Event: Goody's Headache Powder 500 When: Sat., Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN Where: Bristol Motor Speedway (.533-mile oval) Â· Together, Jimmy Makar, Larry McReynolds, Todd Parrott and Robin Pemberton have led their drivers to 74...
Event: Goody's Headache Powder 500 When: Sat., Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN Where: Bristol Motor Speedway (.533-mile oval)
· Together, Jimmy Makar, Larry McReynolds, Todd Parrott and Robin Pemberton have led their drivers to 74 wins, 392 top-five finishes, 617 top-10 finishes and 72 poles prior to this Saturday's Goody's Headache Powder 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
· Pemberton and driver Rusty Wallace captured the Bud Pole in last year's Goody's Headache Powder 500. Wallace toured the .533-mile oval in 15.530 seconds at an average speed of 125.554 mph.
· Two members of the Crew Chief Club have seen their drivers to victory lane at the Bristol night race. Parrott and Dale Jarrett won in 1997, while Pemberton and Wallace took the checkered flag in 1996. · In last year's Goody's Headache Powder 500, the Crew Chief Club finished in the following order:
Pemberton/Wallace Start: 1st Finish: 3rd Status: Running Parrott/Jarrett Start: 9th Finish: 4th Status: Running McReynolds/Skinner Start: 2nd Finish: 7th Status: Running Makar/Labonte Start: 10th Finish: 25th Status: Running
· Crew Chief Club souvenirs are available on the Chevrolet and Ford merchandise trailers. Fans can also log-on to the Crew Chief Club at their official website, www.crewchiefclub.com.
IS THERE ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR THAT YOU NEED TO LOOK OUT FOR AT BRISTOL?
Jimmy Makar - Interstate Batteries Pontiac of Bobby Labonte - "It's an easy place to go a lap down if you're not careful. Track position is very important. You need to stay close to the leaders. Bristol is one of those race tracks where you don't want to be racing every lap. You want to find yourself a little spot where you can sit and ride for most of the race, saving your car for a run at the end. So, track position is critical."
Larry McReynolds - Lowe's Home Improvement Chevrolet of Mike Skinner - "Planning your pit strategy is important. You want to have a good set of tires on your car for the last 75 laps or so, so you won't have to pit again, because lapped traffic just kills you. Once you're behind a bunch of cars that are a lap or more down, it's really tough to get by them."
Todd Parrott - Ford Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Ford of Dale Jarrett - "Pit strategy is important because you've got to have track position. You want to keep your car up front and away from all the lapped traffic."
Robin Pemberton - Miller Lite Ford of Rusty Wallace - "Usually pit strategy. But pit strategy in the past has consisted of, basically, you get tires whenever you can get them. Once or twice in the last couple of years, it's been a fuel mileage race - believe it or not. The trend is showing that fuel mileage is critical everywhere we go now."
THE OPEN-WHEEL RANKS SEEM TO BE THE NEWEST AVENUE FOR TALENT TO COME INTO NASCAR RACING. WHY IS THAT?
Jimmy Makar: "The open wheel ranks are untapped territory right now. There's only a certain amount of quality drivers in any series, and quite a few guys have come out of the American Speed Association series over the last several years to become successful in the Winston Cup Series. It may be a situation where there are a few young guys out there who haven't had the chance to show their potential. We've tapped out the guys that are on top of their game and have run well. We really haven't seen anybody go into the open wheel stuff except for Jeff Gordon and Kenny Schrader. They came out of the open wheel ranks to start with, so I think it was an untapped resource until then. Guys have realized that those drivers have talent, and it's not a series we've looked at until recently."
Larry McReynolds: "I've recently become more familiar with open wheel cars in doing some work with TNN. From that little bit of experience, I can see where you have to drive every race car out there. Watching those guys in St. Louis a month ago, they had to drive those race cars. Those things are on top of the race track and the driver's the one to get them around there. I'm not sure if that's not helping the Tony Stewarts and Jeff Gordons that been here a while. But these guys do come in and drive those cars. It almost like driving these things (Winston Cup cars) is a little bit easier for them."
Todd Parrott: "There ain't nobody else to do it. I mean where else do you go. With the Busch Series some guys want to go up to the Cup Series and some don't. Car owners have to find a driver. Indy car drivers aren't apt to drive Cup cars because there's such a difference, but guys in sprint cars and other open wheel cars seem to be the ones that want to make that move up."
Robin Pemberton: "It's hard to say because there's so much talent in all the racing series. And it goes in spurts. You might cherry-pick the top drivers out of the Busch or Truck Series or even from open wheel. You have to look at the cycle too. It can sometimes take ten years to get one or two guys out of one division. Jeff Gordon and Kenny Irwin are good drivers out of the open wheel ranks and so is Mike Bliss. It all goes in cycles." DO YOU THINK THAT HIGH HORSEPOWER CARS AND NOT BEING ABLE TO PUT ALL THAT HORSEPOWER TO THE PAVEMENT GIVES OPEN WHEEL GUYS A BETTER SHOT TO ADAPT TO THE HEAVIER WINSTON CUP CARS?
Jimmy Makar: "There is a transformation process from open wheel to stock cars. The Busch Series is the natural avenue to get to the Cup level. But there are differences that make it difficult to make the transformation from Busch to Cup. The guys from the open wheel cars are used to high horsepower and I think they make the transformation easier from Busch to Cup. Now a driver that is used to a lower horsepower car throughout his career will have a harder time adjusting. Tony (Stewart) made the comment to me that these cars aren't necessarily easier to drive, but there's more things he can do as a race car driver by having the horsepower to work with. Instead of being wide open at the track and not having any horsepower, it might be a plus for some of these guys who are used to horsepower under their feet."
Larry McReynolds: "I think it's a lot better than coming from Busch to Cup. One of the things that hurts a Busch driver is the power difference. If you can go to a situation where the power is less here then that's a better situation for guys moving up."
Todd Parrott: "Yeah, I think that's one of the keys. Those guys in the open wheel ranks get all that horsepower and try to hook it up, then they come here. They don't have quite as much horsepower but it's the same thing, you have to try and hook it up. That's one of the keys to why that works here."
Robin Pemberton: "Definitely. If you look at the other series like Truck and Busch, they don't have nearly the power. But they've got the ability for downforce in Busch. It's different, but it will teach a driver how to drive and control the cars. It's just another avenue."