Charlotte Chevrolet Saturday Notes

Saturday, May 29, 1999. Lowe's Motor Speedway WALLY DALLENBACH (No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The car seems to be pretty decent on long runs. It's just not fast for a lap. It's not a one-lap wonder, but I think we'll...

Saturday, May 29, 1999. Lowe's Motor Speedway

WALLY DALLENBACH (No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The car seems to be pretty decent on long runs. It's just not fast for a lap. It's not a one-lap wonder, but I think we'll be OK for the race. We're chasing it like everybody else. One minute you're too tight and the next minute you're too loose. You just go through the process. We'll run Happy Hour now and chase it a little more and then when the race starts it'll be completely different. "The track is going to be total junk this afternoon after the Busch race. It's going to be slippery, but will make a lot of changes on the car based on that, knowing the track is slippery. You know it's going to be this way tomorrow night. "This morning as far as the track temperature, and that's what you look at, track temperature this morning was probably closer to what the track temperature is going to be Sunday night when the race starts. You're closer on this morning's practice than you'll be this afternoon. This afternoon is a complete waste of time, but if they had 15 practices we'd do all of them. We'll make a few changes and see how the car is balance wise, but grip wise, it won't be as good as it was this morning. "This morning was like Happy Hour, and that was because the track surface temperature was closer to what it'll be Sunday night when the race starts. It'll change a lot from the start of the race to the end of the race. Normally, the track gets tighter and tighter, so you've got to loosen it up during the race. You've got to chase it. You're really chasing the weather, the weather and the race track is what you chase a lot. "I'd say this track changes as much as any. The three that stand out are Michigan, Indy and here as far as temperature. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's something in the asphalt, but I don't really know, but those three tracks are very temperature sensitive. "I feel pretty confident. I'm not happy with qualifying, but I look who's back there with us. I'm a little surprised we didn't qualify better, but so is Terry Labonte, Sterling Marlin and a lot of other people. I think our car, when I'm out there practicing, it seems like I'm as good as any and better than most. I'm maybe not as good as some of them, but there's nobody driving away from me with the exception of a few cars and they're all different makes. "If we can be consistent and not dial ourselves out of any segment, then we're going to be good. If you dial yourself out here in any segment, you'll go a lap down real quick, and we've got to avoid that. A segment is a fuel run. "I was glad to see that article on my father (in Friday's USA TODAY). It was long overdue. He's been doing that for 20 years. At first I think he was disappointed that I went stock car racing. I was brought up around Champ cars and the Indy 500 and all that. When he saw what I was doing and where I was going, I think he understood. There just wasn't any opportunities there. You either starve or go racing, and I didn't feel like starving. There were opportunities here for me. Once I made it and got into some opportunities, he was real happy for me. I'm a real big fan of a lot of guys over there, and I know there's a lot of fans over there that watch me, drivers, crew chiefs and stuff. It's kind of fun. I still follow the CART series very closely. "I'll probably watch some of the Indy 500, but I'm more interested in St. Louis. Indianapolis is the place. I'm not taking away from anybody there, but if you're going to have the greatest race in the world you need to have the greatest drivers in the world. Until they can get their act together, then it'll be the Indy I remembered. I've got so many memories on Indy. "I was watching the other night, and I think it was the '69 or '70 or '71 Indy 500. I remember that stuff like it was yesterday, those cars, and it was really a lot of fun. There were a lot of different cars, and that's what was so cool about it at that time. You had so many different types of cars. They all looked the same but had different names. They had everything you can imagine. It was pretty neat. "The last couple of years I could have been at Indy with some pretty good rides, but I'm just not interested in taking away from my program here. It's pretty hard for somebody new to win a NASCAR race and a lot of guys have won one and haven't won much after that. If you want to take a look at the one and two-race winners, there's probably 10 or 15 of them. It's real hard to win one and it's even harder it seems like to win more. "I think if we get the first one we'll get more. I hope June and July can be Wally Dallenbach's months. We've got Michigan and Pocono and Sears Point and Daytona coming up. Those are all strong tracks for us. I feel we can do it. I wasn't real happy with our Sears Point test. We've got a lot of work to do based on that, but we can win races. Everything has to go right all day long, and we haven't been able to do that yet. "Based on the guys I've seen on the race track, the 99 car might be the one to beat Sunday. It'll be the same guys. I don't think you're going to see any surprises because of the extra 100 miles. I don't think I've seen that extra 100 miles too many times. I've not had very good luck in this race. I hope we can go 600 miles. The car is pretty comfortable right now. If we can make it 600 miles, we'll have a real good finish."

RANDY DORTON (Head Engine Builder Hendrick Motorsports) "We had a couple of problems that set us back with the engines, so we had to correct some things. It set us back as far as advancing our qualifying engines. It has only been recently we've done that. We stepped that program up. Some of these guys had the new engines at Fontana, but it didn't get to be proven because it rained out qualifying. They did practice them that Saturday morning and they felt very good about it. They came here right after that for a test session with test engines for a practice session at Charlotte. I believe you don't want to have a wide range variance of power between test engines, qualifying engines and race engines. We keep a lot of similarity. They came here with a good test engine. We came back with some of the best qualifying engines we've had. Some of the guys were pleased and happy about it and qualified good. Wally and Terry Labonte didn't. I was real concerned about that. Both of them felt like it was engine that was missing. We took the engines back and ran them again on the dyno and things still looked good. We had very little practice Wednesday and that might have hurt us as far as getting things sorted out. You need to unload and be right there and we weren't. There just wasn't enough time to make changes to sort it out. A lot of that got worked on. We put some different engines in on Thursday, and we got a lot better. Saturday, May 29, 1999. Lowe's Motor Speedway. Coca-Cola 600 advance material. Chevrolet notes and quotes. Page 3.

RANDY DORTON (Head Engine Builder Hendrick Motorsports) "When you start building an engine, it's hard to predict where it's going to race and qualify. From our beginning from day one, we do a lot of things from cradle to grave as far as tracking parts. At the beginning, we continue to look at everything the same way. As you go through processes and things get eliminated, you start dividing some items up. You sort out engines that would be suitable to run in a test environment as opposed to a race environment. When we go and focus on a race, we don't think about anything different in a 500-mile race or a 600-mile race. I had an engine here last year that had 780 miles on it when it finished the 600. It was because the guys ran so much on Saturday. They ran it a lot in the two sessions on Saturday, but there wasn't a problem. I don't think we all of a sudden pay a lot of attention when we come to the 600. I always want to look at engines running 600 or 700 miles whether you're going to Dover or Charlotte or Fontana. "You've got a shorter distance in a race like The Winston, and you take a motor with a lot of power. It's similar to what we'd run in a qualifying environment. We put a little more than 900 miles on one engine, and I guess that's about as far as we've ever gone with a motor. "You've got to have longevity with not only the engine but everything else about the car. Charlotte is a demanding thing. The drivers stay a little fresher by running at night, but it's a long deal and the car needs to work good all day. There's a lot of changes between new tires and when you get some laps on them. You need that adjustability in the car on how it's going to go from sun to dark. Hopefully we'll be able to adjust on it all night and have our three Chevys running up front toward the end of the race."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Wally Dallenbach , Terry Labonte , Sterling Marlin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports