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Race Day Texas Motor Speedway November 2, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, NASCAR, Trackside.
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Texas Motor Speedway on NASA World Wind 1.3.Image via WikipediaBlog – November 2, 2008
Claire B Lang

The Dickies 500 will take the green flag today at 3:30 p.m. EST and ABC-TV will begin live coverage at 3:00 p.m. EST.

Driver’s Meeting – Get out the Vote:

NASCAR Race Director David Hoots opened the pre race drivers’ meeting here at Texas Motor Speedway today by asking the drivers and crew chiefs gathered in the auditorium in the media center here to vote on Tuesday.

“I’d like to remind everybody to take the opportunity – use the privilege that we have – be an American to vote this week – so everybody do that if you would please,” Hoots noted as he took the microphone prior to the review of the race rules and regulations.

Race Director David Hoots Asks Drivers Not To Get Lax:

David Hoots today also made a special note to remind the teams and drivers about safety vehicles. “We’ll take three pace laps. Crew chiefs, each week we ask you to have your spotters take notice to where the fire trucks and emergency equipment is coming out. They are located around the race track. Do that on the pace laps if you would,” Hoots said.

Hoots added, “Once the caution lights are illuminated you are under caution. Slow down to a cautious pace. Let’s not get lax on this because I think we have a tendency but let’s not get lax. Be aware and very respectful of those emergency services vehicles and personnel out on that race track. They are responding to somebody that needs them. Slow down around the equipment and give them the maximum amount of room possible. If you can’t have clear vision on your car if you’ve been in an accident stop and let us come help you and get the car in the garage. Give them a lot of room and give them a lot of respect.”

TMS – Pit Road and Speeds:

Pit Road Speed is 45 mph.

Caution Speed is 55 mph.

Minimum Speed is 34.11

There were no questions asked….and we prayed.

Gordon on the Pole:

Jeff Gordon will start from the pole today. His award – a Beretta shotgun.

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT/NICORETTE IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 1ST:

“Texas has not been one of our best tracks but today has been a great day for the DuPont/Nicorette Chevrolet. We started off, the car felt good, but didn’t just quite have the speed. We worked on it and the last lap we made in practice, we really hit on something and it followed all the way through qualifying.

“We have made huge gains on these mile and a half race tracks. Things that I feel good about and we can be consistent with. It is just how you get good information back to your team to fine-tune things. That is how we go faster. We are finding it, we are just unfortunately finding it a little bit late. Not quite enough too late, but this is great for us. A good start to the weekend.

ON WINNING THE BERETTA SHOTGUN FOR GETTING THE POLE: “It is a beautiful shotgun. It takes about a year to get it after all the engraving that goes in to it. It is really a prize worth going after. Late in the season, we haven’t gotten a win. We haven’t been able to qualifying for about a month. This is just exciting to get out there and put a lap down. What a great day for the DuPont/Nicorette Chevrolet. The team was unbelievable today, we unloaded with a fast race car but just kept improving on it all through practice.

“Certainly a lot more comfortable on these mile and a half tracks than we were earlier in the season. This is just half the battle, just qualifying and one lap. We feel like we still have some work to do for the race. We will find out about that tomorrow, but I know our race car are so much better at this point in the season will all of our testing and our hard work. The mile and half have been pretty decent to us the last few times we have been to them, so we know we have made improvements. Texas has been hit or miss for us. We have been here capable of winning before and been here when we were the worst car or I was the worst driver, whatever it was, we weren’t fast. We really want to turn it around this weekend.

“I am so proud of this race team. I think it has been pretty well documented how tough of a weekend we had here in Texas back in April. This team has been working so hard and today was a real sign of that effort. Track position is so important at this place. We put a lot of effort and focus on qualifying and it paid off. That green machine is starting on the pole and we have to go to work tomorrow to get ready for the race and try to get it there.

“I just think that it is so ironic that the last three tracks, Martinsville, Charlotte and Atlanta, all tracks that we felt like we could win the pole at, we didn’t get the opportunity because of rain. I thought the last place we could win a pole was here at Texas. Here we are on the pole. Anything is possible.

“We have started from the pole here but not legitimately, it was because of rain. Top of the board practicing and now qualifying.

