Terry Laise, Lead Chassis and Aerodynamics Engineer, GM Racing: ARE THERE STILL FOUR KINDS OF CARS THAT TEAMS USE THROUGHOUT THE SEASON: ROAD RACE, INTERMEDIATE, SHORT TRACK AND SPEEDWAY? "That's really changed over the years in that there are...
Terry Laise, Lead Chassis and Aerodynamics Engineer, GM Racing:
ARE THERE STILL FOUR KINDS OF CARS THAT TEAMS USE THROUGHOUT THE SEASON: ROAD RACE, INTERMEDIATE, SHORT TRACK AND SPEEDWAY?
"That's really changed over the years in that there are really more types than that. Back in the old days the teams used to have seven or eight cars. And now they have 13 or 14. There are more kinds of tracks in their minds in terms of requirements. So four is not what it used to be. It's gone up now. A lot of teams have a car that's called a "concrete" car that they run on the concrete tracks because there seems to be a different grip to downforce ratio. Basically it all depends on the level of downforce required for the track. At the Daytona and Talladega superspeedways the restrictor plates make it so the cars don't go anywhere near as fast as they could go with an unrestricted motor, therefore the tires aren't used to full capacity, so it isn't important to have downforce. What is important is to have minimum drag. Talladega and Daytona cars are cars in which they (the teams) emphasize low drag. On a downforce car typically they're trying to get all the downforce from the rear spoiler they can. The rear spoiler makes downforce but it also makes drag, so in the speedway car the effort is to make the air not hit the spoiler and therefore minimize the drag."
HOW DIFFERENT WILL THE CARS BE IN TALLADEGA AFTER THE RULES CHANGES FOLLOWING THE LAST TALLADEGA RACE?:
"The rules we ran last fall under, with the gurney lip on the spoiler and the roof spoiler, made for much higher drag and less downforce. And a very tight race car; too much rear downforce vs. front. So there was a completely different package in terms of chassis setup to go with it. So the chassis setup will change completely, the drag is dramatically reduced from then. It's reduced by roughly one-eighth from where it was. The setups are completely different. The cars are changed because now you're not doing the same things. Those two applications for the cars may change the shape of the car a little bit. The setup is going to be different, the chassis setup will be different, the cars have been reshaped to both of those."
WILL THE TEAMS USE THE SAME CARS IN DAYTONA AND TALLADEGA?
"In all likelihood they will, or what they call an improvement upon that car or in the same direction in terms of requirements and performance. Some do (build different cars). I don't think there is a lot of difference between Daytona in February and Talladega in April, but there is a significant difference between Talladega in April and Daytona in July. Daytona in July is quite a different race track than it is in February, and it is a temperature thing."
ON THE TALLADEGA CAR:
"The car is a low-drag car. And more so than in Daytona. There is absolutely no need to think about downforce or downforce balance, not in terms of being able to go down the track. The chassis can be done more extremely because the handling isn't as important. The effort is to make the car low on the track so the drag is reduced because if the car is closer to the ground it presents a minimum frontal area and that helps."