NASCAR's Most Frequently Asked Questions

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About NASCAR

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NASCAR's mailing address is:
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Daytona Beach, FL, 32114
(386) 253-0611
(386) 253-8804

Contact this department to ask questions and share opinions on NASCAR rules, regulations, and any issues not addressed on this page. (Issues related to purchasing tickets should be submitted to the individual tracks)

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Daytona Beach, FL 32120-2875
(386) 253-0611

Employment Opportunities
To inquire about positions with NASCAR, please call the job hotline at 386-947-6878. This job hotline is updated every Friday. For parties interested in jobs working with drivers, teams or tracks, those entities must be contacted directly.

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  Info on Nextel? contact info?
more info on the company at

to Contact Nextel:
Mr. Tim Donohue
President, CEO
Nextel Communications
2001 Edmund Halley Drive
Reston, Virginia 20191

  What is NASCAR?
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR), which began in 1948, is the sanctioning body for one of America's premier sports. NASCAR is the #1 spectator sport - holding 17 of the top 20 attended sporting events in the U.S., the #2 rated regular season sport on network TV with broadcasts in 150 countries and has 75 million fans who purchase over $2 billion in annual licensed product sales. These fans are the most brand loyal in all of sports and as a result, more Fortune 500 companies participate in NASCAR than any other sport.

NASCAR consists of three major national series (NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series) as well as seven Regional Tours and one local grassroots series. NASCAR sanctions 1,500 races at over 100 tracks in 38 states, Canada and Mexico. Based in Daytona Beach, NASCAR has offices in Charlotte, Concord (NC), Conover (NC), Los Angeles, New York, Mexico City, Arkansas and Toronto.(Alan Taylor Communications)(5-20-2005)

  How can someone get a NASCAR Nextel Cup [or Busch or Trucks] Rules Book?
Only teams, drivers, NASCAR Officials can get a Nextel Cup rules book. NASCAR does not sell them and I can't get them for anyone. You can join NASCAR, last I heard it was $400, see 1st question above on ways to contact NASCAR

Rules and Guidelines:

NASCAR issues five different Rule Books, each of which includes in its title reference to a particular NASCAR-sanctioned series. There is a NASCAR Rule Book for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, a NASCAR Rule Book for the NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, NASCAR Regional Touring Series and NASCAR Weekly Racing Series. Each NASCAR Rule Book is published exclusively for NASCAR members.

  Why do sometimes a driver who finishes lower then another driver get more money? and How much do drivers get paid?

In part from That's Racin': A lot of NASCAR drivers are eligible for various NASCAR awards programs based on past performance. For example, drivers who have won races in recent years, are part of a plan
that pays them a predetermined amount of money for each race they start. Jeff Gordon, as defending Nextel Cup champion, gets a $10,000 bonus for every race he starts this season. Other differences are based on which contingency award programs a particular driver participates in. For example, Gatorade pays bonuses to the top three cars at the halfway point of a race. But, if one of the cars in the top three does not carry the Gatorade sticker on its driver-side quarter panel, it is not eligible to collect that money. This holds true for more than a dozen contingency award programs. Another explanation: there are different plans from where you are in points or if you're in the winner's circle. Top-25 in points there's one plan, 25-40 there's another plan. Then, the winner's circle, the car owner's guaranteed so much money to represent their team at the race

And from a NOL Q&A with Gary Nelson: The guaranteed finishing position purse for any particular NASCAR Nextel Cup race is distributed as set forth in the official entry blank for that race. This purse is based on revenues from tracks and television broadcasts. At most races there are additional awards based on achievements other than final finishing position. These are prizes offered by "contingency sponsors," and may include money for winning from the pole position, leading at the race's halfway point, being the top finisher to display a particular contingency decal, or other accomplishments. Some may also be based on media-voted criteria such as pit strategy, or the "cool move of the race," etc. Due to these prizes from contingency sponsors and other awards or bonuses, it is possible for a lower-finishing driver to win more total prize moneys in a particular event than another competitor with a better finishing position.(7-27-2000)

Q: Why do some drivers who finished deeper in the field get more prize money then some at the front?, I am all the sports casters and media get his asked all the time. The USA Today as a few stories that may help out:
Prize plan participation can make big difference and
NASCAR rewards top teams, win or lose by Chris Jenkins(7-17-2002)

  Are drivers required to wear full-face helmets or gloves?

