Chevrolet Dover qualifying notes

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) "When you've won a championship or three championships, 10th really doesn't do a whole lot for you. We've been in the top 10 pretty much all year long, and I'm pretty surprised...

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) "When you've won a championship or three championships, 10th really doesn't do a whole lot for you. We've been in the top 10 pretty much all year long, and I'm pretty surprised as up and down as our season has been and as competitive as this season has been that we are 10th in points. It's kind of shocking to me. At the same time, we were looking for a whole lot more. That's why we are planning for next year for our future. We feel like it's looking bright. We're learning a lot about this Monte Carlo, and we feel like having Robbie (crew chief Loomis) in place this whole year and everybody clicking together as this team has grown to a new level, we're really looking forward to ending this season on a high note and going into the off season really getting prepared for next year."

COMMENT ON APPEAL FOR RICHMOND PENALTY "I've tried to put that stuff behind us. I know what won us the race at Richmond and it had nothing to do with the manifold. That's a technicality. If you look at statistics, I don't think any of them (penalties) have ever been overturned. We've got to fight it because we feel like we're right and NASCAR feels like they had to do what they had to do. It's one of those things you've got to give your best appeal and hope you win. The only disappointing thing to me is the 100 points. I feel like that is a little stiff. I would like to get those back because I feel like we've got a shot at eighth or ninth in the points, and that's something we would be real happy with. At the same time, we're putting that behind us. We're going on, and we don't want that to affect us. We don't want to get caught up in what the decision is going to be."

COMMENT ON POSSIBLE GREEN TRACK FOR SUNDAY'S RACE AT DOVER "If the track's green and there's no rubber down, then NASCAR and Goodyear will probably get together and give us a mandatory caution. I think that would be smart. I think we know enough from the last time we were here. I actually think this tire should be better from the last time we were here. We were all so tight the last time we were here that we wore out the right front, and some of us blew the right front. We're coming back with a little more conservative setup to make sure that doesn't happen, plus I think this tire is going to handle that a little better also. I definitely want to get some practice time because we'll be going into it totally in the dark. I'll feel good about our setup no matter what happens, but I would like to get some laps in."

DO YOU STILL FEEL LIKE DOVER IS A HOME TRACK? "Oh yeah. I remember when we first signed Dupont. This is a place we wanted to come to and run really well. We struggled a little bit and all of a sudden we hit on some things and man, we went on a tear. It was very exciting for us because we wanted to do well in their backyard. They're right up the street in Wilmington. I think they wanted to see it too. It's been exciting, and I think it's taken our relationship and their support to the next level. We want to be able to give that back to them again. This has always been a good track for us. Lately, it's been up and down. We're hoping that consistency comes again this weekend. Mark Martin always runs well here. Him and Rusty and Jeremy will be the guys to beat."

ROBBIE LOOMIS (Crew chief No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The biggest thing in the race is we've got to make sure we take care of our right front tire. We'll have to make sure we're a little on the conservative side with our camber gains. We've already seen a few guys blow tires this weekend, and Dover is a place that's always tough on tires. The last race here we didn't run that well, and then we blew a tire at the end of the race. We want to finish the race with the car in one piece. This is a different tire than we had here last time. It's got more stagger in it. It should help. The big thing is getting it where it'll run 90-100 laps and still have the right front tire on the car. "This team has been working hard, and the guys are fired up. That deal after the Richmond win didn't take away from anything from what we did. We've always got the best driver, and we kept working on the car. It was just a total team effort. When it came down to the end of the race and Jeff could see the leader, he got us to victory lane. "We didn't perform like we could here last time, but we saw some things with the shocks and other areas that I think will really help us this time. I think we'll be in good shape. It's been a lot of fun. Jeff and Rick Hendrick supply you with the stuff you need, and that makes it easier. "Look for Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth. That's my prediction for the top four Sunday or whenever we race. Kenseth has a real good feel for this place. The first race he drove here in Bill Elliott's car was impressive, and he was good the last time here in his car. We'll see what happens, but I think we're going to be in pretty good shape."

