The Winston Cup points battle resumes this weekend, as Lowe's Motor Speedway plays hosts to the season's longest event, the Coca-Cola 600. The 600-mile marathon follows on the heels of last weekend's The Winston, and we asked the five Roush...
The Winston Cup points battle resumes this weekend, as Lowe's Motor Speedway plays hosts to the season's longest event, the Coca-Cola 600. The 600-mile marathon follows on the heels of last weekend's The Winston, and we asked the five Roush Racing Winston Cup drivers what they were able to learn from the two-day event. The Craftsman Truck Series, on the other hand, has the weekend off, but prior to their event last week at Pikes Peak International Raceway, a one-day open session was held, and we posed a similar question to them as well.
Chad Little, No. 97 John Deere Ford Taurus:
"I really believed we learned a lot from last week's race. Although we won't be bringing the same car, I think the baseline information we learned can be applied to this car as well. We had this car ready in the shop in case we weren't happy with our Winston car, and it's one that we've had success with earlier in the year. If we didn't have such as good car waiting in the wings, last weekend's mishap could have been turned into a negative. That's usually the most important thing about the Winston - not letting the non-points event bring negative energy to the team."
Mark Martin, No. 6 Valvoline/Cummins Ford Taurus:
"Well, it was hard for us to come away with much from The Winston since the car we hoped to run this weekend was totaled. That was a great car. It was brand new and really fast. It's a shame that wreck had to happen because we had the set up nailed for that car and it would have been awesome. Now we have to start over with a different car that probably isn't quite as good. We'll just have to make the best of it."
Kevin Lepage, No. 16 FamilyClick.com Ford Taurus:
"We learned a great deal during the Winston for the 600. Even though we're running a different car, I think we learned some things about shocks and springs that should help us in the 600. The key in the 600 is that you have to be able to adjust your car as the track cools down. We're going to start the race under the sun and the track should be hot and then it will cool down as the race goes on. We had those kind of conditions during The Winston and that should help us find a setup that we can make minor adjustments to and improve the car."
Jeff Burton, No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford Taurus:
"Last weekend, we learned what not to do this weekend. The tires were a little different from the ones we ran here last year, and with the same setup we were loose. If The Winston was a 600-mile race we wouldn't have even finished on the lead lap. Looking on the positive side, if we didn't have those two days last week, we probably would have struggled the first two days this weekend. We're taking a different car and we're going to try a few different chassis setups this weekend to compensate."
Matt Kenseth, No. 17 DEWALT Tools Ford Taurus:
"We didn't have a great weekend during the Winston. We struggled pretty much the whole weekend until the No-Bull Sprint. We made some minor adjustments during the pit stops between the Open and the Sprint and we took just right side tires. That tightened the car up and we were fast after that. The track is going to change during the 600 and we're just going to have to be close enough with our setup that we can make minor adjustments to improve the handling. You have to have a good handling car to do well at the 600."
Greg Biffle, No. 50 Grainger Ford F-150:
"I believe anytime you can get extra practice on a track it helps your chances for a good run. The truck series doesn't run any non-points related events, but I guess you could compare those to a test session prior to an event. We just had one of those the day before the race weekend started at Pikes Peak and the extra time certainly paid off. We were not that good the first day but we were able to throw everything at the truck we could because we were not jammed up to get the qualifying and race setup in the truck in one day. I don't know if we would have been as good as we were on Sunday without that extra day on the track. I know that Winston Cup teams benefit from having the two-race weekend at Charlotte. The first weekends races allow them to test different setups that may or may not work for them in the 600. The only downfall to this two-race deal is if you wreck the car you plan on using for 600, like what happened to the Valvoline bunch. They are a great crew, however, and Mark is an excellent driver so I know they will be competitive."
Kurt Busch, No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford F-150:
"Anytime you can get extra practice on a racetrack it benefits the driver and crew. I am new to every track we run in the truck series this year except for three so I definitely am a big fan of extended track time. We got an extra day of practice at Pikes Peak due to an open test session and I know it helped the Exide team get the second-place run on Sunday. I was able to get used to the track without having to push the issue. There was plenty of time to try different setups and driving lines because we didn't have to pack it all into one day like normal. The trucks usually have one day to practice, qualify, and get the race setup in the truck. The extra test day allowed us to do so much more than we normally have the opportunity to do. I know the extra days the Cup guys are getting at Charlotte are really paying off for some of the teams. The 600 is the longest race of the year and the more laps of practice you can get on the car will help you determine how your car is going to perform in such a situation."