NASCAR conducted wind tunnel tests Monday in Marietta, Ga., evaluating one car from each competing manufacturer in an on-going effort to stay abreast of issues that may have an effect on competitive parity in the Winston Cup Series. There are...
NASCAR conducted wind tunnel tests Monday in Marietta, Ga., evaluating one car from each competing manufacturer in an on-going effort to stay abreast of issues that may have an effect on competitive parity in the Winston Cup Series. There are some competitors in the series who see a need for rule changes on intermediate-size race tracks.
There are some who don't.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., --8-- Budweiser Chevrolet -- (POST-QUALIFYING COMMENTS FROM ATLANTA): ARE THE CHEVY'S AT A DISADVANTAGE? "Last week (at Las Vegas), I thought the Chevrolets were at a huge disadvantage as far as aerodynamics. But when we come to a track like Atlanta or Charlotte, we seem to be able to compete pretty well, if not a little bit better than the Fords and Dodges and even the Pontiacs. It seems like certain styles -- certain shaped tracks -- are good for certain cars, teams and manufacturers. The Chevrolet teams have something to be learned or gained at flat track programs. But when we come here (to Atlanta), it seems like we're as good as anybody else." (Chevrolet Racing Quote Sheets, March 8, 2002)
JIMMIE JOHNSON, --48-- Lowe's Chevrolet -- (POST-RACE COMMENTS FROM ATLANTA): "I thought at times we had a shot at it. It just blows my mind that we're this competitive and we can run with these guys. Last week, we knew we were solid and we were hoping to improve on it. We came here and finished third. At times we had a chance to win it, but it didn't play out in the end for us." (Chevrolet Racing Quote Sheets, March 10, 2002)
GREG SPECHT, North America Operations Manager, Ford Racing Technology -- "Atlanta is the prototypical downforce track and all you have to do is look at the top three finishers in that race and realize that the GM cars are competitive on these types of tracks. Tony Stewart won the race while Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Jimmie Johnson finished second and third. You can make the case that Matt Kenseth or Kurt Busch could have finished higher. Maybe one of them should have won, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the Chevrolets were competitive. Junior even mentioned that earlier in the week, so we feel that any claim that the Chevys need help is a little premature. We've only had three races on what you would consider downforce race tracks, and three different manufacturers have won."
"People want NASCAR to defend the changes made to the Ford and the Dodge at Daytona by making quick changes for the GM cars here. Those people need to be reminded that NASCAR's actions were not based on wind tunnel tests. They were based on track performance in qualifying, the Bud Shootout and the Twin 125s. Based on those events, our position at Daytona was irrefutable.
"NASCAR has always been clear with us that on-track performance is the primary basis for their decisions on rules. On-track success is the product of many things, and parity in the wind tunnel does not necessarily predict parity on track. So until the track performance mirrors the test results, we don't feel that there is any case for a rules change.
"It's way too early to make any assessment of the standings. We realize that GM has only one car in the top ten. But whatever has bitten Bobby Labonte, Jeff Gordon, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to keep them out of the top-ten has also bitten Dale Jarrett and Ricky Rudd, and no one thinks that those five teams aren't going to make serious runs at the top-five within the current rules."
"I can't overstate the Jeff Gordon issue. In recent years when you talked about Chevrolet, you talked about Jeff Gordon. For whatever reason, his team has not raced well yet in 2002. But we feel that any rules changes have to be made with the best car in class in mind and he's the best GM's got. We don't know whether they've got an aero problem, if they're having a hard time adjusting to the new engine rule, or what. But no one wants to give the 24 anything that eventually makes this season a walkaway for that team."