Mooresville, N.C. (June 7, 2005) - As the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rolls into Pocono Raceway for the first time this season, Travis Kvapil has mixed feelings about the gear rule implemented this year. While Kvapil looks forward to finding the ...
Mooresville, N.C. (June 7, 2005) - As the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rolls into Pocono Raceway for the first time this season, Travis Kvapil has mixed feelings about the gear rule implemented this year.
While Kvapil looks forward to finding the preferred line, he hates that he won't get to experience what other drivers have in the past - shifting in the corners.
"Learning each track's little intricacies in the [No. 77 Kodak Dodge Charger] has been challenging," Kvapil said. "Not having to shift this weekend will make it a little easier to find the line I need to follow.
"The flip side of that coin is that I won't get to shift. I know the track is tough. I tested there for the ARCA race and could not believe the difference in the turns, let alone the straightaways. It was like several tracks compounded. Not to mention it feels like you are on a country drive and then all of a sudden there are the grandstands coming off [turn 3] and you're like, 'Oh, yeah... I'm racing.'"
Kvapil will have plenty of opportunity to learn the track this weekend as Penske Racing South has entered him in the ARCA RE/MAX Series event on Saturday.
Kvapil's Cup Series crew chief, Shane Wilson, also has mixed feelings about the gear rule.
"Not having to worry about how a rookie driver will shift through the turns will be a plus," Wilson said. "As a team, we can focus more on the chassis and what we need to do to get the car rolling through the turns for Travis. As a crew chief, I want my car to go as fast as possible to showcase the Penske-Jasper engine under the hood.
"Without more gear, we won't have the pull that we typically would, so passing will be difficult. That is a downfall and I think it will be more noticeable at Pocono. I think Jeff Gordon said the gear rule would be Pocono's restrictor plate and I agree with him."
Roy McCauley, Director of Engineering at PRS, is heading Kvapil's ARCA entry. McCauley and Kvapil worked together in the closing months of the 2004 race season when PRS fielded a fourth Cup car for Kvapil in three events.
"Travis is a great driver," McCauley said. "I was pretty excited to work with him last year because he has a lot of talent. Right now, this is a one-time deal for us with the ARCA race, but who knows, it might turn into more. The challenge will be coordinating schedules."
McCauley is also heading up Penske's NASCAR Busch Series effort with Alltel driver Ryan Newman. They finished third in their first effort at Lowe's Motor Speedway last month.
Equipment: The Kodak Racing team is taking chassis PRS-049 as the primary car to Pocono Raceway.
Wind Tunnel: Lockheed - May 4.
Event Preparation: Penske Racing South entered Kvapil in Saturday's ARCA RE/MAX Series event. Kvapil participated in an ARCA test session April 18-19.