Watkins Glen: Ricky Craven preview

HICKORY, NC (August 10, 2004) - Ricky Craven, driver of the No. 32 Tide Chevrolet, returns to Watkins Glen International for the eighth time in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career. His first start at the 2.45-mile road course came in 1995, where he ...

HICKORY, NC (August 10, 2004) - Ricky Craven, driver of the No. 32 Tide Chevrolet, returns to Watkins Glen International for the eighth time in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career. His first start at the 2.45-mile road course came in 1995, where he finished 10th.

Ricky Craven, driver of the No. 32 Tide Chevrolet:

Is there anything you learned at Infineon Raceway that can help you at Watkins Glen International?

"We are going to run the same car that we took to Infineon earlier this year, so that is a bonus. We are bringing Bill Cooper (road course specialist) back to assist. He was a big help to me and gave me a lot of support. I really enjoyed that communication and camaraderie."

What was it like making your first Cup road course start at Watkins Glen?

"The first road course race I ever ran was at Watkins Glen back in 1995 and we finished 10th. I left there that day really enjoying it and feeling that it was a type of racing I could really be productive at."

With only racing road courses twice a year, would you like to see the two races run closer together in the season?

"No, I think the schedule is fine as it is. I could understand the question, as the road course racing does take a rhythm to get into, but as teams, we have to adapt to new situations each weekend. I don't see how you can argue our current schedule as it is very flavorful.'"

What is the most difficult transition from oval racing to road course racing?

"Well, the obvious things such as turning left, turning right. Shifting through the gears. Going up, then going down. It is a different discipline and it is challenging, but at the end of the day, it is still racing."

Mike Beam, crew chief of the No. 32 Tide Chevrolet:

What is the biggest difference between a road course race versus a speedway race?

"The thing about a road course race is you really have to work on your brakes. You have to have good stopping power. It is really important at Watkins Glen because it is so much faster than Infineon Raceway. It is a lot faster, especially getting into turn one. The transmission ratio is so much different than Sonoma too...it is so much more challenging from shifting to braking. We're unloading in race trim this weekend just to get some laps. Road course racing is a totally different element...from fuel strategy to pit strategy. It is easy for a crew chief to get confused because everything is backwards on the car, so you really have to study and pay attention to the adjustments you make during the weekend. At Sonoma, there are a lot of right-hand and left-hand turns, but at Watkins Glen, it is mostly right-hand turns, and so it is certainly a challenge when adjusting during the race."

How hard does the pit crew train for this one race where the pits are opposite?

"The pit crews practice that. In Sonoma, you gas on the left side whereas in Watkins Glen, you gas the car on the right-hand side. You really have to think about what you are doing, as it is easy to get turned around backwards and get yourself in trouble. They put a lot of practice in for this race to make sure they are on the ball. They are professionals and will do a great job."

Chassis No. 54: The Tide Racing team is taking Chassis No. 54 to Watkins Glen this weekend, which is the same car the team competed with earlier this year at Infineon Raceway.

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ricky Craven