Why are certain NASCAR drivers seemingly always in the back of the pack, sometimes laps down even if they haven’t crashed?

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I watch pretty casually. I’ve noticed some drivers like Joey Gase, Michael McDowell, Timmy Hill etc seem be usually racing and usually way in the back of the pack. Are their cars slower? Are they really that much worse of drivers? Are there not other drivers who could do better?

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Aside from the drivers and their individual skill, the cars are different. I don’t really watch nascar, but I imagine it’s similar to F1 for instance, where the individual teams make parts differently for their cars, the different companies have different engines, etc.

A team with less money can not afford a better driver, because they want a higher salary, and also, will likely have parts that are not as good as teams that are wealthier and win a lot more.

It’s a combination of factors. It’s partly because those drivers are probably just not at the level of drivers like Busch, Harvick or Elliot.

It also has to do with knowing how to setup a car (or have the best engineers who can help you with that). Especially now that there is no practice or qualifying.

But it also comes down to team budgets. The cars are all equal due to the stock regulations. However, the biggest teams like Penske, Hendrick and JGR have enough money to change out parts that have wear.

A very simplified example: the rubbers of wheels hubs or suspension will wear and after a while the develop a bit of play. Bigger teams would replace those rubbers to keep the car as controllable as possible. A smaller team would do another race with them to save money. As a result the cars handling is slightly compromised and thus slower.

There are a few teams that don’t try to perform well. They can make a certain amount of money from the race winnings and their share of the TV contract, so they run their teams under that amount and profit.

Their goal is profit, not winning.

Rick Ware Racing in particular. Spire and Premium as well.