Crew Chief Club Texas Preview

Crew Chief Club at the Primestar 500 Event: Primestar 500 When: Sun., March 28 at 2 p.m. EST on CBS Where: Texas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval) · Together, Jimmy Makar, Larry McReynolds, Todd Parrott and Robin Pemberton...

Crew Chief Club at the Primestar 500

Event: Primestar 500 When: Sun., March 28 at 2 p.m. EST on CBS Where: Texas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)

· Together, Jimmy Makar, Larry McReynolds, Todd Parrott and Robin Pemberton have led their drivers to 65 wins, 358 top-five finishes, 574 top-10 finishes and 67 poles prior to this Sunday's Primestar 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

· Texas marks the one year anniversary of the Crew Chief Club. Announced last year prior to the Texas 500, the Crew Chief Club has enjoyed tremendous growth during their inaugural year by signing such marketing partners as Racing Champions, EA SPORTS and the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. · In last year's Texas 500, the Crew Chief Club finished in the following order: Makar/Labonte Start: 11th Finish: 8th Status: Running Parrott/Jarrett Start: 13th Finish: 11th Status: Running Pemberton/Wallace Start: 6th Finish: 12th Status: Running McReynolds/Earnhardt Start: 34th Finish: 35th Status: Running · The Crew Chief Club will be signing autographs on Sat., March 27, pproximately 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Jimmy Makar and Larry McReynolds will be on the Chevrolet souvenir trailer, while Todd Parrott and Robin Pemberton will be on the Ford souvenir trailer. Crew Chief Club souvenirs and wearables are available on both trailers. Fans can also log-on to the Crew Chief Club at their official website, www.crewchiefclub.com.

TEXAS IS LIKE A 90s VERSION OF DARLINGTON - HARD ON EQUIPMENT AND DRIVERS. HOW DO YOU PREPARE YOUR DRIVER AND CAR FOR 500 MILES AT TEXAS?

Jimmy Makar - Interstate Batteries Pontiac of Bobby Labonte - "Unlike Darlington, Texas is extremely fast and things happen pretty quick. You don't have a chance to get yourself out of trouble too easily, and if you do get in trouble, you usually hit pretty hard. There's a lot of anxiety on the driver's part going into Texas. With the speeds we run, I'd put it in the same category as running at Atlanta. The track is also pretty tricky in that the corners present unique problems for the drivers as they enter and exit them. There's always a balancing act for handling from one corner to the next. Since last year, they've dug the place up and basically put a new race track there. We look at it as having a new race track to figure out. I'm sure they've made enough changes to turns one and four that will change the setups of the cars a bit, and the way the drivers will go around the track. We're basically going in here not knowing what we're going to need. We know it's going to take a good balance of downforce and drag because of the speeds, and you're going to have to have the car handling well."

Larry McReynolds - Lowe's Home Improvement Chevrolet of Mike Skinner - "Your driver has to race the race track at a place like Texas. Mike is the perfect example. He didn't do too well there the first two years. In fact, he got hurt pretty bad there last year. The biggest thing a driver needs to remember about Texas is that he has to race the race track and not put himself in a position to get in trouble, especially during the early part of the race. If the car will only run in fifth position, don't try to run in third after the first 100 laps. Wait until we can adjust the car, and then see if you can run in third. And that's where Mike has matured as a driver, he's getting more out of equipment that's there in the last 10-12 laps of the race."

Todd Parrott - Ford Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Ford of Dale Jarrett - "You have to have a car that will make it through the first big wreck that we've seen happen the past two years going into turn one. They've reconfigured the track since last year. The people that have tested there say it's a lot better than it used to be. We've heard comments that it's wider and there's more racing room, which should solve the wreck factor. But you've got to have a car that can withstand 500 miles and be around at the end."

Robin Pemberton - Miller Lite Ford of Rusty Wallace - "With the new aerodynamic package everyone has, there will be a lot of downforce, and everything will change dramatically from last year. We're just planning to take it day by day when we get down there. I don't think we have a set plan."

AFTER BOBBY LABONTE'S WRECK IN PRACTICE LAST WEEK AT DARLINGTON, DO YOU THINK CAR OWNERS AND CREW CHIEFS WILL RE-THINK HAVING THEIR DRIVERS PARTICIPATE IN THE BUSCH SERIES?

Jimmy Makar: "Obviously each situation is different. Each driver has a different situation and each car owner has a different situation. If a guy is making his career in Winston Cup racing, then anything he does outside of the cup series is taking a chance. But, there are some situations where a guy can gain a good bit of knowledge. For instance, a driver with less experience at some tracks could benefit from running a Busch Series event. But some of the veteran drivers that have the experience already, may have to re-think the gains versus the losses if something like this should happen. Racing obviously has it's dangers, and we all know that. But you don't want to put yourself at risk if it's not the primary goal in your career."

Larry McReynolds: "It's a catch-22 situation. With Mike choosing to run in some of the Busch races this season, we've asked him to stay away from racing at a few places. Daytona and Talladega are two of those places, because when they have a wreck there it's normally pretty big. We've also asked him not to run at Bristol because it can be extra hard on the drivers. I've seen drivers, especially after the August race when they run at night, give out when our race starts. So, there's a few races we've asked him to stay away from. But other than the chance of getting hurt, I just don't see anything but positives in running the Busch races. Especially when I look at Mike. He's still trying to feel out some race tracks and get some laps in. I think Darlington, Atlanta and Rockingham helped him with our race car. If nothing else, he ran well at a couple of those race tracks, and it helped build his confidence at those race tracks. That's our goal, to give him a feel of what a race track is going to do. We run the same tires as the Busch cars, and if he can have a good run, it will just boost his confidence. Again, the only down side is his chance of getting hurt. But you can only cover so may bases. He can get hurt practicing our race car too."

Todd Parrott: "No, it's something the drivers elect to do. Some owners and crew chiefs figure if you get out there on Saturday and get 200-300 miles under your belt, you'll go into happy hour with a bit more knowledge about the race track. I have to agree with them there."

Robin Pemberton: "I don't think his accident will have any effect on cup drivers participating in the Busch Series. I know from our standpoint we're not too fond of running in the Busch Series. It's a great series, but we try to be more focused on what we're doing. We don't see what we can get out of it."

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Mike Skinner
Teams CIP