Canadian road racer Scott Maxwell, driver the No. 49 Multimatic Ford Prototype, entered the pits under green-flag conditions on lap 49 for the team's second scheduled pit stop of the day. Maxwell relinquished seventh position on the track and ...
Canadian road racer Scott Maxwell, driver the No. 49 Multimatic Ford Prototype, entered the pits under green-flag conditions on lap 49 for the team's second scheduled pit stop of the day. Maxwell relinquished seventh position on the track and handed over driving duties to reigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Kurt Busch.
SCOTT MAXWELL-49-Crown Royal Ford Multimatic
TALK ABOUT YOUR FIRST SHIFT BEHIND THE WHEEL AND THE PACE OF THE RACE SO FAR. "I always find that the first stint of the race is the hardest because you're a bit tense, it's really crowded and you just don't know what to expect. As you get into the second and third stints it becomes physically less draining because you're in rhythm and everyone is spread out, but the start is pretty hectic. And, it's probably the heat of the day right about now. It's not that hot, but the car is hot."
THE FIELD REMAINS TIGHTLY BUNCHED. HOW IS THE TRAFFIC ON THE TRACK? "Even the GT cars are hard to pass. Our handling is reasonable, it's not too bad, but we're just lacking straight-line speed, and it's really hard to get past the GTs. It sounds silly, but you plan to get by them on the straightaway, and all of sudden you have to dive-bomb them instead. It's a lot of work."
HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED ANY UNEXPECTED PROBLEMS SO FAR? "Everything was fine. Mechanically there are no issues. We're running the pace we want to run, so I can't complain about that."
HOW ARE THE TIRES HOLDING UP? "They're good through a stint. Our car is actually better at the end of the stint. It's more neutral at the end than it is at the beginning. The tires are just about right for one stint. I wouldn't want to try to double-stint them unless we had to."
Reigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Kurt Busch completed his first shift behind the wheel of the No. 49 Ford Multimatic, surrendering 15th position on lap 83. Busch made a scheduled pit stop under green-flag racing conditions and relinquished driving duties to Matt Kenseth. The team plans to implore a one-stint strategy with the NEXTEL Cup drivers for their first shifts.
KURT BUSCH-49-Crown Royal Ford Multimatic
TALK ABOUT YOUR FIRST SHIFT IN THE FORD MULTIMATIC PROTOTYPE. "There are too many corners out there. The normal oval only has four corners and I was having trouble negotiating a couple. It's great, though. It's fun to go around the race course and dodge the GT cars as well maintain the pace that our Crown Royal team is wanting to set. We're having some fun."
YOU OPTED TO STAY IN CALIFORNIA AN EXTRA DAY THIS WEEK TO TEST YOUR NEXTEL CUP CAR. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE PLAYING CATCH UP TO THE FIELD? "It was great to be able to test here a month ago, so we're as prepared as we can be. My main focus is my NEXTEL Cup car, so today we getting up to speed, and tomorrow, if we're in this same position, that's when we get to race."
COMMENT ON YOUR FIRST DRIVER EXCHANGE. "Having that driver aide really minimizes the driver impact when you do a driver change. The driver aide definitely slid us in and out as fast as we could. You just unlatch the belt as you park the car and you jump out as quick as you can. Going in you just have to help grab a couple of belts, and away you go."
YOU COMPETED A SINGLE STINT. IS DRIVER FATIGUE GOING TO BE A FACTOR? "It is a little bit warm in the cockpit right now, but the temperature is going to continue to drop going into the morning to stay cool. There are no worries about that. It's just a matter of working on the car a little bit. I think we have a bit of oversteer, and that was hurting me a little bit. Otherwise, it's just fun dodging all of the different cars and racing."
WHAT WAS TRAFFIC LIKE ON THE TRACK DURING YOUR STINT, AND HAVE YOU EVER EXPERIENCED ANYTHING LIKE THAT IN YOUR CAREER? "Nothing like that; only when you have fresh tires and the whole Cup field has old tires. That's the difference and the similarities."
