Square D Racing Preview CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Aug. 8, 2001) -- Square D driver Bobby Hamilton and crew chief Jimmy Elledge agree on one thing about Watkins Glen International -- there are only two places to pass on the 2.45-mile road course outside...
Square D Racing Preview
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Aug. 8, 2001) -- Square D driver Bobby Hamilton and crew chief Jimmy Elledge agree on one thing about Watkins Glen International -- there are only two places to pass on the 2.45-mile road course outside Watkins Glen, N.Y.
"When the drivers are going into turn one and into the inner loop are the only places to pass at the Glen," Elledge said as the team prepares for Sunday's 90-lap Global Crossing at The Glen, the season's second and final road race. "There are other places that they'll try to get setup for, but those two turns give them the most momentum."
Hamilton echoed Elledge's observations, saying, "The only place where we can get around someone without damaging our cars or hurting our lap times is in turn one and the chicane. We get a lot of speed at the Glen and can get around each other smoothly in those two places. There is so much to think about while we're racing there -- like conserving our brakes and the speed. Those two points are the smartest places to pass."
The 11 turns at Watkins Glen are often compared to those at Sears Point, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series' sister road course at Sonoma, Calif., but Elledge points out significant differences in the two tracks, comparing them to the vast distance that separates the Finger Lakes region of New York to California's wine country.
"Watkins Glen is like a bunch of racetracks within a racetrack more than it is a road course. In Sonoma, the track is real rolling -- there are a bunch of elevation changes," Elledge explained. "Watkins Glen is not really like that. It's really, really fast. These guys are running like 170 mph down that straightaway going into that inner loop. Sonoma is more like Pocono than the Glen.
"There's a lot of different strategies that come into play at the Glen. Sometimes, it may look like you are out of sequence with everybody, but you are actually making time on the field because you are by yourself," Elledge continued. "You're able to run faster lap times alone on an open racetrack than in the groove trying to pass people. But the bottom line is it's still one timed lap per loop around that track.
"This course is extremely hard on brakes mainly because the cars gain the fast straightaway speeds that they do and then have to slow down quickly going into the turns. We've always fought to conserve our brakes for the end of the race. They wear out so easily due to the heat. The cycles are up and down over and over which makes that friction," Elledge said. "Pit strategy and brakes are the two biggest things to winning that race.
"Track position is the most important thing for the Glen. We'll probably see pit stops around lap 30 and lap 60 and that will be it. If teams can qualify in a good position, then the rest of the time will be trying to maintain that spot," Elledge concluded.
The 90-lap Global Crossing at The Glen gets underway on Sunday Aug. 12, 2001. It airs live on NBC at 1 p.m. EST.
Bobby Hamilton's Watkins Glen Performance Profile:
Year Event Start Finish 2000 Global Crossing at the Glen 31 16 1999 Frontier at the Glen 12 22 1998 The Bud at the Glen 14 13 1997 The Bud at the Glen 24 28 1996 The Bud at the Glen 30 38 1995 The Bud at the Glen 37 33 1994 The Bud at the Glen 31 34 1992 The Bud at the Glen 29 22 1991 The Bud at the Glen 32 29