NASCAR conducted the second day of a two-day test session at Bristol Motor Speedway with the Car of Tomorrow. Ford personnel provided their thoughts on how things went after rain postponed the rest of practice. The teams got approximately 90 ...
NASCAR conducted the second day of a two-day test session at Bristol Motor Speedway with the Car of Tomorrow. Ford personnel provided their thoughts on how things went after rain postponed the rest of practice. The teams got approximately 90 minutes of practice before the rain began to fall.
MICHAEL MCSWAIN, Director of Competition, Wood Brothers/JTG Racing
HOW WOULD YOU SAY THINGS WENT THE PAST TWO DAYS? "I think it was a fair deal. We were fairly happy. The car didn't run too bad. Obviously, it's a new design, a whole new approach of looking at things, so I think that ourselves and NASCAR included, will have to bring some modifications and adjustments as we go along, but it wasn't a nightmare by any means. It's different, so it's not gonna be the norm of what you're used to, but, overall, it was good and it's just another race car. I don't think it will be any different than any other race car that we've had over the past 15 years. We'll have to make some adjustments and NASCAR will probably have to change a few things here and there as we go along, but, overall, I don't think it was terrible."
WILL RACE FANS BE ABLE TO TELL ANY DIFFERENCE IN THE STYLE OF RACING AT THIS TRACK IN A MONTH? "Probably not at this track. I'm not sure the cars will be as forgiving as what we currently run. It will be more forgiving for the driver in an impact, but as far as the way Bristol beats up a car just running normally, I'm not sure the car will be as forgiving for that. Those are some things we'll have to adapt to and, possibly, NASCAR will make some changes as we go along."
ON A SCALE OF 1-10 HOW MUCH WORK DO YOU HAVE TO DO BETWEEN NOW AND THE RACE? "I think we're in fair shape. We always make a 9 to a 10 amount of effort after a test no matter what car we take, so I don't think it will be much different than normal."
RICKY RUDD -- No. 88 Snickers Ford Fusion
"Yesterday we never could get the Snickers Ford going. Do you ride on the bump stops? Do you put big springs in the car?
It's all kind of new to us here. We tested, but mainly on flat tracks and short tracks, so it's a whole different animal here at Bristol, but I really like what we hit on today. Like everyone else, you needed another couple of hours, but I feel good that now we have a game plan to go back and work on."
EVERYBODY COULD HAVE USED MORE TIME TODAY. DOES THE RAIN REALLY HURT? "Yeah, it hurt us, but yesterday it seemed like no matter what we did it just never really got a direction. Today, we definitely got a direction. We never did do a qualifying run, we worked on long race runs and we're pretty good. Now they know kind of what's controlling it. How you stop the car -- you've got a whole lot less travel available and Bristol has always been a high travel race track, so this is the ultimate test for this car is coming to Bristol. If you can make it work here, you can get it going anywhere because the travel issues here are very difficult to deal with because you need so much suspension travel when you slam against these big banks."
A LOT OF DRIVERS TALKED ABOUT THE TIGHTNESS OF THE CARS. WHAT ABOUT YOU? "We've been dealing with all of that, too, just like everyone else. A lot of that is just the result of not having enough suspension travel available. NASCAR has got these cars in a pretty tight box. I was kind of hoping that when we came to Bristol they would let you raise your car up a little bit. That's what we've always done in the past, but they've actually got a maximum height of the front air dam. I guess the front nose can only be so high, and then you get this front splitter on the car that only allows you to travel three or four inches and then it hits. These things are solid so when it hits, it really upsets the car, so you've got this range of motion you're dealing with is a very small gap. It would make it real easy if NASCAR said, 'OK, you can run your cars a half-inch higher or an inch higher,' whatever that number is, but they've got their reasons and they've got you in this really tight box. Some of the guys have got it figured out, so it's fixable. We're probably 80 percent of where we need to be and still have 20 percent to work on, but at least we've got a direction now. We're kind of isolated on where we need to be better at and we should be good when we get back."
WHAT ABOUT THE RACE AND GOING 500 LAPS AROUND HERE? "We've had some setups under the car that are faster, but you definitely wouldn't be able to drive it 500 laps after running all these laps here. But we've learned from that and then later in the day we got it to where it wasn't riding so bad -- not a whole lot different drive than the way we were in the past as far as driver comfort. Some guys like Jimmie Johnson just really got it worked out. The 11 car has it worked out -- Hamlin. You watch them in a corner and they might tell you one thing, but watching them, their cars are very smooth and I bet you there's no more driver effort now than it was before you started running the bump stops and stuff here."
-credit: ford racing