the Pocono 500 and the ways they could have ended (should have?) but did not, I thought it may be beneficial for people to know where the cars were â€˜marked' in case of yellows during a green-white-checker or a rain-induced red flag that ends an event. â€” BlueDeuce
A: In the last few years, NASCAR has installed multi-loop feeds at all tracks. There may be 20 or more of these "loops," which are actually small boxes set up around the track that register each car's transponder. The location of these loops are not made known to the public or to the teams.
By the way, the live leaderboard you see on NASCAR.com using PitCommand or Raceview and the crawl you see on the race broadcast is not derived from the multi-loop feeds. Rather, they get their info from a single loop at the start/finish line.
Q: With Dale Earnhardt, Jr. joining Hendrick Motorsports, it looks like Kyle Busch will be the hottest free agent on the market. Who do you think will make a play for the 22-year-old who was the NEXTEL Cup Rookie of the Year in 2005 and the Busch Series Rookie of the Year in 2004? And what other potential free agents could be changing teams at the end of the season? â€” Rush Rocket
A: Everyone but Roush Fenway, where "there's no room at the inn" as Rick Hendrick once put it. With everyone from Yates to Gibbs to Childress to Penske interested in expansion, you can bet they'll be on Busch like Jason Lee on the hood of a Chevy.
The team I'd like to see step up is Ginn Racing. What that operation needs worse than anything (beside its own engine shop) is a legitimate young talent who has already proven he can win on the Cup level. Factor in Mark Martin's guiding hand and you've got a match made in Homestead.
As for other potential movement, I've heard whispers of discontent at BDR, EMS, MWR, and Roush. Nothing confirmed, so that's all I'll mention for the time being. Also, Sterling Marlin will most likely cut back to a partial schedule, and it's safe to assume Ricky Rudd will reevaluate his future once again.
Q: Being a Ken Schrader guy, I was disappointed to see that he would share a ride with Jon Wood this year. It seems like he dodged that bullet…but then they put Bill Elliott in the car. Don't get me wrong, I like Elliott and would rather see him in the car than some unproven kid who is marketable. I also understand that Past Champ Provisionals played a big part in it.
My question: Will Ken ever get back in the 21? If not, have we seen the last of him in a Cup car? â€” DirtTracker
A: Anything is possible, but the No. 21 is 195 points out of the Top 35 and Elliott still has five PCPs left. If he uses the remainder of his free passes and it's irrelevant who qualifies the car, we could see Schrader back. However, I believe the handwriting may be on the wall.
Q: What are the odds that NASCAR sees an import from another racing league â€” maybe Formula One hotshot Lewis Hamilton or IRL hot body Danica Patrick? Either Hamilton or Patrick would help with NASCAR's desire for diversity, and both would likely be popular with sponsors.
Ex-F1 driver and NASCAR trailblazer Juan Pablo Montoya has had marginal success on the racetrack â€” currently 23rd in points and 19th in money â€” but seems to be moving in the right direction. Is there any way IRL and F1 racing could soon rival the Truck and Busch Series as the "farm system" for the big league of NASCAR? â€” Nathan R.
A: Seems to me open wheel racing is already the main pipeline of talent. Formula One is obviously a series that rivals Nextel Cup in worldwide popularity, so I don't see too many more Juan Pablo Montoya's heading over from across the pond. IRL and Champ Car are undoubtedly seeing a defection of talent to stocks, though. And with the continued transition of the Busch Series from feeder circuit to moneymaker for Cup owners, as well as the Truck Series' role as a 401(k) plan, the open wheel talent will continue to migrate.
As for Hamilton and Patrick, I see neither jumping ship anytime soon. Patrick's "interest" last season was nothing more than a negotiating ploy for a new IRL contract and the media's lust for a juicy story. While I can't speak on Hamilton, I still believe the best D for D candidates at the present time are Aric Almirola, Chase Austin, Marc Davis and/or Jesus Hernandez.
Great questions this week, folks. Keep ‘em coming… I like the challenge! Send those questions, complaints, gripes and comments to email@example.com.
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