LARRY McREYNOLDS (Crew chief No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "Under normal circumstances it shouldn't be a disaster (rain and lack of practice time). I know a lot of people will disagree with my comments here, but Dover is a lot like Bristol. It's predictable. That's one good thing about the concrete, but the variable we have this time is Goodyear has brought a different tire here. I'm not saying it's a bad tire, and I'm not saying it's a good tire. It's a different tire. I think that's the big thing we're all going to struggle with, everybody in that garage area. If nothing else happens today, we need that Busch race to go off so we can look, watch, listen and learn from the Busch experience. If nothing happens, then we're shooting from the hip. We need to go over there with some help from Goodyear and convince NASCAR we need a caution on lap 40 if one doesn't happen before then. We need to look at our tires and adjust our race car. We ran good here in June, and we had a distinct game plan. We knew there was a slight chance of the weather doing what it's doing. We had a good game plan of how we were going to start our car after qualifying. It took about that two-hour practice yesterday to know we had to totally throw that game plan away and start with a new one because of the characteristics of the tire. I think it's going to be a better tire. It's going to keep these cars from pushing so bad. We've definitely got to adjust to it. We saw it yesterday getting ready to qualify, and I think everybody in the garage area saw it. "In Goodyear's defense, they're going through this garage area, and it's no different than all year long. They're telling people here's where you need to be on air pressure, and here's where you need to be on camber. Be careful with the A-arm length. All those things contribute to the tire coming apart." "I think that's where the race fan, and hopefully that's one of the things I can help with next year (on TV), make a race fan understand that if a car pops a tire, it doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad tire. Maybe the competitor maybe wasn't smart with what he did with his race car. You fight turning here at Dover, and things that help a car turn at Dover, is low right front air pressure, lots of camber and let it gain a lot with a short arm. The tire they've developed here doesn't meet all those things now, so we've got to be smart enough to get off those things. Right now we're taking camber out of our right front tire right now." "Camber is the amount that the front tire is tipped in. When these cars travel, you're trying to get as much footprint of the tire on the ground as you can. To accomplish that, you put negative camber on the right front tire, which leans the top edge in. The more that's leaned in, it's working on the inside of that tire and wearing it out. That's the end result. The same with low air pressure. It's overworking that tire. When you see a guy pop a tire on lap 60, probably the damage was done somewhere between lap 1 and 10 because of the low air pressure. Then you put a short A-arm on it and that lets that thing really gain a lot of negative camber in the corner because it's a short arm and picks it up on the travel, and that works on the inside of that tire even more. You've got three things killing the inside of that tire, plus how hard the car and tire is loaded here anyhow. The end result is tire problems. "The more you can lower that air pressure and the more negative camber you can put in it, the shorter arm, the car is going to turn better. What we've learned, is the construction of the tire Goodyear has created, you don't have to do those things anymore to make these cars turn. The tire is working for us. "I don't like rainy days anywhere at a race track, but the one good thing about this place, they can get it dried up in a hurry. This place is pretty rubber sensitive. When the rubber is gone, you've got a different animal. This place for the most part, is normally pretty loose with no rubber on it. The more rubber on it, the tighter it gets. "In 1988 or '89, this was before we had concrete here, I was here with Ricky Rudd and the Quaker State car. It rained so hard Saturday night, I just knew the race track with the rubber gone was going to be tight. We did about three or four things to loosen up the car, and it was sideways on the pace laps. He came on the radio, and I never will forget it. About lap five, he said, 'Larry this thing is so loose.' Ya'll should have been able to feel how loose this thing was pushing it through inspection this morning.' Eventually the rubber got back on the track and it got tighter. I think that's one thing that's made Goodyear do something about the tire here. The longer the race goes the more people start pushing the right-front tires and you have tire failure. Now, the competitors have to come in and be smart enough to realize Goodyear has worked on this problem. The right front tire is taking a beating because of the load and speeds, so we need to listen to what they're telling us. We don't need those Band-aids and crutches to make the car turn. The tire is doing it for us now."

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Mark Martin