Q) While watching the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. wasn't wearing his racing gloves during the race. Is it mandatory for racers to wear ALL of their racing gear during the race? And also can Dale Jr. be penalized for not wearing his racing gloves during the race?

A) Jeff Hammond: No, drivers are not required to wear gloves. It is recommended that they wear them.

A) Larry McReynolds: That's a great question, but gloves are not required by NASCAR. It is a lot like a full-face helmet. NASCAR suggests you wear it.(FoxSports Q&A )(6-1-2004)

  Are drivers required to have a valid driver's licence from a state / country to race in NASCAR?
A valid driver's license is NOT a requirement to compete in NASCAR. Competitors must have a valid NASCAR license.(ThatsRacin)(6-2-2004)

  Why 43 drivers/cars in a race? Where did NASCAR come up with that number?
Back in the old days of NASCAR, there were some tracks where there were no limits, such as Darlington (as many as 75) and Daytona (in the 50's many times). Over the years the size sort of evolved. It was 40 for the large tracks and 32 for the small tracks in the late 70's and early 80's. Then if was 42 for large and 36 for the small/short tracks. The the champion's provisional took itt to 43 and NASCAR made 43 universal at all tracks including thee small/short tracks, like Bristol.

  Why does NASCAR (or use three digit numbers for some cars?
Sometimes different cars (Owners) have to share the same last two digits of a number. For instance, at the end of 2002, Rick Goodwin [Team Bristol] indicated that he would be renewing his Nextel Cup #54 because at the time, he had a full sponsorship from Toys "R" Us [which has since gone away]. After the renewal of his license this year, Travis Carter and his sponsorship [National Guard] wanted to use the Nextel Cup #54 as well. Since no two owners can occupy the same number, NASCAR licensed the #154 to Travis Carter with the caveat that should Rick Goodwin enter an event, they would have to find another number for Carter's car to use at that same event.
In an effort for membership and points to correctly assign championship car owner points, NASCAR has to distinguish between Rick Goodwin (#54) and Travis Carter (#154). Therefore, each owner continues to maintain throughout the season the car number they were originally licensed with. The Same goes for Marcis #71 and Lepage #171, if they enter the same race and both make it, Lepage needs to find a different number.(5-26-2003)
  Who owns the Nextel Cup car numbers?
NASCAR owns and assigns car numbers to an owner(s). NASCAR reserves the right to revoke or transfer car numbers to another owner/team at any time. Car numbers are non-assignable and non-transferable, except by NASCAR. NASCAR works with teams and sponsors when a specific number is requested. If duplication of numbers occur, which usually happens with the part-time teams, the fastest qualifier usually gets to use the number unless one team is considered full-time. In 2002, the #27 was used by Scott Wimmer for Bill Davis Racing and by Kirk Shelmerdine, both part time, however, Wimmer was listed in the #27 and Shelmerdine in the #`172 and when they attempted the same races, Wimmer got to use the #27 and Shelmerdine ran the #72, so NASCAR uses it's judgement in deciding who runs the number.(9-6-1999/9-17/2003)
  How much do drivers get paid?
There is no set answer, it depends on the team, sponsor and the driver (see above question).
  How does the Nextel Cup award points to drivers and owners?
Each driver who competes in a Cup race is awarded points in the following manner: starting at 175 points, dropping 5 points from spots 1-6, 4 points from 7-11 and 3 points from 12th and lower. 43rd is worth 34 points. Bonus points are giving to any driver who leads a lap and to the driver that leads the most laps is awarded an additional 5 bonus points (in a case of a tie, both drivers get the extra points). Owners are awarded points in the same manner, PLUS they get points for attempting a race, where as drivers do not. All teams who pass inspection and fail to make the race get owner points that descend in the order of quickest non-qualifier to the slowest. Those teams earn the position/points immediately below the last car in the field. So if a team misses the race but was the fastest non qualifier the owners would get 31 points and an other drivers would follow the 3 point drop scale, down to a minimum of 1 point. See chart



