Crew Chief Club on Las Vegas

Crew Chief Club at the Las Vegas 400 Event: Las Vegas 400 When: Sun., March 7 at 2:30 p.m. EST on ABC Where: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval) Together, Jimmy Makar, Larry McReynolds, Todd Parrott and ...

Crew Chief Club at the Las Vegas 400

Event:  Las Vegas 400           
When:  Sun., March 7 at 2:30 p.m. EST on ABC
Where:  Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)

Together, Jimmy Makar, Larry McReynolds, Todd Parrott and Robin Pemberton have led their drivers to 65 wins, 353 top-five finishes, 566 top-10 finishes and 65 poles prior to this Sunday's Las Vegas 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Parrott and Dale Jarrett are the defending pole winners of the Las Vegas 400. Jarrett captured the Bud Pole Award with a time of 32.100 seconds at an average speed of 168.224 mph.

In last year's Las Vegas 400, the Crew Chief Club finished in the following order: Pemberton/Wallace Start: 10th Finish: 3rd Status: Running McReynolds/Earnhardt Start: 26th Finish: 8th Status: Running Makar/Labonte Start: 11th Finish: 19th Status: Running Parrott/Jarrett Start: 1st Finish: 40th Status: Engine The Crew Chief Club will be signing autographs on Sat., March 6, approx. 6:30pm to 7:30pm. Jimmy Makar and Larry McReynolds will be on the Chevrolet souvenir trailer, while Todd Parrott and Robin Pemberton will be on the Ford souvenir trailer. Crew Chief Club souvenirs and wearables are available on both trailers. Fans can also log-on to the Crew Chief Club at their official website, www.crewchiefclub.com.

WHAT DO YOU CONCENTRATE ON IN YOUR PREPARATIONS FOR LAS VEGAS?

Jimmy Makar - Interstate Batteries Pontiac of Bobby Labonte - "Las Vegas is a fairly flat, fast race track. It takes a different setup than most places. It's got its own unique character in that we don't run a setup there that we run elsewhere. In fact, I can't think of a similarity to anything. It's a tricky place to get around. You're in the corners a long time and you're running at a good rate of speed in those corners, so you've really got to work on handling and getting the car to turn well to go into the corner. Otherwise you lose speed."

Larry McReynolds - Lowe's Home Improvement Chevrolet of Mike Skinner - "The biggest thing we look at when it comes to Las Vegas is that the track is a lot like Motegi, Japan. It has a lot of the same characteristics. We're taking the same car we had over there when we won the Coca Cola 500k last November, and we're going to unload it just like we did then. We're excited about going to Las Vegas. You have to have a lot of engine out there. Your car really has to turn well through the middle. A car that turns well all day is going to be the car to beat. We're excited about going back there versus this time last year when we had the air dam and valance issue of five and five. I think we're going to see a lot better side-by-side racing this year. The Busch Series cars have had good side-by-side racing, and I think we'll see it now with the Winston Cup cars. We're just anxious to get there and to be a part of the No Bull 5 deal."

Todd Parrott - Ford Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Ford of Dale Jarrett - "Last year we sat on the pole for the Las Vegas race, but when we unloaded off the truck we weren't very good. We were actually three-quarters of a second off. But, we got there and worked on the car to where it was comfortable for Dale and he was actually fast. You have long sweeping corners there, so you're handling package has to be pretty good. The track has some similarities to Motegi. I mean before we went over there, we took our notes from Vegas to prepare for Motegi. We didn't run the whole race at Motegi, but we got a lot of good ideas. We tested in Vegas last week and we're pretty excited. We're looking forward to going back there to race."

Robin Pemberton - Miller Lite Ford of Rusty Wallace - "Las Vegas is a big, broad race track with a lot of racing room. I think everybody's setups will change dramatically from last year to this year because of the new air rules. It takes a lot of horsepower out there. In fact, it takes some of the best engines that you can build to run well on that race track."

HAVE YOU SEEN ANY EFFECTS OF THE NEW SPOILER AND FRONT AIR DAM HEIGHTS?

Jimmy Makar: "The original change at the end of last year hurt the balance of our car. We had to go home this winter and work on it a little bit to balance the car out front to rear. We tested at Vegas in January, and the car seemed to be well-balanced. It drove well and Bobby was pretty happy with it. We feel good about the cars, they seem to be fairly well-balanced."

Larry McReynolds: "There's no question about it, we saw it from the get-go last year in Atlanta when they went back up on the spoiler and down on the valance. There's a lot better side-by-side racing. The drivers seem to be able to be more aggressive. The speeds have crept back up a little bit, but not that much. In Rockingham, the pole speed was 10 or 12 hundredths of a second faster than what it was in October. "We were one of the teams that applauded NASCAR for trying to slow the cars down, but we were also one of the teams that performed a test for them with the five and five rule. We told NASCAR that the way to make these cars slow down was not to make them drive bad. But that's what they did, they made the cars drive bad. So, the drivers said 'the heck with it, I'm not running side- by-side with another car getting down in the corner'. And other than Daytona and Talladega, you can pretty much take a nap in the middle of the race knowing that nobody was going to pass anybody. But after the change late last year, we had a lot better racing at Atlanta, a lot better racing in Japan, and I'm pretty sure we're going to see a lot better racing in Las Vegas."

Todd Parrott: "Obviously the cars are requiring a little bit different chassis setup for the extra spoiler and air dam. But this makes it so the drivers can drive the cars. I think you're going to see a little bit better racing with these changes."

Robin Pemberton: "It'll be better once we get it figured out. The setups are definitely changed. I mean you can't run the same springs and shocks that you ran a year ago. So, once everybody gets it figured out, it will be a lot better in the long run." -30-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Mike Skinner