JAMES INCE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THIS TEST? "Hopefully, we're going to take the same piece we've run for three years and polish on it a little bit better. We feel like we've got a really good...
JAMES INCE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THIS TEST? "Hopefully, we're going to take the same piece we've run for three years and polish on it a little bit better. We feel like we've got a really good speedway program. It's just a matter of coming back and changing our thought process more than anything else. What we've done for the past year and a half is totally different than what we're going to do now. So, we just want to get back to it, be thinking the other direction, know what springs and shocks we need in the car, know the attitude of the car that we need it to be and basically just get ourselves ready to come back here and race."
WHAT WAS THE THOUGHT PROCESS AND HOW ARE YOU TRYING TO CHANGE IT? "Attitudes of these race cars, as far as where they travel on the racetrack is very important. With the roof spoilers on them before the car actually wanted to ride at a little different height than what they want to ride at without these roof spoilers. It's just a matter of finding the right spring and shock combination to make all that work.
"We've got a really good speedway. We're really happy with our race cars. It's just a matter of making sure that we're maximizing the things we can do to help our cars be better. Those are the things we're looking for."
YOU SEEMED SATISFIED WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THIS NEW RULES PACKAGE LAST FALL...DO YOU STILL FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT? "I think so. It's a situation now where the guys can get away from each other and race. It got awful easy as a crew chief to sit and call a race at these speedway races the last couple years. You sat there, your driver hung out in the back and all you had to do was make one good call all day long. Every race we went to we went from running dead last to the top five on the last pit stop by just doing the right thing on the pit stop. That's almost too easy. We want to earn our paychecks, too, and when it's as easy to do those as it is, then anybody can go do that. Now, the cars will be farther apart and if you've got a good car you ought to be able to lead, you ought to be able to lead all day long and you ought to be able to win a race. Before it was kind of a crapshoot. If we've done all the right things, I think it puts the race back in our hands and in the drivers' hands."
ARE WE GOING TO SEE FEWER DRIVERS RIDING AROUND AT THE BACK DURING A RESTRICTOR PLATE RACE? "Oh yeah, that's a thing of the past. That's gone. But, I hope people do that because we'll lap them. Yeah, that's over. It used to be the big fear was losing the draft and we're definitely back in that realm now."
HOW DID THIS OFF-SEASON GO FOR YOUR TEAM? "We're way better prepared than we were a year ago; a year ago we were better prepared than we were the year before. Right now we've got 10 race cars complete, ready to go to the racetrack. When the season ended we took every single car apart, sandblasted and re-bodied about 90 percent of the cars. They're all sitting there in paint or primer, ready to go to the racetrack. Trucks are painted, pit equipment is done, we rebuilt the pit crew and the guys have been working out since the season stopped. I feel really, really good about what is going on. We didn't end the season on a low note at all. We're just extremely disappointed that we didn't win a race. We look to make that happen here in the first five races in 2002."