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.

Kasey Kahne, Patrick Carpentier and Elliott Sadler drive Dodges for Gillett Evernham in the Sprint Cup series this season.

Here are your questions and Evernham's answers:

What is the difference between the current engine you are using and the new one that you will have, and when will we see the new engine?
Elma, N.Y.

Evernham: Just design parameters. NASCAR is trying to get all engine manufacturers in a kind of a single design parameter of camshaft, cylinder head design, things like that. So with that said this new motor has a different combustion chamber, a little bit different cylinder head, it's a physically lighter motor and it should allow us to continue to improve the performance of the Dodge engine.

We're still waiting on confirmation on when the new one can be used.

In NHRA teams can remove, rebuild a motor and driveline in less than an hour. If you lose a motor during a race can you do a quick engine swap and come back out to regain some points?
Mark Guymon,

Leroy, Ill.

Evernham: Well, there's a NASCAR rule against changing engines, engine blocks during a race. But we used to be able do that. And the world record, I believe, for changing an engine and getting back out on the race track was held by Junior Johnson and his guys in about 11 minutes. It was very much a practice in NASCAR in the early '90s to be able to change an engine -- get off the track and get back on the track -- in 15 minutes.

Jeff Gordon got squeezed into his pit box twice at Loudon and it cost him valuable track position. What is the rule on alignment in the pit box when entering and exiting?
Chesterfield, Mo.

Evernham: NASCAR rules state you cannot have the right front out of your pit box, but you can have the right rear out of your pit box. So it is very common practice that if you are pitting behind someone and he comes in on a pit stop after you do, and can't get into his pit box, he pits at an angle, it blocks you in.

Now, it's common courtesy to try to get into your pit box and not leave your car hanging out of it. But according to NASCAR rules you can have the right rear hanging out of your pit box.

What is the tape on race tires for?
Antwerp, Ohio

Evernham: That really helps the tire handler locate the wheel on the studs during the pit stop. When they're handing them a tire they're trying to put it on the wheel studs without having to turn it. So that tape is an alignment mark for them on a spot that they have picked out, whether that's a wheel stud or a spot on the car where they know that they have to hand that tire in so it can go directly on the wheel studs.