ESPN's Ray Evernham answers your questions

NASCAR Icons readers filled the mailbag with questions for ESPN analyst Ray Evernham and he responded to some of the best ones below.

Evernham, who is co-owner of Gillett Evernham Motorsports, started out racing modifieds before making his name as a crew chief. He won three NASCAR Cup championships and 47 races with Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports in the 1990s before venturing into ownership in 2000.

Here are your questions and Evernham's answers:

On some tracks the cars bottom out real bad on the stops. why can't you lower the stops, install variable rate springs [say the top half of the spring is 1,500 pounds and increases to 4,500 pounds closer to the bottom of the spring], then the car might not slam down on the track quite so bad.
Kevin Johnson,
Glade Hill, Va.

Evernham: That's an excellent question. Kevin is definitely somebody who's on the ball.
That is something that we used to do, but NASCAR made variable rate springs
illegal. The spring must have a linear rate.

It certainly would help fix some of the problems with the COT. But that's a part of the car that NASCAR chose to regulate.

Whether it would fix everything that is going on with the COT, I can't answer that. But the variable rate spring was something that started to be
used in NASCAR and then was outlawed.

NASCAR should get probably the top 10 crew chiefs together and the bottom 10
crew chiefs together, so they've got a good spread in points, and see what
those guys feel would help them the most. I think what you'll see is people
wanting just a little bit more leeway in the splitter height like they're
doing with the Nationwide car.

Why is NASCAR testing in October and April for a race in July in Indy? The weather here is not even close to what it is like in July. Doesn't the hot summer heat affect the tires also? I have seen 23 Indy 500s and even I know that testing in October is almost a lost cause by the time the next year comes around after the winter snow has changed some of the track's character. Please clarify how the track and the tires interact with each other and how much weather plays a part in that equation.

Evernham: Great point. No doubt, if they were only testing for speed. But Goodyear had
such a huge problem with tire wear at Indy, the first thing they've got to
do is get the construction and the compound so it doesn't wear. And then as the time gets closer to the actual race they can start really worrying about compounds for speed.

You're right, temperature does make a difference. You want to develop a
tire for the same temperature you're going to race it. But they had such a
huge problem, they need to get a lot of testing done to redesign a tire
specifically for this COT car. And that's going to take some time because of
the time it takes to build tires.

During a pit stop, the lug nuts being removed roll all over the pit box. What prevents a tire getting punctured when the car leaves pit row?
Cape Coral, Fla.

Evernham: Again, another good question. Nothing. There have been plenty of tires cut.
Some tire damage has absolutely started with running over lug nuts on Pit
Road. The only reason that we don't see more tires cut on Pit Road by lug
nuts is the fact that the tire pressure is so low when they leave that it's
a little bit more forgiving than if you had tire pressure up.

I saw your No. 9 show car at Gateway Speedway and was wondering what the little fiber looking bolts were for on the splitter? Thanks.
Topeka, Kan.

Evernham: Boy, some of these people are very attentive. The little bolts that go
through the splitter that are made of plastic are bolts that the guys use,
they screw them down until they drag the track. And then how far those bolts
are drug off that lets us know how close our splitter is to the ground.