NOTE: Driver Leads a Lap (under Green or Yellow Flag) gets 5 Bonus Points
Driver who leads the most laps gets 5 Bonus Points
as of 2004: Winning driver gets 180 points instead of 175
as of 2007: Winning driver gets 185 points instead of 180

Finishing Spot Points
1 185
2 170
3 165
4 160
5 155
6 150
7 146
8 142
9 138
10 134
11 130
12 127
13 124
14 121
15 118
16 115
17 112
18 109
19 106
20 103
21 100
22 97
23 94
24 91
25 88
26 85
27 82
28 79
29 76
30 73
31 70
32 67
33 64
34 61
35 58
36 55
37 52
38 49
39 46
40 43
41 40
42 37
43 34
44 31
45 28
46 25
47 22
48 19
49 16
50 13
51 10
52 7
53 4
54 1

The driver who STARTs the race gets the points and the finishing position credit.
Spots 44 thru infinety are used to award Owners Points
to those teams who do not make a race. After 54, teams get 1 point
...drivers get NO points for an attempt

  What makes a race track a short track or a superspeedway?

Pretty simple actually, an oval track of one(1) mile or more is considered a superspeedway. An oval tracks under a mile in length is considered a short track. At present there are only three short tracks, Bristol(.533 mile), Martinsville(.526 mile) and Richmond(.75 mile). Of course Sears Point and Watkins Glen are road courses.

What is the differences between race trim and qualifying trim(setup)?

In qualifying trim the teams are not worried too much on how the car will drive, they are going for the fastest lap they can get. In race trim/setup the team concentrates on getting the car to handle as best as possible, trying to get rid of any pushing or loose conditions. The team wants the car to drive well on long green runs when the tires get hot and there's a full tank of fuel.

What is the catch can and what purpose does it serve?

It's a small can with a tube that is inserted into an overflow tube. There is a check ball system with an inlet and an outlet. The catch can tube open's that valve to let air out and fuel in when refueling. When fuel starts coming out into the catch can, you know the car is full of gas.

How do you get pit/garage passes?

This is up to the race track, some of them sell these tickets some do not allow fans onto the pits or in the garage area. Some tracks only allow tour groups(like fan clubs, etc) in the garage area. The only other way I know, is to sponsor a WC car. I CANNOT get anyone garage/pit passes, sorry. NASCAR is cracking down on garage passes and it is getting harder to get. Remember the teams and drivers have jobs to do. NASCAR technically owns the garage area at each track and limits the number of passes each team is allotted for each race. Pit passes are given out by the track for those needing credentials for work purposes

Why don't Cup cars run chrome wheels anymore?

NASCAR rules do not allow for it, the reason? the rims of the wheels would crack underneath the chrome, which made it hard to detect and cars would end up with broken wheels during the race. There are some teams in 2006 using a chrome colored paints/etching that is approved by NASCAR. #00-Bill Elliott in Cup and #18-Bobby Hamilton Jr. in the Truck Series.

How does air pressure affect the handling of a car?

Changing air pressure effects the spring rate of the tire . The more air pressure you run in the tire, the stiffer it makes the tire's sidewall, and that acts like a stiffer spring. If you decrease air pressure it softens the sidewall and it acts like a softer spring.

In case of rain, is the driver who is awarded the pole, via leading the points, eligible for the Bud Shootout?

No, a driver has to earn the pole through a timed qualifying run and run the Budweiser contingency decal on his car to be eligible. All drivers in Cup but Petty Enterprises [#43, #45] have the sticker displayed, that is the team owners choice

What is the difference between a CREW CHIEF and a CAR CHIEF:

The basic difference: the crew chief has the ultimate decision. He also is more of an organizer. The car chief has a responsibility of the structuring of the groups of the people who work on the cars at the racetrack and implements the changes at the track as well as setting the car up before shipping to the track. This may differ from team to team

What is the Chassis Dyno?

