NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
QUAKER STATE 400
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
JULY 9, 2015
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 CESSNA CHEVROLET SS met with media and discussed the upcoming rules packages, what the goals are to make the racing better, the accident at Daytona, and more. Full Transcript:
TALK ABOUT RACING AT KENTUCKY THIS WEEKEND WITH THE NEW RULES PACKAGE AND HOW YOU THINK YOUR CAR WILL ADAPT TO THAT
“I was part of the tire test here a few months ago. So, I was somewhat looking forward to coming back because we did get to spend three days here on the track. It will be certainly a little bit different with the rules package, but really, after talking with the team and some of the wind tunnel stuff they’ve done, I don’t expect there to be something crazy different with the set-up or really, it’s just going to be less grip. It will be interesting to see how important tires are going to be. This tire is the same tire we’re going to run with the other, with 1,000 pounds more downforce. I think the wear will be a little bit less. But I don’t know. Until we get to practice, it’s hard to say.”
WE’VE GOT THIS KENTUCKY PACKAGE HERE, THE LOW DOWNFORCE PACKAGE, BUT THEN NASCAR INTRODUCES THIS HIGHER DOWNFORCE PACKAGE FOR INDIANAPOLIS AND FOR MICHIGAN. SO NOW WE HAVE TRACK-SPECIFIC PACKAGES. HOW DO YOU THINK THAT RACING IS GOING TO BE COMPARED TO THIS? IS THAT THE DIRECTION WE NEED TO GO?
“Well, here’s the deal. We’re trying to make it better at every type of track. And when I look at a place like Kansas or Michigan or any place that we’ve repaved, you’re going to have a really hard time getting Goodyear to build a tire that’s softer and will wear out that will go along with this lighter downforce package. And so, Michigan, the places that have been repaved recently; even at Indy, which is a somewhat unique track, I think the idea of having the super high drag is a great idea. It’s something to try. Again, none of us know. That’s why were going to try this here and at Darlington and try the other package at Michigan and Indy. So, until you get it on the track…
“The biggest thing, to me, and what I like, is that maybe we could have a different type of package for each type of track. When you look historically, Indy had been a pretty challenging race; a tough place to pass. And then you look at when IndyCar goes there and it’s one of the best races they have. So, the track has the capability of putting on a really good race. And to me, the concept behind having the high drag and the car behind having a big horsepower advantage, is something that’s worth looking at and trying it in a race configuration is really the only way to know what you’re going to have.
“I was a part of all of the test that we had at Charlotte, where we did six or eight different races with different rules packages, and only running ten laps and really not giving the teams a sufficient amount of time to work on the balance of your car, it’s hard to know what you’re going to have.”
“I think, well, I know that’s the idea behind it. If the car behind is within two or three car lengths, the goal is for that car to be able to pass by the time they get to the end of the straightaway, which is really what you see at the Indy 500. It seems like if you’re somewhat of a sitting duck being out front; so yeah, I think that’s the concept behind it. I hope that works out. As drivers, that’s what we would all like to have, is the opportunity to be able to pass on each straightaway.”
GREG BIFFLE SAID THAT AS LONG AS HE GOT AN HOUR OF PRACTICE, HE’D BE COMFORTABLE STARTING WITH THE NEW PACKAGE ON SATURDAY NIGHT. WHAT’S YOUR VIEW OF THAT? IS THAT ENOUGH TIME? IF YOU GET THREE HOURS TOMORROW, IS THAT ENOUGH TIME?
“I like Greg’s confidence. That’s great. I don’t know. I think most of us wanted to have yesterday. And not only yesterday, but then a day to think about it and try to come up with other ideas if what you had wasn’t working. It’s different, I remember running this package at Michigan. It was a little more motor, but the cars were quite a bit looser, even though it seems like the aero balance is shifted to the rear, the cars were quite a bit freer. So, I don’t know. I think all of us would like to have as much practice as we can get. However, if you get and hour or an hour and a half, you’ll have an idea of where you think your balance needs to go.”
HOW MUCH DOES THIS RULES PACKAGE PUT THE CAR BACK IN THE DRIVER’S HANDS VERSUS THE AERODYNAMICS? IS THAT SOMETHING YOU’D LIKE? SOME GUYS HAVE LIKENED THAT TO OLD SCHOOL RACING AND ARE REALLY EXCITED ABOUT IT.
“It’s still going to be somewhat aero-sensitive. The goal behind this package is that what we had earlier in the year, there’s very little off-throttle time. It’s more so in practice, than in the race. Like Vegas and Atlanta and some of the places we first went to this year with this package, in Qualifying you could almost run wide-open. And really, in race trim, for 10 to 15 laps, you could run not wide-open, but barely lifting off the gas. So it makes it really hard to pass the guy in front of you if he never lets off. How do you ever get beside him? So, the thought behind it was that if the guy in front of you had to let off, because there’s no downforce and because his car is sliding around, if you were able to make your car drive a small amount better, maybe you can get beside him and race. But, it will still be somewhat aero-sensitive. We’re still going to go 200 mph and it’s still a stock car that punches a pretty big hole in the air. But, hopefully it’s less sensitive. And hopefully, you can make your car handle better than the guy in front of you.