Matt Kenseth, the third driver to take his turn at the wheel of No. 49 Ford Multimatic, encountered problems as he was coming down pit road for a scheduled pit stop and driver change on lap 127, 4 hours and 25 minutes into the event. As Kenseth attempted to enter pit lane, the No. 49 Prototype broke the CV joint and was forced to enter the garage for repairs. The car retuned to the track on race lap 147 with Greg Biffle at the wheel, and was 23 laps behind the race leader.
MATT KENSETH-49-Crown Royal Ford Multimatic
WHAT HAPPENED TO PUT YOU IN THE GARAGE? "I was going to come in the lap before, and it was my fault, I didn't slow down enough to get past traffic, so I had to run one more lap, and that lap it just broke the half shaft in the back. Everything was working fine, it was shifting fine, and everything seemed normal, and apparently I pushed the clutch in and broke a half shaft and it came apart. It's only about a 20-minute fix, so hopefully we can recover from it."
THERE ALSO APPEARS TO BE WORK GOING ON IN THE FRONT OF THE CAR. "Not really, but somewhere along the line in the first couple of runs our front tire got bumped and our toe-in is off a little bit, so it's steering kind of hard and I think they're looking at that. I think just because they have time to fix the half shaft they're just putting in new (brake) pads so they can run them longer tonight."
IS GREG BIFFLE GETTING IN THE CAR NEXT? "Yeah, Greg is going in next. The car is a little beat up, but it really doesn't drive that bad and we were on a consistent pace there. It wasn't quite the pace of the leaders, but it was pretty consistent and hopefully we can get back out there and get back in this thing."
Greg Biffle completed the first four-member rotation of the No. 49 Ford Multimatic "Team of Champions," and turned over nighttime driving duties to Scott Maxwell on lap 180 as the six-hour time period elapsed.
GREG BIFFLE-49-Crown Royal Ford Multimatic - YOU GOT IN THE CAR FOLLOWING THE PROBLEM WITH THE CV JOINT. IS EVERYTHING OK WITH THE CAR? "The car drove really good. It took me a while to get used to it, but the guys did a great job putting it back together. We lost our traction control because our axel shaft broke that piece, but it really drove good. I was really happy with it, and really got used to it at the end of the run. I kinda wanted to go another stint, but Scotty was lined up to get in it, so you mind as well let him go."
YOU WERE INVOLVED N SOME PRETTY HEAVY TRAFFIC DURING YOUR STINT. "It's pretty tough. It's a challenge, for sure, but that's part of the 24-hour deal. You've got to give a lot of times, and you've got to knew when to be aggressive, too, otherwise you'll never get by them. I'm getting more used to it, and that's why I was getting faster laps as my stint went on; I was still passing heavy traffic and still was able to do a good lap."
YOU DROVE THE CAR DURING THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM DAY TO NIGHT. HOW DIFFICULT WAS THAT FOR YOU? "What was the hardest is that I put a clear shield on before I went and the sun was in my eyes for a long time. It's been OK under the lights so far, though."
LARRY HOLT, Technical Director/Vice President of Engineering-49-Crown Royal Ford Multimatic - THE RACE IS NOW ONE QUARTER OF THE WAY OVER. TALK ABOUT THE PROGRESSION OF THE RACE. "We lost a CV joint, a half shaft. I think there was a fair bit of contact on the right side of the car because we had to put toe links it in because that front suspension was bent and we lost a CV joint. I don't know who exactly that was, so we're not going to point any fingers, but that's what caused the problem. It took us out, but the guys did a really, really good job and got us back out there in 30 minutes. Biffle got in it and I'd say that was the best run of any driver so far."
THE CUP DRIVERS ONLY DROVE FOR ONE STINT. DO YOU PLAN ON USING THEM FOR TWO STINTS DURING THE OVERNIGHT HOURS? "We're going to try that right now. Scott only did a stint and a half the first time, and he said it's a single stint when it's hot. We're going to try a double stint now, and Greg just told me that he could have probably done a double. He was the most consistent, and that was an awesome stint; that guy is really good."