The Chassis Dyno measures actual horsepower to the rear axle of the car. It's like a trailer that the car is placed on, the rear wheels placed on wheels on the dyno, then the car is run at speed on the dyno, calculating horsepower.

What ever happened to the 'Hat Man' who used to great the winning drivers in the winners circle?

"What ever happened to the 'Hat Man' who used to great the winning drivers in the winners circle?"Well from what I hear, after Bill 'The Hat Man' Broderick was released of his duties when Tosco bought out Unocal he bought a restaurant or tavern in the Chicago area(6-16-1999)
UPDATE 1: some more tidbits, Broderick is the owner of a tavern near the Fox River in Algonquin, Illinois, in the Northwest Chicago suburbs, that he actually has owned for some time(6-17-1999)
UPDATE 2: Broderick was interviewed by Claire B. Lang on XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio (Subscription Required) in May 2003, where at that time, Broderick was working with the Busch Series team #27 of Brewco Motorsports and driver Joey Clanton and sponsor TrimSpa. Of course, Clanton is not longer with Brewco and TrimSpa is the sponsor for the #32 Braun Racing Dodge with driver David Stremme, so not sure if Broderick is still with Brewco.
AND recently heard from a reader who saw Broderick at the Wisconsin Motorsports Charities Banquet this past January.(4-6-2004)
UPDATE 3: Dave Despain talked to Bill Broderick via the phone and Broderick said he sold his tavern to his son, did some work for GM/Cadilac and is now semi-retired and enjoying life.(4-8-2004)

How come those cars that are almost a lap down get to start in front of a leader sometimes under yellow?

Driver A was behind the leader when the caution came out(he may have been in the pits or recently completed a stop). The pace car picks up the leader, the leader pits. Driver A remains on the track and passes the leader in pits. Driver A is back on lead lap, but since Driver A cannot pass the pace car, Driver A is now on the tail end of lead lap.(7-11-1999)

Why do teams put tape on the grill of the car for qualifying?

For aerodynamic reasons, it gives the car less drag. The air has no openings to go through so it goes directly over the car, adding downforce so it adds a good amount of straightaway speed(NOL)(7-12-1999)

How do they calculate track lap speeds?

Use the formula Speed = Distance multiplied by Time. Distance is Track Length, and Lap Time into Hours. Once hour is 3600 seconds, so the calculation for a 48 second lap at Daytona(2.5 miles) would be: Speed = 2.5 x (3600/48), = 2.5 x 75 = 187.500mph. For a 19 second lap at Bristol(.533 miles): Speed = .533 x (3600/19), = .533 x 189.474 = a speed of 100.990mph(5-12-1999) - now this may not be a perfect explanation on this but the calculation works and is correct. A college professor corrected it in the past and gave me what is now presented, some folks (a few uppity type's) disagree with it, but all I know is that it is simple and works.

Has a rookie ever won the Nextel Cup championship?

No, the closest was in 1966 when rookie of the year James Hylton was 2nd to David Pearson, he didn't win a race but had 32 top 10's in 41 races.

Has a driver ever won the Cup and Busch Series championship in the same season?

No, Kevin Harvick was the closest in 2006 when he won the Busch Championship and finished 4th in the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup. Others that were close were Carl Edwards in 2005 when he finished 3rd in both and Kevin Harvick in 2001 when he won the Busch Series Championship and came home 9th in Cup points.

What do each of the flags and their colors mean?

Green: Start
Yellow: Caution; slow, hold position
Black: Pull into the pit for consult
Black/white stripe: not being scored for laps completed, failing to obey a black flag
Red: Stop
Blue/yellow-orange stripe: Move to another lane/Slower traffic move over
Yellow/red stripes: Oil on track
White: Entering last lap
Black/white checkered: The race is finished

Is regular air or something else used to inflate tires on a Cup car?

