Craven's Team Prepares for Atlanta

Craven's team burns midnight oil for Atlanta HARRISBURG, N.C. (March 3, 1998) Budweiser Chevrolet crew chief Tony Furr took a red-eye flight home from Las Vegas last Sunday and then started burning the midnight oil. Furr said he doesn't...

Craven's team burns midnight oil for Atlanta

HARRISBURG, N.C. (March 3, 1998) Budweiser Chevrolet crew chief Tony Furr took a red-eye flight home from Las Vegas last Sunday and then started burning the midnight oil.

Furr said he doesn't want another "whipping" this week in the PRIMESTAR 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Ricky Craven finished 27th in the inaugural NASCAR Winston Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Ford drivers occupied 13 of the top 14 spots at the finish, prompting a rule change from NASCAR for the Atlanta race. The Fords will be racing with one-quarter inch less rear spoiler at Atlanta.

Furr says that decrease may just make the Taurus drivers better, so the No. 50 Budweiser Chevrolet crew put in a little overtime this week.

"Taking that quarter-inch off the rear spoiler might just give the Fords more horsepower," Furr said. "They'll be able to lay their spoilers down now, so if anything, I think it will help them some.

"There's just too much difference between the two makes. We'll be OK, but we're just going to have to ride out the storm. We were getting a new car ready for Texas, and we thought it was going to be better than the car we had scheduled to take to Atlanta. We got together and had a team meeting Monday and decided to shift into high gear to get the Texas car ready for Atlanta."

Furr said the car was about 85 percent ready before the rush job began on Monday. Furr and company worked until 9 p.m. on Monday on the Chevy that will be nicknamed Bud in honor of one of the famous Budweiser Clydesdales. After a midnight session on Tuesday, the Budweiser team hoped to have Bud ready to roll by 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

"The car hadn't even been painted, but we decided the best thing we could do would be to get it ready for Atlanta," Furr said. "We tried to test at Atlanta twice, and it got rained out both times. It's been an uphill battle, but I'm confident we can go down there and do a good job. We're going to keep our chins up and hope for the best.

"I'm not expecting any significant rule changes until after Darlington. I've heard they're going to take the cars to the wind tunnel after Atlanta and then again after Darlington. I don't think they'll make any big changes until after that second wind tunnel test."

Furr worked on a Ford team last season and said he's aware how much better the Taurus is aerodynamically than the Thunderbird. Still, he doesn't second guess leaving the Ford camp.

"I'm glad to be at Hendrick Motorsports with the Bud team," Furr said. "We've got plenty of manpower here, and we couldn't have done what we did the past three days without plenty of commitment. I'd say normally it would have taken five to eight days to do what we completed in three.

"We made a commitment to do whatever it takes to put the No. 50 Budweiser Chevrolet in Victory Lane, and we honored that commitment the past few days. Hopefully, it'll all pay off with a good run at Atlanta."

Craven fell from ninth to 14th in the NASCAR Winston Cup standings after his 27th-place finish in Las Vegas. He trails leader Rusty Wallace by 163 points but is only 107 points behind second-place Dale Earnhardt.

"It's early in the season, but it's never too early to start thinking about the points," Craven said. "We had two pretty good runs to start the season, and we had a good Chevy last week at Las Vegas. We spun out, with a little help, early in the race but managed to stay on the lead lap for a long time.

"We'll just have to wait and see what happens in Atlanta. I don't have a good track record there. In fact, I've never had a top-10 finish at Atlanta, and we'll have our work cut out for us Sunday. Nobody said it was going to be easy. It looks like some of those teams have it easy now, but they're all working hard. Tony and the guys did a great rush job turning the Texas car into an Atlanta car, and I know Bud will be ready for a hard gallop this weekend."

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Rusty Wallace , Ricky Craven
Teams Hendrick Motorsports