NASCAR Mailbag: Change on the horizon for RPM?

Here's this week's responses from the NASCAR team at Motorsport.com to fans' questions.

NASCAR Mailbag: Change on the horizon for RPM?
Aric Almirola, Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford, Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Aric Almirola, Richard Petty Motorsports Ford

With what Adam Stern reported on Tuesday, 8/22 of Smithfield likely staying with the 43 car, who do you see driving that? Also, there was the report that they could switch to Chevrolet, do you see that happening or are they just using it as leverage to get a better deal with Ford? Lastly, since they were speculated to perhaps go to the No. 10 Ford at SHR, how does that affect the situation with SHR in 2018? 

Hey Nick, Smithfield and Richard Petty Motorsports have been working on an extension and I don’t expect the sponsor to go anywhere. As for who will drive the car, Bubba Wallace appears to be the top candidate at the moment. Should RPM make a manufacturer switch, don't be surprised if the Chevy move is simply a placeholder before returning to Dodge in 2019. If the “they” you are referring to is Smithfield, the only piece moving from RPM to SHR is possibly the driver — Aric Almirola. – Lee Spencer

Is it true that NASCAR banned the Dodge Superbird from Daytona? If so what was the reason? 

Hey Brenda, NASCAR banned the Dodge Daytona, and its sibling, the Plymouth Superbird, for the 1971 season through changes in its rulebook. NASCAR officials were concerned with the dangerously high speeds (they were the first go go over 200 mph) as well the huge wing and nose cone as the cars didn’t look much like traditional stock cars. The ban brought an end to the production of the Plymouth Superbird, as the car was specifically designed for NASCAR competition and without it, there was no need for a production model. – Jim Utter

If Joey Logano doesn't make the playoffs, what is the likelihood of Team Penske making significant changes to the 22 team? Also, should Joey Logano fans, (like myself), be worried that his present performance is indication of how he'll be in the future? Thanks so much!

Hey Jack, I spoke with Joey on Wednesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway and he doesn’t seemed fazed by the team’s recent slump. He — and his Penske teammate Brad Keselowski — have both said their cars are lacking speed to keep up with the dominant Toyotas. But Logano was quick to point out that racing is cyclical. He expects it just to be a matter of time before the No. 22 is back on top again. – Lee Spencer

Will NASCAR ever feel like the cars are safe enough to stop plate races? If not why or why not? - From Jennifer

Hi Jennifer, it's interesting because some will argue it would now be safer to take off the plates than to continue with the pack racing. However, the speeds of unrestricted Cup cars would be far too dangerous. Higher speeds will only result in more violent wrecks and more upside down cars. The cars are very safe, but the chance of injury still exists. Beyond that, the safety of the fans would become an even greater concern. - Nick DeGroot

With Chevy stating they will run a Camaro in Cup Series and Ford with the Mustang, what body will Toyota be using? A Camry wouldn’t fit in the lineup ... it’s not even the same class of car. Do they have a two-door car in their future? 

Hey Dave, first of all, Edsel Ford II said he would like to see the Mustang compete against the Camaro, however, as a member of Ford Motor Company’s board of directors, he doesn’t make the final decision for Ford Performance marketing strategy. That being said, I would not  be surprised if those in the halls of the Dearborn, Mich., campus don't echo his sentiment. 

As for a Toyota entry, I agree with you that the Camry’s level of sexiness falls short against the American muscle cars. At one time, Toyota did have the Solara — which was by far the sportiest of the Japanese automaker’s line up at that time. Its Scion marque had two two-door options including FR-S which was a collaboration with Subaru. Scion ceased operation last year, but the FR-S — now the Toyota 86 — is a two-door coupe. Personally, I’d much rather see that car on the track than a Camry but it all comes down to marketing. And it would be hard to argue with the Toyota’s ability to market the Camry. – Lee Spencer

Get your questions in and be sure to follow every NASCAR series all season long on Motorsport.com.

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Do you have a question?

Fans submit your questions each week to NASCARmailbag@motorsport.com. Responses will be reported generally once a week during the NASCAR season (Usually on Thursdays) Please submit your questions to the above email address.

You can also reach Jim Utter, Lee Spencer, Nick DeGroot and Tim Southers on Twitter at @jim_utter,  @candicespencer, @ndegroot89 and @TimSouthers, respectively. Use the hashtags #AskJim, #AskLee, #AskNick or #AskTim when submitting a question through Twitter. 

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