The Cup teams use nitrogen because it's a cleaner air with no moisture in it. Moisture builds heat, and when compressed air is used, there is water in the airlines and air systems, and when that water gets into the tire, it will expand the tire and puts heat into it, and will eventually cause a tire problem(NOL/Tommy Baldwin)(10-6-1999)

How does NASCAR measure the length of a race track?

NASCAR measures its race tracks at a point 15 feet inside the outside wall

What is a template?

Templates are the metal-measuring tools that fit each manufacturer's body and make sure the car meets NASCAR specifications(USA Today)(3-2-2000)

How do drivers/teams select which pit stall they use during the race?

Each team selects the pit stall they want based on how the driver qualified. The driver winning the pole position picks which stall he prefers first, the second driver selects his next and so on(7-19-2000)

Do heavier drivers have a disadvantage over the drivers that don't weigh as much?

Each car must weigh a minimum of 3,400 pounds ready to race, which includes the weight of the gas, oil, water, etc. Weights are added to cars whose driver weighs less than 200 pounds. Based on a starting driver weighing 200 pounds, drivers add weights in 10-pound increments up to a maximum of 50 pounds. For example, a driver weighing 185 pounds, adds 20 pounds of weigh to the car, and a driver weighing just 145 pounds adds the maximum 50 pounds(7-19-2000)

How do drivers choose their qualifying position for a Nextel Cup race?

One hour before the start of the 1st practice for an upcoming race, a driver or team member chooses a number from a basket that is spun(like a bingo or lottery type basket) which is located in a designated area, usually where the rookie meeting is being held. The order is by owners points, with the team ranking highest choosing first.

What is the maximum number of crew members allowed over the wall in a pit stop during a Nextel Cup Race?

Seven is the maximum allowed unless NASCAR deams that weather conditions merit an eighth. The crew includes: two tire changers, two tire carriers, a jackman, a gas man, a catch can man and, if warranted, an extra man. Each has his specific tasks. Tire changers replace old tires with new ones beginning with the right side and proceeding to the left. Tire carriers carry the 75-pound tires to the car's right side and then remove the old ones. They repeat the process on the left side. Jackmen carry a 45-pound hydraulic jack to raise the car's right side. When the tires have been replaced they repeat the process on the left side. Gas men pour two 11-gallon dump cans of fuel into the 22-gallon fuel cell of the car. Catch can men hold the can to collect overflow from the fuel cell. They also signal jackmen with a hand in the air when refueling is complete. Extra men are usually allowed over the wall on abnormally hot days to clean the windshield or service the driver with water.(Sporting News)(8-17-2001)

What does it mean when a tire is "equalized"?

It is when the inner liner and the outer tire have the same air pressure. That is caused by the inner having a tear, hole or something that causes the air to leak out

The Red Flag? What a team/driver can do to a car during a red flag

Rule 10-5 of the 2002 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series rulebook preventing any repairs on a car during a red flag: Red Flag - The red flag means that the race must be stopped immediately regardless of the position of the cars on the track. The red flag shall be used if, in the opinion of NASCAR Officials, the race should be stopped. Cars should be brought to a stop in an area designated by NASCAR Officials. Repairs or service of any nature or refueling will not be permitted when the race is halted due to a red flag. All work must stop on any car in the pits and/or garage area when the red flag is displayed, unless the car has withdrawn from the Event. Work cannot be resumed until the red flag is withdrawn (race is restarted).(2-18-2002)

How does drafting at Daytona/Talladega work?

Drafting Explanation/Article: In aerodynamically intense stock-car races like the Daytona 500, the drivers form into multi-car draft lines to gain extra speed. A driver who does not enter a draft line (slipstream) will lose. Once in a line, a driver must attract a drafting partner in order to break out and try to get further ahead. Thus the effort to win leads to ever-shifting patterns of cooperation and competition among rivals. This provides a curious laboratory for several social science theories.

What happens to the money from the penalties?

