Pontiac teams prepare for second race with extended air dam. DETROIT, Mich., Aug. 28, 2002 - Pontiac Grand Prix teams are heading to Darlington Raceway this weekend hoping an additional one-half inch of "kick-out" on the air dam will give them...
Pontiac teams prepare for second race with extended air dam.
DETROIT, Mich., Aug. 28, 2002 - Pontiac Grand Prix teams are heading to Darlington Raceway this weekend hoping an additional one-half inch of "kick-out" on the air dam will give them an equal opportunity for a third Darlington win in the last six races.
Sunday's race will be the second event in the past three that has utilized the new air dam measurement. The first was at Michigan International Speedway two weeks ago. In that 400-miler, Grand Prix driver Johnny Benson and his crew chief, James Ince, made the most of the assistance and the day, charging from 35th to eighth for their third top-10 finish of the 2002 season.
Thoughts From James Ince, Crew Chief, No. 10 Valvoline Pontiac Grand Prix:
DID THE RULE CHANGE HAVE AN IMPACT AT MICHIGAN, IN TERMS OF MAKING YOU MORE COMPETITIVE? "I think it was definitely an impact. It was a step in the right direction. The only thing we're disappointed about is that we wish NASCAR would have pulled the other guys back, instead of pushing ours out. It's just a situation here for us where we're going here race-to-race - and NASCAR is doing a good job of evaluating that - but, that affects our setups, our springs and our shocks and everything we do.
"Darlington is a place where downforce is an issue, but it's not nearly the issue there that it is at Michigan and Charlotte and these bigger places. Handling is more important at Darlington. The 'aero-push' won't be as big an issue at Darlington because it is a tougher-type racetrack.
"We're tickled to death to have it. It's something that brings us closer to what the other cars are, and there is no way we're going to complain about that. We appreciate that NASCAR has looked at that and is trying to get the cars closer together. But, it's a tough deal when you're going week-to-week right now. We're cutting up cars every week. It's not helping us to plan for the rest of the year and that part of it is pretty frustrating."
HAVE YOU WIND-TUNNELED THIS NEW CONFIGURATION? "We're actually going to be in the wind-tunnel today and tomorrow, seeing what we've got there. The hardest part is, we know it's better -- we need to understand how much the balance of the race car is - but, as we're preparing for these races we're trying to get through the rest of the year with a certain amount of race cars and trying to be building cars for next year at the same time. Any time it's a week-to-week situation you're in there in the fab shop on the week that you're going, cutting your race car up as opposed to being able to have them painted, sitting in your shop. It's made our workload a little bit harder. It's one of the things that is worth making our workload harder for, but it is frustrating to be in the middle of a 20-race stretch and then make things a little more difficult."
KNOWING YOU DIDN'T HAVE THE KICK-OUT IN MARCH AT DARLINGTON, DOES THIS OBSOLETE OR JUST ALTER YOUR SETUPS FROM THAT RACE? "It definitely alters it. Darlington and Rockingham, from the setup standpoint, are the two hardest racetracks because they are the farthest apart. We go there early in the spring and now we're going back. They are places you don't want to forget about. They're important racetracks. But, it's been so long since we've been on that style of racetrack that it's already extremely difficult without adding in a new rules change.
"But again, it's a positive change. It's something that we want, so we'll just deal with it. But, it will definitely impact the setup some."