ESPN's Andy Petree answers your questions
Former championship crew chief and current ESPN analyst Andy Petree has the answers to your questions about tire sizes, restarts and more in this week's mailbag.
Updated: September 12, 2008, 3:08 PM ETESPN.com
NASCAR Icons readers filled the mailbag with questions for ESPN analyst Andy Petree and he responded to some of the best ones below.
Petree is a former crew chief, driver and crew member on NASCAR teams, most notably as Dale Earnhardt's crew chief with Richard Childress Racing for back-to-back Cup titles in 1993 and 1994. Petree, who joined ESPN in 2007, also owned Andy Petree Racing and he worked with such drivers as Ken Schrader, Kenny Wallace, Joe Nemechek, the late Bobby Hamilton and Greg Biffle. Here are your questions and Petree' answers: Why not 16-, 17- or even 18-inch wheels and tires for Sprint Cup [instead of the 15-inch variety used currently]. It would allow for bigger brakes, right?
Phil Cavali/ESPNAndy Petree expects the tire sizes in Sprint Cup to change in 2010.
Dalton, Ga. Petree: That is an excellent question, and with this new car that is something that is being considered by Goodyear and NASCAR. It won't happen in 2009, but look for some variation of some different size wheel, tire combination for the new car starting in 2010. What do you think about double-file restarts after cautions? Shouldn't that allow better racing, having the leaders race leaders and not lapped down cars?
Denton, Md. Petree: It does. You would like that. The problem is a lot of guys get a lap down inadvertently. The other thing that throws a wrench in that: You might have one of the really good cars that are a lap down and they need get up there and try to race their way back on the lead lap. And that's kind of been the way it's been done forever. The other thing is is when you have cars that are on the tail end of the lead lap, the way it is now, they are able to start the race in front of the leader. So they don't have to let the leader by under caution before the restart. I don't foresee NASCAR changing the rule now for restarts. I understand what Jamie is saying that it would be better but I don't think NASCAR would ever consider that. Bump stops: Can or do they use a small spring in between the stops to soften the blow?
Orangeburge, S.C. Petree: Well, you know everything is technically a spring. Everything has some kind of a rate to it. Even very, very stiff materials have a certain rate. Some of them are very high. So what they're using are different materials that are technically springs. They're not using a steel spring or a coil spring in there, but they are using a material in there that does have rate to it.
That is part of the magic of this new car is getting the right materials with the right rate and coming in at the right time. That's the whole game, really. What is that orange cone for at the end of Pit Road?
Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesNASCAR will penalize drivers who change their minds after getting around the orange cone at the entrance to Pit Road.
Sacramento, Calif. Petree: That is the commitment cone. When you pass to the left of that cone, then you are committed to coming on Pit Road. If you decide to not come on Pit Road after that cone and you come to the left of it, you're penalized by NASCAR. The same goes if you pass that cone on the right and then come down Pit Road you are also penalized. So it's just a point where the people making pit stops have to make a commitment by that cone to come down Pit Road or not.