The money collected from driver/crew member penaties are generally placed into the Drivers Points Fund awarded at the end of the season

What does the term "______" mean, see below for some terminology:

AIR DAM: The three-to-four inch leading edge below the front bumper that helps direct air over the race car creating downforce. The air pushes the front of the car down into the racetrack improving its grip.

APRON: The very bottom area of the racetrack between the racing surface and the infield.

BRAKE BIAS: Control knob used to adjust how much braking effort is carried out between front and rear wheels.

DOWNFORCE: Pressure exerted on the roof and hood of the racecar as it goes through corners. A car with good downforce uses all the available air to push on its body to get the car maximum grip on the racetrack through the corners.

GROOVE: The fastest line a car can take around the racetrack, usually at its bottom and visible by the blackened pavement and skid marks created by all the cars using it.

HAPPY HOUR: The last official practice session held before a race, usually on Saturday, which allows teams to make final adjustments to setups.

LOOSE: Occurs when a car's rear tires lose grip with the racetrack. Loose in is when a driver is off the gas getting into a corner and the car wants to get sideways. Loose off is when he get on the gas coming off the corner and the rear tires slide and fishtail. Opposite of tight.

MARBLES: Debris and excess rubber that get kicked off tires and collect high on the racetrack above the outside groove. When heated tires run over this loose stuff, it can cause cars to slide. When you see a driver wiggling his car down the straightaway, it's to rid his tires of the marbles he collected.

SCUFFS: Tires used at least once to take the factory glaze off them, but still saved for more racing. Scuffing tires for a lap gets them heated and hardens the compound, keeping them consistent when they're put back on for the race.

SETUP: How a car's engine, suspension, aerodynamics and tires are adjusted to handle on a particular racetrack.

SPOTTER: Race-team member usually perched atop the grandstand who is a driver's second pair of eyes. Talks directly to a driver during the race to help direct traffic around wrecks, especially when smoke is involved. Are mainly there for safety, but will also make suggestions on strategy.

STICKERS: Name given to brand new tires, originating from the manufacturers stickers usually found on them.

TIGHT: Occurs when a car's front tires stop gripping and start sliding up the racetrack as it heads into or out of a corner, forcing the driver to stay off the gas until it starts to grip again. Also known as push.

When did Winston come aboard and what other names has the series been known as?
It was called Grand National first (No Busch and no sponsor) from 1950-1970, Winston [R.J. Reynolds] came aboard in 1971 and it was known as the Winston Grand National Series from 1971 thru 1985. From 1986 to 2003 the series was known as the Winston Cup Series, after after Winston/RJR opted out of their 5 year deal with 4 years to go, NASCAR signed Nextel for 10 years and the series is known as the Nextel Cup Series.

When did the Busch Series start?

The Busch Series started in 1982 as the Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series thru 1983, then is was known as the Busch Late Model Sportsman series from 1984 thru 1985. In 1986 is bacame known as the Busch Grand National Series until 2002 and is now just known as the Busch Series.

What is the record for the most cars on the lead lap at the end of a race:

36 at Watkins Glen in August of 2000
29 at Talladega for an oval track race at Talladega in April 2001.

When was the last dirt track race ran in the Nextel Cup [Grand National] Series?

At State Fairgrounds Speedway [1/2 mile] in Raleigh, NC on September 30, 1970, won by #43-Richard Petty before a crowd of 6,000. It was a 100 mile race, 200 laps, Petty won by 2 laps over #06-Neil Castles. #4-John Sears won the pole with a speed of 71.380mph and finished last of the 23 cars in the field.

What is the largest margin of victory in the history of Nextel Cup [Grand National]?

Ned Jarrett won by 14 laps at Darlington Raceway in the Southern 500 in 1965.

When was the last time a driver lapped the field while winning the race?

Last tine I have found was Oct 1994 at North Wilkesboro, NC when Geoffrey Bodine won, completing 400 laps while 2nd place was Terry Labonte who completed 39th.

Why do drivers on an oval counterclockwise and only make 'lefts'?

Have heard a few things. One is that race cars go counterclockwise on ovals because horses go counterclockwise on their tracks. And as we all know, most of the first automobile races in America were held at horse track.









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