2000 Monte Carlos test at Miami By Marty Smith MIAMI (Nov. 16, 1999) Nine of Chevrolet's premiere teams continued the manufacturer's quest to perfect the 2000 Monte Carlo on Monday, testing the car at Homestead-Miami Speedway to varied ...
2000 Monte Carlos test at Miami By Marty Smith
MIAMI (Nov. 16, 1999) Nine of Chevrolet's premiere teams continued the manufacturer's quest to perfect the 2000 Monte Carlo on Monday, testing the car at Homestead-Miami Speedway to varied results.
The test was Chevrolet's third on its new body style since late summer. They also tested at Gateway International Raceway in St. Louis back in September and at Talladega Superspeedway last month.
Among those participating in the scheduled two-day deal were Mike Skinner in his No. 31 Lowe's ride; Jerry Nadeau in the No. 25 Budweiser entry; Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes machine; Geoffrey Bodine in the No. 60 Power Team car; Steve Park in his No. 1 Pennzoil ride; Bobby Hamilton in the No. 4 Kodak Max Films entry; Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove the No. 8 Budweiser ride; Terry Labonte drove his No. 5 Kellogg's Corn Flakes ride and Rick Mast tested the No. 41 Kodiak entry.
Still, oodles of questions remain. Most deal with aerodynamics, but some lie elsewhere. According to Skinner, the cooling system has raised a problem.
"We're starting to get the front end stuck a little bit better on the 2000 Monte Carlo," said Skinner, who clinched his first career top-10 series finish with a sixth-place run in the Pennzoil 400 presented by Kmart on Sunday at Miami. "We're learning more about the cooling. With half a day under our belts at Homestead, we're really working on the chassis.
"When we get the chassis halfway driveable again, we'll start working on some aero stuff and some more cooling stuff. That seems to be the big thing. We've got to get this ductwork system down and get the thing where it will cool so we can make long enough runs without wide open tape. I think the car has got a lot of potential. I'm excited about it.
"The upper part of the grille is laid back more and the way the air spills off the nose, it's not getting as much air through the top grille. It gets good airflow through the bottom part, but every time you're taking tape off that bottom, you're losing speed. Our goal is to get the cooling where it's pretty acceptable and be able to run as much tape on it as we can. I think that's a lot of your straightaway speed and downforce. We need front downforce with that car and every time you take a piece of tape off of it, you're losing front downforce. That's the biggest thing about the cooling."
Despite the series of unknowns associated with the new car, the consensus among the Chevy contingent is a change needed to be made in order to compete with the Pontiac Grand Prix's optimum downforce and the sleek Ford Taurus. Thus, they'll take what they get.
"We're overdue for a change," Skinner said. "We're still behind a little bit to the other cars, so we're looking forward to this new Monte Carlo. We're going to make the best of it and try to get the thing going where it's real good on long runs. That's where they're beating us so bad. We can run with them for a few laps, but that's about it.
"They keep refining their cars. When they came out with the Taurus, NASCAR gave them a license to steal. They learned their lesson on that deal, and now they're going to be pretty hard on us. Maybe the best thing that's happening to us here is that we are getting beat right now. Maybe they'll slack up a little bit and give us something. I just want it to be a level playing field."
Skinner went on to comment that he likes various aspects of the old car, but also feels that new car has its advantages as well.
"I think the nose piece on our old Monte Carlo was pretty awesome," he said. "I would have loved to seen the nose be more in that configuration, but I think they did a great job with the tail end of the 2000 Monte Carlo. It looks a little bit different. It's a little more into the concept like the Pontiac is. If NASCAR is going to let these guys have spoilers that follow trunk designs, and so on and so forth, we need them to design something like that because we're going to get more rear downforce.
"I'm not real tickled with the front of the car, but we've got what we've got and we're going to work on it and make the best we can out of it. I think it's going to be a good piece."