“I think what all of us would like to have is like an old Darlington or Rockingham-type set-up, where you maybe have a softer tire and a tire that wears out. And you’d have a guy that’s really good at the start of a run, and then you’d have the guys that weren’t good at the start, but came on at the end because maybe they didn’t burn their tires up or maybe it’s just the balance of their car. And so you’d have rabbits at the beginning and they’d get run down at the end and there would be some passing. I don’t know if we’ll ever get to that. But that’s the goal of all of us and that’s what everybody would like to have.”
WE’RE GETTING PRETTY CLOSE NOW TO CRUNCH-TIME IN MAKING THE CHASE. HOW DO YOU ASSESS YOUR CHANCES TO MAKE THE CHASE AND WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHT ON THE WAY IT’S PLAYED OUT SO FOR? HOW MANY DIFFERENT WINNERS DO YOU THINK WE’LL SEE? HOW MANY GUYS WILL BE ABLE TO GET IN ON POINTS?
“We’ve been pretty solid all year long. And I remember heading into to the first Talladega race, knowing that was a big weekend for a guy who hadn’t won a race because you could have someone new win, and you could also have a 40th place finish, which makes a big swing in the points. So, making it through there was big for us, and then making it through last weekend (at Daytona) was the same thing. Not having a new winner and then not having a horrible finish. We didn’t really lose that many points to the guys that we’re racing. So, I only look at maybe Watkins Glen as being somewhat of a wild card where you’d have a unique winner. And so for us, it’s just about doing the same thing and getting the best finish we can.
“The biggest goal for me at the beginning of the year was to finish better than where we raced. And I’ve had a hard time doing that the last couple of years. We’ve raced well and haven’t finished as good as what we’ve been racing. This year, we’ve finished better than where we’ve raced a lot of times. That’s really helped us out in the points.”
LAST WEEK AT DAYTONA YOU WERE IN THAT LAST MULTI-CAR WRECK. CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT YOU SAW DURING THAT ACCIDENT?
“I didn’t see much. Honestly, when we came off Turn 2, it was a huge pack of cars. You’re gently pushing the guy in front of you and pushing him into the guy in front of him. And I think all of us knew heading into Turn 3, that when we came off Turn 4 it would not be gentle anymore and that you’re just going to mat the gas and shove the guy as hard as you can and hope that you make it through the wreck because all of us knew that there was going to be a wreck, either before the finish line or afterwards. And all I could see was whoever was in front of me. I saw, I guess, Austin’s (Dillon) car go up in the air. I thought it was Trevor Bayne. It was just all kind of red and blue. I was thankful that I didn’t hit it on the way by, but I didn’t really see a whole lot. I knew that it was a bad wreck only based on my spotter’s reaction to me. He kind of stopped spotting the car and started talking about what he was seeing.”
“I thought it was a horrible wreck. I thought Austin Dillon was really lucky to escape with really no injuries. I was pretty impressed with the catch fence and how it contained the car. Obviously it reminded all of us of Kyle Larson’s wreck a few years ago in the Nationwide race. But it’s a part of plate racing. I think all of us know, getting in the cars when we go to Daytona and Talladega, that there’s a chance of a wreck like that. At the same time, you hope that we can learn from it and figure out a way to keep the cars on the ground and contain them from the fans even better than what we have. You look back over the years of the sport and everything that we have is evolved from something like that. So, NASCAR has done a really nice job, in my opinion, of learning from accidents on the track. And hopefully we’ll learn from this one, as well.”
WHEN GREG BIFFLE WAS IN HERE, HE WAS ALSO TALKING ABOUT THE WIND TUNNEL AND THE AMOUNT OF WORK THAT HE THOUGHT A LOT OF THE TEAMS WERE DOING. AND I’VE HEARD THAT SOME TEAMS HAVE REALLY SPENT A LOT OF TIME REALLY WORKING ON THIS. HAVE YOU HEARD ANYTHING LIKE THAT? DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS THAT SOME TIMES ARE GOING TO COME IN A LOT MORE PREPARED THAN YOURS? HOW MUCH WORK HAVE YOU GUYS DONE?
“Well, I think that most of the teams, you get the best data from Windshear. And for the most part, there’s no time available at Windshear. I think all of the teams have an allotment that they’ve booked months ago; or maybe in the last year they’ve been booking these dates. So, I can’t say that we only go to Windshear. We might go to the other wind tunnel somewhat. But you get the best data from Windshear. There wasn’t like, when this rules package came available, it’s like I’m going to go and schedule a bunch of wind tunnel time. It was already taken and you’re already trying to get all you can. So, I don’t really see that being any different.”
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