KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) WHAT ARE YOUR INITIAL THOUGHTS ON THE NASCAR TESTING POLICY FOR 2009? "I think to a certain point it makes sense. Testing is a huge cost and times (economy) aren't real good right now. It makes...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
WHAT ARE YOUR INITIAL THOUGHTS ON THE NASCAR TESTING POLICY FOR 2009? "I think to a certain point it makes sense. Testing is a huge cost and times (economy) aren't real good right now. It makes sense for NASCAR would implement this policy to help out teams. For me, it's a little disappointing because that's the way we get better. And we've shown that we have a better chance to win at certain race tracks. I think we run better at tracks that we have tested at. We've shown that this year. It's seems like we can catch-up to some better teams when we have the chance to test and actually put things on the track for a few days and learn from the data we collect. But we have to cut cost and changing the testing policy certainly will do that."
DOES NOT TESTING AFFECT YOUR ABILITY TO FURTHER DEVELOP AS A DRIVER? "No, not really. The biggest thing is to continue developing the car and working on things to help make the car better. That's where the new testing policy will hurt us the most."
HOW CHALLENGING WILL THIS PROGRESSIVE-BANKING BE ON THE SETUP AND DRIVABILITY OF THIS COT? "I think this new car will be pretty good here. This is a good race track. It's a fun race track. It's a great track to race on and the older it gets, the better it becomes to race on. I like it. I always look forward in coming here and trying to finish season strong."
RAY EVERNHAM (Co-Owner, GEM)
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW NASACAR TESTING POLICY? "I think it's good. NACAR is making an attempt. At a time where costs need to be reduced, they're taking action. I'm sure with any other changes, there are going to be some adjustments made, but they're taking some action to help reduce the cost and I know for a fact that one of the biggest costs is testing.
"I know on a per test basis, you're spending $60-70,000 testing. The big thing will be is to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't give some people an advantage and that it ends up being fair for everybody. (NASCAR) is going to try and make it fair. Again, at least they're taking action. They'll probably have to make some rules to go along with it to keep the gap in competition from being spread, but I applaud them for taking action."
DO YOU SEE THE TESTING POLICY STILL FAVORING THE TEAMS THAT HAVE LARGER BUDGETS? "It is very, very expensive to go track testing. You've got to start in some direction to go ahead and figure it out. What's going to happen is that is it going to be more expensive? Are teams going to build their own race tracks? I think that NASCAR is going to have to adjust. But with any rule change, you've got to adjust. They've taken a direction with the COT that I believe will stop the cost of building cars from rising as much as would have if they didn't do it. If they're making this testing rule, there are other series that you can't even fire up a motor. If you get caught driving you car around the parking lot you're in trouble. They might have to get a little bit stricter about it, but at some point as a sanctioning body, they're stepping up and really protecting ourselves. They're just going to need some help at figuring out how will they test tires? Who will those tests go to so nobody gets an advantage?"
WHY WOULDN'T YOU JUST OPEN UP LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY AND LET THE TEAMS TEST AS MUCH AS THEY WANT? "I don't agree with that. I don't see where that would have any benefit. You're talking about one track. You either do it everywhere or you do it nowhere. NASCAR is going to have to adjust and I applaud them for standing up and saying, 'Look, we're going to do something that may not be the exact right thing to do, but somebody has to take action.' They're taking action; it's going to have to be monitored. The biggest issue is going to be; how are we going to test Goodyear tires? Are there teams that will get those tests? How do you stop a guy from building his own race track somewhere? How far are they going to go on the no testing ban? This is a step, but I feel that it's going to have to be monitored. The world's not great right now. The sport has to survive, so everybody is going to have to tighten their belts. NASCAR's job is monitoring to make sure that the gap between the competition doesn't grow and the four big teams don't get further away from the rest of them and all of a sudden we have Formula One where you know that your winner is coming from four race teams and that's it. I don't think that's good for the sport."
