Crew Chief Club on Darlington

Crew Chief Club at the TranSouth Financial 400 Event: TranSouth Financial 400 When: Sun., March 21 at 12:30 p.m. EST on ESPN Where: Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (1.366-mile oval) · Together, Jimmy Makar, Larry McReynolds, Todd Parrott...

Crew Chief Club at the TranSouth Financial 400

Event:  TranSouth Financial 400  
When:  Sun., March 21 at 12:30 p.m. EST on ESPN
Where:  Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (1.366-mile oval)

· Together, Jimmy Makar, Larry McReynolds, Todd Parrott and Robin Pemberton have led their drivers to 65 wins, 357 top-five finishes, 572 top-10 finishes and 67 poles prior to this Sunday's TranSouth Financial 400 at Darlington Raceway.

· Parrott and Dale Jarrett are the two-time defending champions of the TranSouth Financial 400. They finished the 1998 race in 3 hours, 7 minutes and 40 seconds with an average speed of 127.962 mph. Their margin of victory over runner-up Jeff Gordon was .228 seconds

· The Crew Chief Club has two wins and two poles in the spring event at Darlington Raceway. The wins were provided by Parrott and Jarrett in 1998 and 1997. The poles were provided by Parrott and Jarrett in 1997, and Pemberton and Mark Martin in 1989.

· In last year's TranSouth Financial 400, the Crew Chief Club finished in the following order: Parrott/Jarrett Start: 3rd Finish: 1st Status: Running Pemberton/Wallace Start: 14th Finish: 3rd Status: Running McReynolds/Earnhardt Start: 27th Finish: 12th Status: Running Makar/Labonte Start: 6th Finish: 23rd Status: Running · Crew Chief Club souvenirs and wearables 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.

WHAT FACTORS PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR PREPARATIONS FOR DARLINGTON?

Jimmy Makar - Interstate Batteries Pontiac of Bobby Labonte - "Darlington is the same old thing, you race the race track. You have to have a car that drives well. It can't be neutral, it can't push and it can't be loose. Darlington is a driver's track. The driver really has to carry the car around the track. You can never get your car absolutely perfect there as far as handling goes, so the driver has to be comfortable enough to make up the difference."

Larry McReynolds - Lowe's Home Improvement Chevrolet of Mike Skinner - "Darlington is one of the worst race tracks we go to as far as taking care of the tires. You can run 70-75 laps on fuel at Darlington, but you need tires, realistically, after 20 laps. You have to acclimate your driver during practice. Remind him that if he runs real hard for the first 10 laps, on lap 50 he'll have used up the tires and he'll be a half second slower than guys who took care of their tires. That's the biggest thing for this race - getting the car to drive the best that it can, and to get the driver to understand not to drive like a wild-man the first few laps. Darlington is a place that some drivers get around real well and other drivers haven't figured out. Mike is looking forward to this race, because of the confidence level he has right now. However, there's a part of him that's not looking forward to it because he's not been successful there. But, he felt the same way about Rockingham and things went well for us there. I guess qualifying is the most important thing at Darlington, well it's important everywhere. But you want to start up front and get a good pit stall on frontstretch. We put our main focus on qualifying, because to us, that's a race. After that we turn our heads to getting ready for Sunday's race."

Todd Parrott - Ford Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Ford of Dale Jarrett - "Darlington is a place that we've done well at since this team was started back in 1996. Dale likes Darlington because it's a driver's race track. He gets around real well and likes the challenge. I like it too because of the challenge. It's an old race track and there's not a lot of grip. You have to work hard on the chassis setup to get the car to run well."

Robin Pemberton - Miller Lite Ford of Rusty Wallace - "Darlington is one of those places that can be extra hard on the car and on the engine. Two grooves have developed there in recent years, so you have to set-up the car so you can run the top and the bottom. You have to have a lot of versatility built into the chassis for the race."

DARLINGTON ANNOUNCED LAST WEEK THAT THEY WOULD LIKE TO ADD LIGHTS TO THE FACILITY. HOW DO YOU THINK THAT WOULD EFFECT RACING AT DARLINGTON?

Jimmy Makar: "Darlington is tricky enough to get around in the daytime, I can't imagine trying to get around there at night. But, it's hard to tell. Every track that we've gone to that has put up lights recently has been okay. They've done a good job at getting the tracks well lit, and I'm sure that they would do the same job there, if not better. As long as the track is lit well, I don't think it'll be a problem for the drivers or anybody else to race Darlington at night. It may give the race track a better grip because Darlington's surface is one that comes and goes a lot with the sun and the clouds. It may keep the track surface more consistent for grip which will be easier than chasing the race car all day."

Larry McReynolds: "I would hope that if Darlington were to add lights, they would be looking to do two things. First, run the Southern 500 under the lights, and maybe move the spring race back a little bit and run both under the lights. I think a race under the lights at Darlington would be pretty phenomenal. It appears, for whatever reason, that the fan interest at Darlington has dwindled a little bit. They don't sell-out like they used to. Of course, they have more seats to sell. But I think it would be an awesome place to run a race at night. From a team standpoint, the more night races we can run on Saturday night, the better. With this schedule expanding and growing like it is, Saturday races can give our guys the chance to have a Sunday like a normal human being - to go to church, have Sunday dinner with the family and spend time on the lake in the summer. I'm a big supporter and fan of Saturday or Saturday night racing. So many of these tracks have lights, it would be great if they could use them. First they'd have to get an adequate date to do it, but it would be something. But I think a race under the lights at Darlinton would put a new twist into Darlington that would appeal to the fans."

Todd Parrott: "If they say we're going to race at night at Darlington, then we'll race at night at Darlington. It may be a little better because it's cooler at night, and the tires won't wear quite as bad. All the lighting systems we've seen at the race tracks have been spectacular. I don't think it will be much different, it will be like racing in the daytime with cooler temperatures."

Robin Pemberton: "I think racing would be fine if Darlington were to add lights. In fact, I think if you changed that race to a Saturday night, the race would be better. I don't think anybody in this garage would argue the fact that night racing is good racing, especially during the heat of the summer. So, if they could add some lights and run their race on a Saturday night, it would be great for us."

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Mike Skinner , Mark Martin