NASCAR Mailbag: Getting more manufacturers on the grid
Welcome to the latest edition of the NASCAR Mailbag where we answer the most pressing questions from you, the fans.
Why didn't Denny Hamlin get a penalty for coming in before the pits opened when he ran out of gas at Dover? - From Barry
Barry, Denny Hamlin was penalized for pitting before pit road was open at the end of Stage 1 Sunday in Dover. Hamlin was still on the track when the stage ended; because his No. 11 Toyota was out of fuel, he hit pit road immediately, before officials had opened pit road. Since the infraction occurred under yellow, the penalty put Hamlin at the back of the field for the Stage 2 restart (he was shown in 20th place on the restart grid). It’s notable that several drivers were in jeopardy of running out of fuel as the stage came to a close at lap 120 – Hamlin had radioed his Joe Gibbs Racing team and told them felt he was out of fuel before the stage ended. Teammate Erik Jones pitted just before the pits were closed with two laps left in the stage and therefore wasn’t penalized; Ryan Newman pitted behind Jones but after the pits had been closed - he was likewise penalized and sent to the rear for the Stage 2 restart. - Kenny Bruce
I thought the gas man was not allowed to help in any way other than fill the tank up? But yet I saw Kevin Harvick's gas man take his foot and help roll a tire over to the wall! Why was Harvick not penalized for this? Is it because he's a superstar in NASCAR? It may have been another driver but I know it was in a white car and I think it was the very first pit stall as you enter pit lane? - From Tim
Tim, the fueler can use their leg to control a tire. They cannot do anything but fuel as far as what they handle. - Jim Utter
Why are there no Chrysler's in the lineup? I have been a fan for many years, my Dad used to drive at our home tracks. - From Mr. Green
The rumor mill about a Chrysler return to NASCAR got going again last season when Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters last February at Daytona, "It's possible we can come back to NASCAR. I think we need to find the right way to come back in." So far, however, there have been no sure-fire signs Chrysler has taken any of the steps necessary to make a return to NASCAR competition. The cheapest way to return to the sport would be to do so with established, veteran teams that switch to the manufacturer. Starting from scratch again is likely financially not possible. - Jim Utter
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Buick and or Cadillac get into NASCAR? Or, going across the pond, how about BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus? The more the merrier! That would fill up the seats again! That would be exciting to watch instead of the same old three every week. What are your thoughts on more manufacturers getting involved in NASCAR? - Norm
Norm, unfortunately for NASCAR there's little chance of a manufacturer from across the channel jumping in. NASCAR is seen as "too American" and the popularity of German road cars in the US already means there's little market need.
Even the Euro NASCAR platform has yet to truly capture the imagination in Europe compared to other international series. However, I'm not sure NASCAR really needs international recognition either!
Buick and Cadillac would be great to increase variety and prove if NASCAR is in good health, but it's hard to see a new brand when we're so far down the Gen-6 car period. From the Buick perspective, it makes little sense for General Motors to add another brand to the Cup series. Cadillac meanwhile seems content with the international platform of DPi. - Tom Errington
Kevin Harvick says 2018 season "feels like a game"
Penalties make fans "think everyone is cheating" - Truex