January 11, 2005 | 9:55 A.M. EST
Gary Schroeder, Wheeling, Illinois
A couple reasons. Sponsors and manufacturers want to get as much exposure as possible, so putting together a team of Nextel Cup drivers is a great way to generate more publicity. Ford's 24 Hour effort features Roush Racing's trio of Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth. Terry and Bobby Labonte will be teaming up this year while Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart are two other Cup stars who will be competing in the twice-around-the-clock marathon, all with some major backing. Then there's the other reason. Some of those guys, like Stewart, just love to race anything they can and want to get a jump on the season.
How important do you think this "Pre-Season Thunder" test session is at Daytona?
Hank Trailor, Pensacola, Florida
The Daytona test session is vital to teams these days, but don't read too much into times and speeds that come out of Daytona Beach this week. It's more about teams trying set-ups and getting comfortable than it is about speed. New driver-team combinations will also benefit greatly from the Daytona tests, which are going to be very important for drivers like Kyle Busch, Jason Leffler and Dave Blaney.
How in the world will they come up with 33 cars for this year's Indianapolis 500?
Stacy Kostner, Columbia, Missouri
Are you available on May 29th Stacy? Just kidding. This will most likely finally be the year the 500 starts without its traditional 33-car field. And although IMS President Tony George has insisted that 33 is just a number, it's a shame. With the current crop of IRL teams mixed in with a few Champ Car interlopers and one-off efforts for Indy, I can't see more than 30 cars taking the green flag this Memorial Day weekend at The Brickyard.
Any news on the Champ Car television deal?
Larry Mix, Buffalo Grove, Illinois
There will be six races on network television this year in a time buy deal with NBC and CBS. The balance of the schedule will be on cable television and it's looking like a deal with SPEED Channel won't happen as hoped and that Champ Car will wind-up on either MSNBC or CNBC, which is going to make it hard for some fans to find.
Is Kenny Brack's racing career over?
Phillip Lajoy, Ontario, Canada
Sadly, I think it is. Team Rahal's 2005 line-up is set with Buddy Rice, Vitor Meira and Danica Patrick, leaving Brack on the outside looking in. With the tight IRL team financial picture, there doesn't seem to be a place for the popular Brack to wind-up for the coming season. That said, I've sensed all along that Kenny really didn't want to return to a full-time racing gig and that in reality, this could all be a blessing in disguise.