Hail to the (Crew) Chief Team Leader Guides Rookie Conway at New Tracks Statesville, N.C. (June 8, 2010) - As Kevin Conway, the leading NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year driver, prepares to race at Michigan International Speedway for...
Hail to the (Crew) Chief
Team Leader Guides Rookie Conway at New Tracks
Statesville, N.C. (June 8, 2010) - As Kevin Conway, the leading NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year driver, prepares to race at Michigan International Speedway for the first time this weekend, he plans to continue to rely on a valuable tool in his ExtenZe Racing team's arsenal - crew chief Peter Sospenzo. A 30-year veteran of the sport, Sospenzo has guided Conway through the first 14 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and provided critical information to help the rookie succeed at new tracks.
Conway, Sospenzo and the No. 34 ExtenZe Racing Ford team are ready to take another step toward the Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors during Sunday's running of the Heluva Good! 400 at the two-mile oval in Brooklyn, Mich.
Conway leads the Raybestos Rookie of the Year race by 105 points and heads to Michigan coming off his 13th straight Rookie of the Race award.
ExtenZe Racing Driver Kevin Conway Comments on Michigan International Speedway, the Benefits of an Experienced Crew Chief and Green-White-Checkered Finishes:
"This will be my first time at Michigan. We're in a string of tracks I've never been to before, so I've got some extra studying up to do. But Michigan seems like it's going to be a really cool place.
"Michigan is similar to California Speedway, which is a racetrack that I really love. I've been to California Speedway in both the Nationwide car and the Cup car, and Michigan seems to have some similar characteristics with a little more banking. I've watched a lot of tapes from there and spent quite a bit of time on the simulator there. It's a racetrack that's very wide and very racy and a track that I think will be good for the ExtenZe Racing team.
"One thing that's been a huge help with these new tracks is my crew chief. Peter Sospenzo is a veteran leader and really helped pull the whole ExtenZe Racing team together since January and has also helped guide me as a rookie. So it's been really important to have a veteran crew chief with Peter's experience to kind of lean on.
"He really helped guide me through a lot of these racetracks for the first time, working with the spotter to figure things out, as well as with me to kind of compare our lines to some of the other people's lines. He also knows the characteristics of the races and how they played out over the years and how typically a racetrack will get tighter or free up through a run. It's been valuable to have his experience to rely on atop the pit box in addition to my teammates' experience behind the wheel.
"I'm a huge fan of the green-white-checkered rule, despite the mess we saw at the end of the Pocono race. I think it gives a much better race for the fans. No one wants to see a race end under caution. So for us to make sure we have the best possible racing for the fans is very important. But it also helps us as a team because cautions breed cautions. And if we can stay out of trouble, it can help us pick up several positions. It has helped us do that in races where we've seen multiple green-white-checkered finishes.
"It's a great rule for the fans, first and foremost. And if you're not having the most competitive day or the day that you want to have, it can definitely help you pick up positions at the end."