ISNT' THAT ALREADY HAPPENING NOW? ISN'T THAT NATURAL ORDER? "There's always going to be a natural order. It's just a matter of how big that gap is. We used to have 19 different winners in this sport. Now, we're not only having fewer winners, but we're having fewer winners as owners and that's not what the COT was supposed to create. It was suppose to create an equal deal. If you look at the things that make a car go around a race track and how can we keep that simple enough to where a smaller team has the same data acquisition, same limit knowledge, is it spring-shock technology? That's where a lot of these teams get an advantage. We're on coil-bound springs and then we go to bumpstops and it really hasn't gotten any better. You've got to look at the technology that they're using and who's going to control that. And in this series, I still think that giving the guys some aerodynamic stuff to work with, some mechanical stuff to work with and limiting the use of tires and the amount of money that you can spend on motors...if you can limit tires and motors and give a little bit of handling and aero back to these crew chiefs, it will be more about them rather than the engineers."
NASCAR TEAMS ARE INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS; THAT SOUNDS LIKE FRANCHISING? "I don't think so. They've been making those kind of regulations for years. They made us all switch to the COT and run bumpstops without giving us franchising. People have spent $3 or $4 million dollars swapping that (old car to COT). Again, I think doing a really good thought process on what the rules are can manage competition. You're never going to bring the competition together. There's always going to be somebody better than the next guy. It can't be a gap to where it looks like an ARCA field where you've got five cars totaling lapping everybody. And if we come to that, then we're not going to put people in the stands."
IT'S MID-NOVEMBER AND OWNER BUDGETS ARE PRETTY MUCH SET. WON'T THEY JUST SPEND THE MONEY ELSEWHERE? "It might be. But I don't think that it's (money) in everyone's pocket. If you talk to car owners here, guys that have not renewed (sponsorships) that they've had costs go up in other areas, if you look at just the cost of travel these days with airplanes, people are looking to do things there. People are going to have to look really hard at being efficient. But I don't think that the money is necessarily in everyone's pockets."
CAN DOWNSIZING BE GOOD FOR THE SPORT? "If it's downsized properly. I think what's happened to this sport is that we've gone from one extreme to another where we've maybe over-engineered a little now. Engineering is a good thing. We may have over-engineered where you've got everyone as a specialists. Now you have specialists that just measures shock shims and bumpstops. I think that someday we might hear, 'Look, here's your number of players. Here's a template for a team and here's what you can and can't do.' I think that as this sport evolves, those are things that were going to have to figure out together because I don't think anybody has those answers. No matter what you do, it's going to come with pros and cons. So you have to try and work through it. If we were to say that you can only bring 10 people to the track, does that mean it's going to hit somewhere else? I've said for a long time in this sport and business there's a need for an advisory board or advisory committee to talk about things or changes that could be coming up two or three years from now so that we don't have to make knee-jerk reactions. If you said, OK, look. Two years from now or three years from now we think that the sports is going to be out of control cost wise, what are some ideas that you would do? I just think that an advisory board that is managing problems or issues two or three years down the road is important and that's what we don't seem to have. It seems like we're more reactive versus proactive."
YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT CAR OWNERS AND NASCAR? "Car owners and NASCAR, yes. There's a lot reactive versus being proactive. I think there are a lot of smart people in this sport, people that have been successful, and maybe NASCAR needs to get together and say, 'Alright, let's look at where we have issues and fight through next year. What are we going to do for 2010? What are we going to do for 2011? Where are we going to be in 2012? Any strong successful business does those things and there's really a lot of smart people here that can help figure it out. For every action, there is a reaction, and what you want is that the action you take has the least amount of reaction. Sometimes we make rules that could be good, but we bring them in a little bit too fast and don't think them 100 percent through and then everybody goes, 'That's not a good idea.' But it really was a good idea; we just tried to execute it too fast."
-credit: dodge motorsports