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Elliott won't end Schrader's season
Awesome detour to top 35Karin from Mechanicsburg, Pa.: With Bill Elliott taking the No. 21 ride, what's happening with Ken Schrader? Larry McReynolds: As goofy and contradictory as it seems, the Wood Brothers are trying to help Ken Schrader. With Elliott guaranteed a champion's provisional for at least six races and I'm sure the Woods hope they don't have to use it for six consecutive races the hope is they can get that No. 21 car back in the top 35 and focus on racing. When you're outside the top 35, any driver strong, experienced drivers or ones with a lack of experience will tell you it's a miserable weekend. When you're not in the top 35, like Johnny Sauter's No. 70 crew chief, Bootie Barker, and Scott Riggs' No. 10 crew chief, Rodney Childers, all you can think about is qualifying well. The race is almost the furthest thing from your mind. The Wood Brothers hope that they can focus on racing for at least six races, get back in the top 35 and then turn their focus to racing with Kenny.
Engine advantage?Gary from Lisle, Ill.: Has Chevrolet disclosed what the new R07 engine horsepower is? Larry McReynolds: We can certainly see it has a little better horsepower, a little better torque and a better-performing engine. I haven't heard specific numbers, but I've been told that it's not an earth-shattering difference. The Nextel All-Star Challenge was a great test to get some hard racing in a non-pressure situation and look at the product back at the shop. The teams and engine builders have raved about how much less work it is to prepare the R07 engine to race. The current block was developed in the 1950's. When these teams get a block from Chevrolet to race, it takes the machine and engine shops close to a week to prepare it to race. The new block isn't ready to bolt together, but it's about a one-fifth of the work to prepare.
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Parking planSteve from Charlotte, N.C.: I understand that the haulers are parked in the garage area by points standings. How do they decide where to park the drivers' motorhomes? Are they assigned, or is it first-come, first-served selection? I cannot see Ryan Newman & Juan Pablo Montoya making nice neighbors! Larry McReynolds: NASCAR controls the garage area, racetrack and the spotters' area. The tracks control the motorcoach lot. Some tracks are on a first-come, first-served basis. But most of the motorcoach drivers have a camaraderie, and they know where everybody parks each race. For example, Lowe's Motor Speedway is on a first-come, first-served basis, but I've had the same parking space there for years. Bristol gives past winners premium parking spaces with their names on them. Darrell Waltrip will always have the same parking space at Bristol, and there's a little plaque there noting his record 12 wins at the track.
FOX race analyst Larry McReynolds has more than 25 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, crew chief and broadcaster. He and his fellow Crew Chief Club members take you behind the wall at www.crewchiefclub.com.
"How to Become a Winning Crew Chief" is on bookstore shelves, or you may order your own autographed copy from www.DWStore.com.