Dover International Speedway
Keys for Success: FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks
DOVER, Del. – Each race weekend, selected Dodge Motorsports engineers, Penske Racing engineers and crew chiefs, drivers or engine specialists give their insight on the ‘Keys for Success’ for the upcoming race. This week, the green flag drops on the 42nd annual FedEx 500 benefiting Autism Speaks.
Trivia Question: Have there been more or fewer cautions in the first 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup races this season compared to 2010? (Answer Below)
TRAVIS GEISLER (Competition Director – Penske Racing)
Consistency: “The most important thing here is being consistent throughout the race. It’s tough because the rubber builds up and really changes how the car is handling. We know the track is going to get tighter; the issue is how much tighter. The other part is having the driver comfortable enough to manage the first five to 10 laps of the run when the car is going to be pretty free to 60 laps into the run where you can make up some ground.”
You’ve got to be able to take advantage of pit strategy.
Patience: “It takes a lot of patience here, because it takes a lot of rhythm. Dover is Bristol on steroids. Drivers have that constant flow of corners coming at them. They’re in the corners for such a long time with a high vertical load. There’s no other track like Dover as far as a sustained load. At a lot of tracks, such as Charlotte, the load in really hard into the corner and then the car relieves itself. It’s a quick event. Here, once the car loads into the corner, it stays at that vertical load all the way to exit. It’s definitely a different deal for the drivers. They have to get in a rhythm. Part of that is making sure you’re comfortable enough in the spot you’re in on the track to just ride for a while. You can’t always be forcing the issue because you’ll get yourself out of line or out of rhythm and then you end up losing more time. Sometimes, it’s better to just ride for a little while, click off some laps while you regain that rhythm.”
Tires: “Goodyear brought a great tire here this trip. It seems like its pretty well behaved from a grip standpoint and has a good wear characteristic. Strategy, I think there are going to be teams staying out and some two-tire stuff. Anything you can do to gain track position here is going to be big. Everywhere we go, track position is huge, but here it is important because it’s a tough place to make up a lot of ground. If you don’t get on pit road in the right order, it definitely hurts you too. You’ve got to be able to take advantage of pit strategy. Like last week, guys stayed out at the end of the race and took advantage of it. People are learning the lessons.”
Answer to trivia question: There have been 86 cautions for 437 laps in the first 10 races this season compared to 97 cautions for 550 laps in 2010.
-source: dodge motorsports