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Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, NASCAR, Trackside.
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2007 Allstate 400 at the BrickyardImage via WikipediaIndianapolis Motor Speedway
Race Day- Allstate 400 at The Brickyard

Claire B Lang – July 27, 2008 1:00 p.m.

Hey: Just about to head to the grid for the start of the race. I wanted to transcribe part of the news conference this morning regarding the tire issue so that you could read it. I finished most of it and am posting it now before running back into the garage and then to the grid.

The News Conference began at 10:00 a.m. EST this morning and was called this morning:

NASCAR Spokesman Jim Hunter: All of you probably know why we are here. The track improved between practices yesterday which is a good sign and once the field takes the track today – we think the track will get back to normal conditions. We’ll have a competition caution at lap 10 and we will evaluate and announce additional cautions if needed. As a contingency we have Pocono tires on hand. Goodyear is mounting back-up tires in an impound area. At 12 noon the teams will have access to the tires in an impound area. That’s only to prep them and everybody gets the same opportunity to prep them at the same time. The back up tires will remain in the impound area in the unlikely event we need them. Then all teams will be required to switch over at the same time. So at this time we are going to take questions. I think everyone knows the folks up here – Greg Stucker is Director of race tire sales for good year, Robin Pemberton is our VP of competition and Joey Chitwood is VP and General Manager…

Chitwood: ” President”

Hunter: “President…damn,”

Pemberton:” Let’s see how the day goes..”

(Loud laughter from the media audience)

Chitwood: “So I’m glad you could all join me for the F1 race today (laughter) I’m sorry 🙂

(More loud laughter)

Q: What’s the likelihood and I assume you are considering mandated intermittent cautions?

Pemberton: “This track surface and the tires – this is not anything that we don’t go through leading up to the race and for the most part early in the event. Jim stated that we’ll have a competition yellow at 10. We will evaluate how the tire wear comes. We’ll make a call on if it’s ten more laps or 15 or however we grow the green flag laps and we’ll make a call from there and see what we’ll have to do. It looks like it will be multiple competition cautions – at least two right now.

Q: What is the criteria used as to whether you get to the point of switching over to Pocono tires? Will it be NASCAR getting word from the teams that they have gone through most of their Indy tire supply?

Pemberton: Exactly. We’re going to monitor that. The teams will have the opportunity for about ten sets when it all unfolds. We know that a number of teams yesterday didn’t run all their tires so that inventory has gone into their race sets so there are many teams that are out there with 12 sets of tires without getting another set. We’re going to monitor the wear and the laps that we can run and early on we’ll be able to make a call as to how far we will be able to go with the Indy tires. If the wear characteristics do not improve enough…ahm once again it’s not unlike everything we deal with at this particular place getting the track rubbered in so like I said we started with about 5 or 6 laps in the first practice , got to about 10 yesterday in the second practice so we anticipate that it will fix itself and we’ll make that call early on – we’re going to have a good plan.

Q: If the field is going to be switched to Pocono tires will you simply red flag the race and bring everybody in at the same time – and make them switch then – how will the mechanics of that work?

Pemberton: “If it gets to that point. It will be a caution and the teams will already have had their tires up in their pit area. It will be similar to if we had rain tires or dry tires. We will make a call..all the current Indy tires will come out of the pit area and we will issue the Pocono tires and everyone will be on the same tires at the same time.

Q: You guys have mentioned before and we’ve heard talk in the garage about how this is not an unusual situation for this track how we’ve been through it before. But if we’ve been through it before and if you guys came in and had a tire test then why are we sitting here having this press conference.

Pemberton: “We have been through this before but one of the things that has changed is that we have a new car. And as everybody understands the car loads right side tires different than what we’ve run over the last 15 or 20 years. We had a chance to tire test here and when you come to tire test and you only have two three or four cars – it’s difficult to rubber in the race track. Obviously you’ve seen it with 43 cars out there yesterday -it’s still difficult to rubber in but it does happen. So this being the first event on this car and I think the way the tires have extra load on them – we have had tire improvements the cars do handle good and I think they are doing a great job with it and next year under different circumstances and test policies we will probably see some improvement early on.

Stucker: “Just to reiterate, I mean we have seen an improvement. If you look at history last year the actual number of tires that people used was well within what they have available to them now so being we run a very similar tire and using the same right side compound we expect that same thing to happen so we’ll be fine once we get into the race.

Drivers Meeting:

The drivers meeting was relatively quiet. The above (tire issue) was mentioned.

