All-Star: Winning crew chief interview

CHAR KNAUS - CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS "Where do we begin, that was a mess out there. My engineer and I looked at each other about eight laps from the end, and said 'what can go on next'. We had a very good race car from the ...


"Where do we begin, that was a mess out there. My engineer and I looked at each other about eight laps from the end, and said 'what can go on next'. We had a very good race car from the start obviously and were able to take the lead. It came down to our green flag pit stop the first segment and Jimmie saw some guys coming up behind him and they were going fast that we needed to be for our mandatory pit road speed so we had to speed up and got pinched for a speeding penalty. Almost lost a lap there, we were right in front of the leaders but we were able to stay there ahead of them until the next caution. We just pedaled our way back. We were able to have a car fast enough and Jimmie was cool headed enough to be able to make the passes we needed them when we needed them and didn't push the subject until it was time to push it. The guys had incredible pit stops, the tires actually worked out pretty well for us and the strategy worked out well so it was a great night."

On the tire chatter:

"It is an ongoing issue that we are fighting with right now. I think what is happening is that the chatter that you are feeling in the center of the corner is coming from a tight issue. As a race track like this begins to take on rubber, and the asphalt is changing as we are putting laps on it, the track will typically get tighter. As the car gets tighter, it will start to chatter in the front end, whether it is the right front tire chattering or the left front time, which ever tire doesn't seem too loaded the most. It is something that is going to be very, very difficult to deal with next week over the course of 600 miles. 400 laps around here is a long, long time. That is one thing our team has been very good at over the past few years is being able to adjust our cars throughout the race and we are going to have to put some serious thought in to it, we had it show up twice tonight in 15 laps runs and that is going to be difficult to stay on top of. "

On what car will they bring to 600:

"We will talk about it and decide. Quite honestly, this car we brought here tonight hasn't been one of our best race cars. It was brand new last year. We put it in the wind tunnel, wasn't overly impressed with the wind tunnel numbers so over the winter, we cut the body off of it, put a new body on it and still wasn't overly impressed with it. So we took it to Texas and raced it there, the car ran competitive but it wasn't really what I was looking for. We brought it here to the test and wrecked it and fixed it. We brought it here as a learning tool to get prepped for next week. We hit on some stuff and it worked out ok. We will talk about it, look at the damage on the race car and see what has to be repaired and kinda go from there. The car that we are bringing next week is the car we ran at Fontana, it is one that is close to my heart so I would like to bring that one."

On winning championship this year:

"I think we are definitely on track. As I have said before and as all of you guys have heard, I am trying out some different things so that I am different at the end of the season and will be ready for the end of the season. I think Jimmie has matured a lot, and he is ready as an individual to go out and win the championship. Although we have been in championship battles, throughout all of our career, every season, I don't know that we were ready as a team, nor was Jimmie ready a s a driver to pull it all off. Now I think our team has matured enough and Jimmie has matured enough to actually go out there and do it. I am excited about it. We are taking things as they come, we are dealing with them as they pop up. I think what we are fortunate enough to do it. Believe it or not, I think we are behind a little on the race track. I feel like we are in the aggressor mode trying to catch the guys that a re a little bit faster than us. I think we do a little bit better when we are there. Every year, we have been the dominate car and have went out there and although we have won races this year, I don't feel like we are the best car out there. It has changed a little bit and I think we are a little more comfortable in this state. Of the cars out there, I think the No. 9, the No. 29 and a lot of those Roush cars are very competitive. We are making great strides and we are working very hard as a company at Hendrick Motorsports to get that back, and we are making steps in that direction as you can see in the performance of our team. But we aren't the dominate team and that is what we strive to be."

On winning too much here at Lowe's too much:

"Hell no! (Jimmie gave same answer) I guess after five years with someone, you begin to think a like. To come here to Lowe's Motor Speedway and win is very important to us being sponsored by Lowe's. Even if it wasn't, it is so close to Hendrick Motorsports. We have over 560 employees, and probably about half of them were here tonight and the other half will be here next weekend. For us to be able to come here and carry the flag for Hendrick Motorsports and for all those people, for the employee owners at Lowe's and all the friends and families is very important to us. All those peoples are bringing their families here, that is important. So when we come here and run well, it makes everyone happy and leave here with a smile on their face."

-gm racing-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Teams Hendrick Motorsports