TALK ABOUT YOUR WEEKEND HERE IN APRIL: “In my opinion, the car does the talking for me. I drive it in the corner and it does whatever it is going to do. I don’t really do anything different. I try to improve all the time and get the most out of it. But, when the car does what I am asking it to do and it sticks, we go fast. I am not saying that meaning that the guys have to get the car right, it is all of us working together through testing, through communication, everything that it takes to get to get the right setup, the right feel, everything that matches up with how I am driving the car. When we were here in April, we just weren’t even close off the truck. I knew we were in trouble. It just didn’t feel right. It wasn’t fast, the times in qualifying showed up. Today is the exact opposite. I said our car feels pretty good. It is a little tight, but it is comfortable going through the transitions in the corner, I wasn’t having some issues I was having in the past. We kept freeing the car up. A lot of times when you free the car up here, you just get loose in, loose off, it doesn’t really fix the middle part of the corner. All the adjustments we were doing were helping in the right spot and the car just kept going faster. We put up a big lap there at the end of practice and were able to back it up. It is a great feeling and definitely a boost to the confidence of our team.

“I like the night races and I think if you are close, you should be able to adjust on it from the daylight in to the night time. To me track position is just so important at this track. To me it plays out way more than what the car is going to do from day to night. Obviously we have to keep up that. All we can do is go off of our notes from last year and our teammates and go in to practice and see what kind of balance the car has. You have to be careful trying to pay too much attention, you have to think about track temperature changing, but you have to be careful about putting too much emphasis on it. We will just go in to practice tomorrow and make the best of it. In the early practice will be the closest it will be when the race goes in to night time.”

WOULD IT BE FITTING FOR YOU TO WIN HERE TO BREAK THE WINLESS STREAK? “Well, I wasn’t expecting to get the pole, I can tell you that. I definitely not expecting to get the win either, but it doesn’t stop us as a team and me as a driver from trying to make that happen and putting out every bit of effort that we can. I mean, it really doesn’t matter what our stats are, good or bad at any race track. We go in to that weekend believing we can win the pole, that we can win the race and constantly pushing the car and ourselves to improve whether we won the last race there or finished dead last. That is just the kind of team that we are and I think today pretty much proves that and shows that, we know everybody is talking about us not winning and certainly know that our stats here are not great. Yet, we come out with a great car today, win the pole and that all we have to go on right now. We have to wait until Sunday to see how the race unfolds. I can tell you that the track position is huge here and can play a big role.”

MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO.1 BASS PRO SHOP/TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 2ND: “It was a good run. The car was good off the trailer and we were able to go out there and just hold it wide open. I was hoping we had a shot at keeping the pole, but nevertheless it was a good run for our Bass Pro Shops Chevy.

HOW GREAT IS THE SENSATION OF SPEED HERE? “Not really. I don’t think it seems faster than any of the other tracks we go to. Doesn’t seem any faster than Atlanta. I think after 100, they all feel about the same. It isn’t too bad.”

IS THIS A CAR YOU HAVE RUN A LOT? “We’ve been kind of all over the board here lately. We actually ended up fairly similar to where we were here in the spring, we came with a different setup with some stuff we learned last week in Atlanta and at Charlotte. It didn’t work. That is the thing with these cars, you can’t really seem to be able to take it anywhere else. I don’t know it is. It is like every track you go to has its own things that it likes. Until you figure that out, you are kinda going to chase yourself around in circles. We went back to close to where we were in the spring, kinda like the stuff we ran last year with this car earlier in the year and it seemed to work pretty good for us. It is hard to tell exactly what it is you need to do to get better when everywhere you go is a little bit different.”

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 3RD: “It was good. We unloaded good. I was proud of the guys. Qualifying hasn’t been our strong point all season long. We’ve been getting lucky the last three races starting fifth. We earned a top five this time and all is well.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 7TH: “You see a big number like the No. 1 car put out, you know what you did in practice and the adjustments that have been made, you try and compute all that and say OK, my mark was here and I am going to try to go to here and hope it sticks. Getting out there and remembering those things is really the tough part. But, when you have a great race car like I did today, you can go out and do a good job with it, get a good lap. Very happy with the Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet and looking forward to a good weekend.

“It was a great lap. I have wanted to be on track the last few weeks like everyone else. It was some really good tracks that got rained out of qualifying.”

I am headed out to the garage. I’ll keep you posted. I’m in the radio room behind the auditorium where the Motor Racing Outreach service is going on and they are playing guitars and singing. It’s extremely inspirational to hear that and see the drivers gathered for church service before a race like this.

Enjoy the day. More later!

Claire B

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