Continued from part 1 Q: Is there anything you can learn from racing your GS car this weekend to apply to your GT car? ANDY LALLY: We'll learn a handful of things. A little bit about what the track's gonna do at that point in the day.
Continued from part 1
Q: Is there anything you can learn from racing your GS car this weekend to apply to your GT car?
ANDY LALLY: We'll learn a handful of things. A little bit about what the track's gonna do at that point in the day. Every year it's a little bit different. We'll pick up a little bit of pit strategy. Just a handful of things.
Being at a track and going back to it a month later, it's so fresh in your mind that it will help some of the driving things. In the beginning of the conference call I spoke about it's tricky when you have two classes that are actually really close. The Rolex GT and the KONI Challenge Series are actually pretty close. You're doing very, very similar things here.
In some ways that's good and in some ways that's bad. But I think having the track fresh in our mind, having an approximate idea of what our strategy will be like, tire wear, whatnot, will certainly play a factor in what our decisions will be when we go back for the Rolex race in April.
Q: In continuing the NASCAR comparison, the NASCAR team, always talking about bringing certain cars with certain setups to certain tracks. Do you find that you have to do the same thing or does your car pretty much work anywhere?
ANDY LALLY: Since we run all of our races on road courses, the aerodynamics are set up for turning both right and left all the time, we'll bring the same style chassis to all of our races.
In fact, in most cases, in the KONI Challenge Series and in the Rolex Series, you'll run the entire season with just one car. Our backup, unlike in the NASCAR stuff where each team will bring a backup every single weekend, have specific chassis like in the Truck Series and the Nationwide Series, where you'll have a short-track chassis, intermediate chassis, a downforce chassis, which also could be an intermediate chassis, then a straight chassis for the road courses, a superspeedway chassis, we don't have that. Our body parts are spec, similar to what a COT is now. The chassis don't just get lifed out as much as they would with the COT or the truck stuff. They're also not as track-specific. All of our suspension and whatnot is changeable within those cars so that we can adapt to every different track that we go to and run the same piece.
It makes it very cost-effective. It just shows the versatility of those cars.
Q: Do you find racing specifically at Homestead is different since they changed the track a few years ago?
ANDY LALLY: Do you mean with the old banking?
ANDY LALLY: The infield road course section is exactly the same as it has been for years there. The banking, actually it's more fun, to tell you the truth now, with the progressive banking. 18, 90, 20 degrees, is that what it is? It's a lot more fun. I always have more fun on the high banks. It lets us roll in there a lot faster. Also gives you more grooves to race.
I think you'll see a lot of times, especially on restarts, when these cars are all knotted up, we'll be three- and four-wide up on that banking coming through there.
It makes it a lot of fun. I don't think the racing has changed too much. The line has changed a little bit through there, but it hasn't sacrificed anything on what we do setup-wise, except for, to be very specific, a little bit more right front spring just because of the increased loads with the banking there. Other than that, it will run pretty much the same exact setup.
Q: Kevin had a lot of success in sports cars. You've been a part of a lot of that. With what you've experienced with Kevin and his group, what puts them in a position to succeed in NASCAR, but also ARCA where they've had some success?
ANDY LALLY: Drive. Just like any other team owner. What makes Jack Roush, Richard Childress, the Rick Hendricks of the racing world out there successful is the fact that they are there to win. It's excellent working for a guy like Kevin, who is working just as hard as I'm working out there, and wants it just as bad.
When you want it that bad, you're gonna work hard for it. My guys, my team, myself, Kevin included, certainly work really hard to be the best that we can anytime we go anywhere.
Obviously, in our move over to NASCAR, whether it be the Camping World Truck Series or the Nationwide Series or ARCA or Sprint Cup, budget comes into play. That's huge. I think Kevin's doing a great job with David in the 71 car right now on a shoestring budget. We ran a real small budget last year when I started the deal with the trucks.
But there was a ton of heart and drive in the guys that were behind the scenes making this thing happen. And the guy that's steering the ship, Kevin, has been relentless. That's really one of his mottos.
We're trying to grow into the NASCAR outfit and trying to make that transition, it takes a lot of cubic dollars, but at the same time, especially in this time with the economy the way it is, teams are finding ways to do it for less. We're certainly one of those guys.
My ARCA experience last year was wonderful. We got a pole in the only race I did on the road courses. We were strong there. I'm looking forward very much to be able to have a shot to do some truck races, Nationwide races. Really what my big goal this is year is to be able to join a team for the Sprint Cup races at Watkins Glen or Sonoma.
Q: What impresses you the most about what Kevin's Sprint Cup operation has achieved? Dave had kind of been thrown aside and now comes back with TRG. What impresses you the most about what they've accomplished to this point?
ANDY LALLY: Well, that they found a way. Really that's probably the most impressive thing right now is that there's the same drive and passion we have on the sports car side rolling over into the Cup side. That is that we're just not giving up. There's an opportunity here. The chances might be slim, but David, who's doing an excellent job, if he can qualify here at Bristol in a week or so, we can have a good chance of locking ourselves into the top 35 for a while, and that would be huge.
We're just hoping that success opens up doors and increases sponsorship levels and might be able to help the whole program all the way down from Nationwide to Truck and on down.
Every time one of the TRG Motorsports programs are successful, it helps. Our Daytona victory opened up some doors even with this COT stuff. Just pedaling, keep pedaling harder and rowing the boat. That's the deal. Never stop. Be relentless. Keep on going. That's the most impressive thing, that these guys are pushing as hard as they are.
Q: Is there any crossover in Kevin's programs? He's doing Grand-Am, Trucks, Cup. How much is there among the groups?
ANDY LALLY: Currently right now there's very little, except for the fact our Charlotte location is becoming a little bit of a double duty. Last year specifically it was just our Truck stuff, just our ARCA stuff. Now it's kind of being used as an East Coast hub. TRG Motorsports is also expanding to a New Jersey facility that's getting ready to break ground, as well. Charlotte is kind of becoming the center focus. The Rolex stuff is staying there through our East Coast swing and will remain there for a little while till we head to the West Coast. Our truck stuff is being prepared there, our COT and ARCA cars are living there, as well.
I think just growing into where we need to be and should be, we're figuring out that's going to be Charlotte.
Q: What do you think about Homestead, about it becoming 'the championship track'? You finished the season there at Homestead. They've got a lot going on there with the NASCAR stuff. This is also a big weekend.
ANDY LALLY: Yeah, let me correct myself here. I said we were going back there in a month. I mixed that up with VIR. We go there at the end of the year. I go back in two weeks, we're testing there.
I think it's kind of neat. I think it's a positive move on Grand-Am's part, now being a part of NASCAR, that they include themselves in kind of the run to the championship weekend there for the other NASCAR series, as well.
I'm fine with it. I don't care where we end the season. We're very fortunate in the Rolex Series to have excellent tracks to race on all year long. We go all over the country and experience some of the top road-racing facilities and oval facilities in the country. I think it's pretty neat.
If NASCAR and Grand-Am can gain from moving the season finale to Miami, I'm all for it.
HERB BRANHAM: We appreciate Andy's time today. Thank you. Best of luck this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
ANDY LALLY: All my pleasure, guys. Thanks very much for joining us here.