GM reacts to rule change 2001-07-27

Team Monte Carlo reactions to NASCAR's rule modification for the Dodge Intrepids that allows the Intrepid teams to extend their front air dams two inches forward below the bumper; and to the fact that this change goes into effect August 1st - in...

Team Monte Carlo reactions to NASCAR's rule modification for the Dodge Intrepids that allows the Intrepid teams to extend their front air dams two inches forward below the bumper; and to the fact that this change goes into effect August 1st - in time for the Brickyard 400:

Doug Duchardt, NASCAR Group Manager, GM Racing: "Based on the data from the Atlanta wind tunnel test (March 12, 2001), I feel this rule change is unnecessary. The results of that test showed that the Dodge front downforce was very close to the Monte Carlo. This new change will give Dodge 30 lbs. of front downforce advantage over Chevrolet. That's a big difference.

"Last year when NASCAR allowed the Monte Carlos to pull their noses out, it was also a two-inch extension. At that time, the wind tunnel data supported their decision and the numbers demonstrated the need. There are no numbers to support this allowance.

"If this change is based on the lack of on-track performance, then NASCAR needs to consider help for the Pontiacs. While Pontiac has two wins, they were at low speed tracks, Richmond and Sears Point. I contend that Joe Gibbs Racing is one of the best teams in the garage and they have struggled this year on high downforce tracks. Where is the rule change for Pontiac?"

Robbie Loomis, Crew Chief, No.24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "You just have to look at the facts. It's always been a fact that NASCAR likes to keep the competition close. In this particular situation at Daytona in February, Dodge sat on the pole and I think the quote from the teams was something like, 'We took the same templates as the Ford, but we just worked harder on our cars.' Nothing's changed except for chemistry in the teams. Templates are the same. So I think they need to work on their teams a little bit. Another time, I think it was Darlington, somebody from Dodge said that they should have won the first four races.

"Obviously NASCAR saw it differently and gave them a rule change - right before the biggest race of the year at the Brickyard. And that's a flat track, where downforce is everything. But we'll let NASCAR worry about that that we'll try to go there and be the best Chevrolet.

"If you look at the way NASCAR is probably looking at it is that it won't have any affect on the championship and that's why they gave it to Dodge. Dodge hasn't been to Victory Lane yet and maybe that'll help them get to where they want to be."

Kevin Hamlin, Crew Chief, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "This is a big plus for the Dodge teams, that's for sure. I know when we were fighting for and got our extension, all the wind tunnel numbers and everything showed we needed that. I don't think the wind tunnel numbers necessarily showed that the Dodges needed it. I guess maybe they don't have the teams they need to be running the cars and finishing up front. The No. 40 (Sterling Marlin) car is still in the top 10 in points and has had good finishes. His performance has been right there. But when that car is basically a Ford, I don't understand why they should get this change."

Richard Childress, Owner of Richard Childress Racing: "Halfway through the year and coming into the biggest race of the season, I don't see why NASCAR would make a change. And again, the Dodges are the same templates as the Fords and the Fords are running awful good. I don't know why they came up with this now, at this point in the season. Everybody changes their cars and works on them and I think it should have been one of those deals where they should have re-tunneled again before doing this."

Andy Petree, Owner of Andy Petree Racing: "I know this (change) is not warranted because we've had the cars in the wind tunnel and they make more downforce than the Chevys - and in some cases Fords - and I don't see a technical reason for doing it. There could be a political reason for doing it and maybe that's because they (Dodge teams) haven't won a race. I don't really know. In fact, I think NASCAR ought to just say why they're doing it. Why didn't we have another wind tunnel test before saying we needed change? They don't have a good technical reason to do it. They've got no wind tunnel numbers, no reason to do it other than the Dodges haven't been in Victory Circle. Well, are they going to give them that two inches until they win? Or from now on? I don't know. The teams that are running Dodges right now are having better seasons this year - more poles, more top fives - than those same teams did last year. I just hope it doesn't throw the competition out of kilter. There aren't a lot of Dodges, but you pile them all at the top and it can upset the balance a little bit. I don't think it's going to upset the championship race, but it could. It definitely could affect teams like ours. We're racing a lot of the Dodge teams, and it could definitely hurt us."

-GM Racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Sterling Marlin , Andy Petree , Kevin Hamlin , Robbie Loomis
Teams Richard Childress Racing