NASCAR Mailbag – Silly Season update and the next step for Cup cars –, Edition: Global

Our team of experts answer questions from fans regarding the future of Carl Edwards and the evolution of the Generation 6 cars in this week’s NASCAR Mailbag.

Will Carl Edwards return to racing next season? I talked to someone at Sonoma Raceway, and said that they hoped Edwards returned to racing there soon! I hope he returns, and also are you expecting Kenseth, Patrick, and Busch to have rides next season, or are they likely done in NASCAR? When is Monster expected to announce if they will sponsor Kurt or won’t next season? Best, Zach

Hey Zach, have not heard a peep from Carl since Sonoma. His former public relations manager said he was on a sailboat somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. As for Matt Kenseth, Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch, I’m really surprised nothing has been solidified for Busch yet. Hearing Kenseth might add late model races to his schedule next year. And nothing from the Patrick camp. Don’t be surprised if Aric Almirola’s status isn’t shored up in the next month now that Smithfield Foods has resolved its misunderstanding with Richard Petty Motorsports. As for Monster, the last time I spoke with Mitch Covington, Monster’s VP of Sports Marketing, he had this to say about the 2004 Cup champion, “Kurt races up on the wheel every lap. We tell our other athletes if they want to find someone to pattern themselves after — especially the young ones — go spend some time with Kurt Busch. If Kurt Busch could train all of our athletes, that would be a great thing. He just won us over.” Again, not sure why the delay other than locking up the renewal for sponsorship on the No. 41 Ford. – Lee Spencer

Are NASCAR crews and announcers dumber than those in other sports? It’s okay to tighten lug nuts outside the pit box, but the announcers and some crews didn’t know this. At Kansas the leader went below the white line on a restart and was penalized, but not the car that followed him. The announcers thought both would be penalized. Of course, they were wrong. Too many men over the wall for a repair. That’s not a pass through, but a disqualification. Is everyone not paying attention, or is NASCAR making up the rules as they go along?

Most of those situations are defined in the rule book, but NASCAR has an abundance of rules and move of the drivers cannot recite them chapter and verse, so the interpretation becomes situational. At Kansas, officials explained the rule in the drivers meeting, but Martin Truex Jr., acknowledged he wasn’t paying attention. Although Truex controlled the restarts—and was penalized—Kevin Harvick and the inside line that followed were not busted because it would have resulted in absolute scoring chaos. Under the damaged-vehicle policy, only six men are allowed over the wall when the team is under the five-minute clock. A seventh man is allowed to go over the wall but only to service the driver, not work on the car. Crew chief Jason Ratcliff called for seven men then quickly rescinded the call but it was too late. Admittedly, some of NASCAR’s rules could use simplification. – Lee Spencer

With very little change to the car for 2018? When can we expect a Gen 7 car and will it be less aero dependent? – From Charles ….. Since the Gen 6 has been on track for several years now, how much thought has NASCAR put into for next generation of Cup cars? Are there certain aspects that they are thinking about changing from the Gen 6 to Gen 7? – From JP 

Hello Charles and JP, according to NASCAR, they are constantly working on the new evolution of their vehicles but there is no timetable on a specific new across-the-board generation of race car. The most likely changes to come in the near future will originate through submissions from the various manufacturers (Toyota’s new nose design of the Camry and Chevrolet’s change from SS to Camaro, for instance). – Jim Utter

Do you think Darrell Wallace Jr. will be successful with RPM Motorsports? The team seems to struggle on performance and I think it would be bad for Bubba’s career if they don’t run well next year. Do you think this will be his only shot to make it in Cup? From David

Because RPM has yet to identify even where it will be based next season, let alone who its manufacturer partner will be, it’s difficult to say how successful the organization can be. Wallace certainly did well in the few starts he had with the team, even better than Aric Almirola did this season at times. Unfortunately, Wallace’s career will be judged on how he does in this opportunity, so he will have to make the most of it. Given a choice, I’m sure Wallace would love to run fulltime with a top-tier organization but if he wants to race now, this is the only current viable opportunity. – Jim Utter

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