BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Hamilton and the Morgan-McClure Motorsports team, with new crew chief Danny Gill, completed their second two-day test at The Brickyard on Tuesday, July 25. Hamilton was...
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo) NOTE: Hamilton and the Morgan-McClure Motorsports team, with new crew chief Danny Gill, completed their second two-day test at The Brickyard on Tuesday, July 25. Hamilton was clocked at a 49.62 seconds (181.378 mph), which is the fastest speed recorded at any of the NASCAR test sessions at the historic 2.5-mile track. Jeff Gordon holds the NASCAR Winston Cup Brickyard 400 qualifying record of 50.108 seconds, 179.612 mph.
“I was concerned about even making the race. Tony Glover and I were talking and when you get that fast, even when we were running a 50 flat, that puts you in a category that you know you’re going to be OK. When Joe Nemechek ran his quick lap, I was there. It was 9 o’clock in the morning and the track temperature was 72 degrees. When Rusty ran his quick lap, it was 6 o’clock at night and the track temperature was 81 degrees. We went out Tuesday morning on old tires and it was 78 degrees. It was the same time Nemechek ran his lap and we ran a 49.66 “We waited until the track temperature got to 92 degrees and then we ran a 49.62. Now if the track gets hotter, it’s going to get hotter for everybody, but we feel good about the way we got our speed. It’s a little different than the way they got their speed. If it gets hot and slippery like it did when it got 130 degrees up there on track temperature, couldn’t anybody get a grip on the race track. We feel our way is going to be a lot better than the way some of them has done it. “We got a lot of help from Chevrolet carrying the car to the wind tunnel. We had an engineer there with us at Indy the last two days, and it was a big jump. It’s going to help us a lot in the near future. The way we’ve got it figured, it’s going to take a 50.30 to make the race. I think the pole, depending on the weather, if it’s sunny, the pole might be a 49.80. It slows down. Every 15 or 20 degrees is a tenth as far as track temperatures go. Then I think once you get up over 120 degrees, you might see 15 hundredths every 10 degrees or so. We practice at 10 and qualify at 1, so the track will really start taking a beating at 2. An early draw is going to be better. “Look at where we are in points and the way we’ve been qualifying. We wouldn’t have made the race. We felt like we needed to go back and hit it hard. We had a good enough test that we were able to knock off at 10 o’clock the second day and swap the car over and make race runs all day. We feel good about the whole thing. The first test was terrible. We left there and our fastest lap was a 51.40. Nemechek ran a 49.66, so that would tell you that you need to go back. We hadn’t planned to go back, but once we saw what we learned in the wind tunnel we had one test left and we said we pretty much run decent everywhere else we’ve got left to go. “Indy is a big deal for race teams and sponsors. We needed to hit it. That’s our last test. A lot of teams are out of tests this time of year. There’s nowhere else we’re bad. We’ve just been hurting ourselves all year. “My race team is so worried about Daytona and Talladega. They spend all their wind tunnel tests at them. It’s cost us most of the season because we focus too much on four restrictor-plate races. We finished last at Daytona, last at Talladega and almost last at Daytona again. We’ve got one more Talladega to go. What’s the use in worrying about it? Wednesday, July 26, 2000. Advance material for Aug. 5 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chevrolet notes and quotes. Page 2 of 3. BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
WILL ENGINE PROBLEMS AT POCONO CARRY OVER TO INDY? “I’m afraid so. The speeds are up, and you’ve got Yates and the Hendrick stuff that doesn’t break, period. In order to run with them, you’ve got to run the same gears they’ve got, and nobody else’s stuff will hold up with them right now. They’ve stepped the meter up a little bit, and everybody else is trying to step up with them. They’re just not getting the job done. The bottom end engine problems are very few these days, and when you see that problem it just shows how light everything has got and the chances people are taking. They won’t go back that light next year. They’ll probably have top end problems again because that place is notorious for that. “We’re so far down in the points. We’re not going to worry about points any more this season. That’s why we worked so hard on this race run stuff. We don’t want to go out there and crash. Like Pocono, I was a good seventh or eighth-place car, and I just rode all day trying to take care of the motor and it still didn’t help. The guys that finished in the top 10, we had passed all day when we got ready to. There’s a fine line there. “Danny (new crew chief Gill) has helped the team with organization. Getting the people lined up in the right place and getting a game plan and sticking by it has never been done there. Believe it or not, I tried to do it, and I got it done one time and that was at California. Once we got away from there, it just started going sour. I started to fight it, so I just quit. I’m not going to fight it. Once Larry (car owner McClure) saw it himself, he was ready to get somebody. “There’s not a lot of magic there. There’s just one person who’s pulled everybody together. They feed off him. He’s the only person making decisions, and they’re good decisions right now. It’s early. We still haven’t done anything. We can’t go off this test at Indy. It’s a test. The thing about Indy, it’s not like Daytona. You can go to Daytona and let the car down and run fast. But everybody knows if you run fast at Indy, you actually run fast. There’s no cheating you can do at Indy to run fast.”
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) NOTE: Gordon won the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994 and repeated in 1998. A long-time resident of Pittsboro, Ind., Gordon will attempt to become the first driver to win three NASCAR Winston Cup races at The Brickyard. Dale Jarrett is the only other driver with two Brickyard 400 victories, and Chevrolet and Ford are tied with three Brickyard 400 wins.
“We love going to Indianapolis. It’s something we always look forward to. We go all out as a race team and myself as a driver to be our best when we get to Indianapolis. It’s just a place where there’s a lot of prestige, a lot of history and it’s just an awesome race track. We’re really looking forward to going back. “It is a race track that I as a driver adapted to fairly quickly, but the race team has always given me great equipment. It seems like we’re at our best horsepower-wise when we get there. It seems like we’re at our best getting the cars to handle well when we get there. For whatever reason why Wednesday, July 26, 2000. Advance material for Aug. 5 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chevrolet notes and quotes. Page 3 of 3.
JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) things come together when we get to Indianapolis, it’s hard to say, but it’s kind of like Daytona. The guys work really hard at the shop to get prepared for the big events, and The Brickyard is certainly one of those. “We tested there, and the new tire is a good tire. Maybe it’ll take a little different driving techniques and some fine-tuning for that tire once we get back there. “It’s just another race when you look at it from the perspective of points. I think we’re turning things around right now. I don’t think winning The Brickyard is what would turn things around. We’d like to do that, and we’re going to do everything we can to do that, but we’re not looking for a quick fix turnaround. We’re looking for a constant gain each and every race. “What I want to see, from midway until the end of the season, I want to see Jeff Gordon gain more points than anybody. That’s what I want to see. Whether that happens or not, I don’t know. That to me is what’s going to prepare us for next year. “I’m not saying we’re giving up this year. Our goal is to get as high in the points as we can, but I don’t see with as competitive as it is, you’ve got guys that aren’t falling out of races and guys that finish in the top five every weekend. On top of that, you don’t have a guy that’s going out there winning every race. It’s hard to make big gains in the points.”