Pit Road Speed: 55 mph
Caution Car Speed: 70 mph
Pit Road Speed Begins: 180 feet before the first pit box
Pit Road Speed Ends: 150 feet past the last pit box
Minimum Speed: 56.16 seconds

I’ll be back with more later. I wanted to get this posted ASAP.

Claire B

Zemanta Pixie

Pocono Raceway Driver’s Meeting Sunday, May 8, 2008 June 8, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Trackside.
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Pocono 500Image via WikipediaGood day! Welcome to race day.

A couple of interesting notes from the Sprint Cup Series drivers’ meeting here at Pocono Raceway.

Dale Earnhardt Junior
– watched the Nationwide Race at Nashville on Direct TV in his Motor Home Saturday night – well until Direct TV mysteriously went to a network logo and dropped the broadcast for the final laps of the race. The broadcast – out for an estimated ten laps – picked up with Brad Keselowski in Victory Lane – so Dale Junior did not get to see his driver race to the win as he too watched the broadcast go to a logo while watching the Nationwide race from his motor home. “Yea, Pretty frustrating,” he said when I asked him about it. He also said, heading into the driver’s meeting, that he was proud of the entire Junior Motorsports team and that the team’s win would accomplish some great things for his team. “It really makes us a legitimate contender for the championship this year,” Dale Junior said today at the entrance to the drivers’ meeting. “From an owner’s standpoint it puts us in a Winner’s Circle Program and there’s a lot of different things that it will change for our program and (it will) help our program. I think it really gives us a stronger footing in the series and our ability to be there and compete for a few more years.

No questions at the driver’s meeting from the drivers – and the usual information noted by Race Director David Hoots. Specifics to Pocono and the Pocono 500:

Pit Road Speed Pocono: 55 mph
Caution Car Speed Pocono: 70 mph
Pit Road Speed Begins: 165 feet before the first pit box
Pit Road Speed Ends: 75 feet past the last pit box
Minimum Speed: 60.08 seconds

After the drivers’ meeting, with no questions and the drivers ready to go, we prayed. Amen!

Mood Meter: Does it work?
In my humble observation – the guy who was in an obvious good mood at the driver’s meeting was DeWalt Ford driver Matt Kennseth. He starts 13th -and was 5th fastest in the final practice. I go to the drivers’ meeting each week -and my gut reaction observation doesn’t mean a guy will win- but to me- even better than the track stats – it’s an indication he’s pretty happy with things heading into the race today. Let’s see if my mood meter works 🙂 We’ll meet back here after the race.

J.D. Gibbs Doesn’t Crack Under Pressure:

J.D. Gibbs will not sing like a bird! He might have been good in the military in battle. I was hanging out over at the NASCAR food area in the garage with another reporter having coffee very early this morning and J.D. walked up. The reporter tried to pry from him anything regarding a fourth team for Gibbs Racing or the contract future forTony Stewart. Despite comments from crew chief Greg Zipadelli that, in his opinion, Tony Stewart knows where he will be driving in the future Gibbs said it is not a done deal. Silly season is in full bloom – but Gibbs could be a poker player -and he swears it’s not a done deal with Stewart already done with his decision. The negotiating continues?

Well – out to pit road for the start of the race. I’ll keep you posted and you can email me if you have some good race questions during or after this race.

Take care.

Claire B
Pocono Raceway
XM Satellite Radio

Zemanta Pixie

DRIVERS MEETING: Sprint Cup All Star Challenge May 17, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers.
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Lowe’s Motor Speedway
CBL Pre-Race Blog

Hey! Well the driver’s meeting is over. Nothing major but a whole lot of reading of rules and because the rules for this All Star night are so different – everyone listened intently.

When David Hoots, the race director, was finished going over the rules – there was a question only from one driver. Kurt Busch asked if on restarts the leader has the choice of the lane he wants to use? Hoots replied that no the leader must take the inside.

There were secret service guys in the drivers meeting as well – North Carolina Governor Mike Easley showed up at the driver’s meeting and I assume that is why there were secret service checking out the media center today. Guests in the drivers meeting included a Major General from the National Guard, General of the USAF, John Walsh from America’s Most Wanted and the owner of the Atlanta Falcons.

The most significant moment in the driver’s meeting was the mention of Dale Jarrett’s last race…and a long, very long and meaningful standing ovation.
Congratulations DJ!

Now – it’s off to the burnout competition.
Claire B