Officials for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series announced a one-inch increase for the Chevrolet Monte Carlo and a half-inch increase to the front air dam for the Pontiac Grand Prix for next weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup event at Michigan International...
Officials for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series announced a one-inch increase for the Chevrolet Monte Carlo and a half-inch increase to the front air dam for the Pontiac Grand Prix for next weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup event at Michigan International Speedway.
The leading edge for the Chevrolets now must not extend more than three-and-one-half inches forward of the bumper. The leading edge of the air dam for the Pontiacs now must not extend more than one-and one-half inches forward of the bumper. Prior to this, Chevrolets' air dams could extend two-and-one-half inches forward, while Pontiacs' air dams could extend 1 inch forward. The modifications will be in place for next weekend only, pending further assessment by NASCAR officials.
Following are comments from several Chevrolet Monte Carlo crew chiefs regarding increase:
ROBBIE LOOMIS, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"The new rules change going into effect for the Michigan race only is I think the way NASCAR can evaluate it after that race and see. It's been very obvious to NASCAR that when you're behind in traffic, there's just no way to get to the front. If the cars are out front you can usually hang on to the lead pretty good, but the problem with the Dodges and Fords is that they're a lot better negotiating in traffic."
CHAD KNAUS, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"It's definitely a welcome to us; we definitely need some help. I think anybody can see that. We've been struggling all year on the bigger tracks, more so the flat tracks. It's going to help us in Michigan; how much I don't know, but as long as they keep that rule up through Phoenix, Loudon, Homestead and places like that, it's really going to help us. It'll be a big benefit to us there. It's something that we need, that's for sure. Why they gave to us as opposed to taking away from the others, I don't know. We're not only at a downforce disadvantage, but we're at an aerodynamic drag disadvantage. Anything that we add to our cars just increases our drag. Yes, it's going to help us, but we've also increased our drag a little bit. It hurt us in another area, but it's definitely something that we needed."
TONY EURY SR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"I don't think it's really going to do anything. It's out so far now, it's kind of really not doing anything. I think the first two-and-a half inches they gave us was a lot, then we got it out to three, and we didn't see a whole lot. Now, we're not really seeing anything, so I don't think it's going to do anything to help us. They definitely should've taken away from the Fords and Dodges. Our balance is off; their balance is not. They should've taken away from them to get their balance like ours; then we would've been more equal. We just have to do what they say."
CHRIS CARRIER, NO. 4 KODAK FILMS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"The whole situation is that NASCAR sees that there's a little bit of injustice there. They look and see the results of the races, and that the Chevrolets are having a hard time keeping up on the tracks that are requiring a lot of downforce -- flat tracks with long straightaways, sometimes long corners, sometimes very sharp corners. Indy's a place that's got four sharp corners, two short straightaways and two straightaways that are here from Dallas. Those type race tracks, there's a lot of disparity there. I think they're taking a step to try to catch us up a little bit, and try to make us more competitive, and make the races more competitive and I think it's a good move. I'm not sure this is going to be enough, but if you're hungry and you've been starving for a week and somebody gives you a hamburger, you don't throw it back and say, I'll to wait on a steak; you take what you've got. We'll take what we've got and we'll do the best that we can with it. That's what we do every week and we'll see what happens."
PAUL ANDREWS, NO. 1 PENNZOIL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"It's better than nothing, but I don't think it's going to do a lot. We've actually done some wind tunnel studies and it's very, very small. It won't hurt, but it's not going to help. It won't help tremendously at all. I don't think we'll even notice the difference in traffic, and that's where the problem is. The other makes have so much more downforce right now. We'll see."
KEVIN HAMLIN, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"I think it's good, all good. They should have given it to us at the beginning of the year instead of waiting 'til two-thirds of the season. It's going to be something that may instantly turn things around, make our cars run better, but it's probably going to be something that we're going to have to learn through. The last time they did something like that with us we didn't jump right out there and take full advantage of it right away and we won that first race. I think if we sneak up on it we'll be all right. Hopefully they'll give it to us for more than just Michigan; they'll give it to us for the rest of the year 'cause we can certainly use it at Homestead and Phoenix and some of the flatter tracks." SHOULD THEY HAVE TAKEN AWAY FROM THE FORDS AND DODGES? "Of course, I would have liked them to have taken away something from the others; it would've been better from two standpoints. We wouldn't have to relearn everything; and they could have been busy working on their cars instead of racing them. If they're going to help us by giving it to us, we're going to take advantage of it; we're going after it."
STEVE HMIEL, DIRECTOR OF MOTORSPORTS AND TECHNICAL OPERATIONS, DALE EARNHARDT INC.:
"Well, it's definitely a step in the right direction. I was somewhat surprised that NASCAR would allow us to add downforce. I thought they would probably take downforce away from the other teams because, of late, they've talked about harder tires and less downforce and trying to make the cars more downforce sensitive in traffic. Regardless of that, they gave us another inch. We have a balance problem with the car, which we've addressed very nicely with the 2003 Chevrolet, but it's still 2002. We're working real hard to not forget what we're doing right now and, (in order) to race these particular 2002 Monte Carlos we need to have a little bit more front downforce. That inch will do that; it remains to be seen if that's enough. Being a racer, it's never going to be enough, but it's definitely a step in the right direction."