DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 Amoco Ultimate Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Blaney had the fastest Dodge and fifth fastest car overall in Saturday's final Happy Time practice. He qualified 29th and finished 11th here in June. "We started the first...
DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 Amoco Ultimate Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Blaney had the fastest Dodge and fifth fastest car overall in Saturday's final Happy Time practice. He qualified 29th and finished 11th here in June.
"We started the first practice this morning basically the way we ended the race last time. We weren't very good, so we changed the nose around a little bit and the body of the car around a little bit and widened it out a little bit and got more front down force. We changed the gear, and it really came to life. We ran fast and ran pretty good times for a dozen laps. I'm pretty happy with it. We could run a 55.20 about 12 laps into the run, and that's a really good thing. I think it's good enough to hang up front with tomorrow.
"We ran this car here last time, and it's been a good one. This is an older car, but it's got about the best body on it that we own. It's got a lot of downforce and it's balanced well. It's a friendly, forgiving car. They try to duplicate the car. They do everything they can, but they take 'em to the wind tunnel and there's big differences.
"We're pretty good in all three turns. We've got a good transmission setup. I've got to shift twice a lap, but I think it's working out well. If I just don't overdrive the corners, we'll be OK. That's the thing here. You've got to settle down and let the car do the work and don't get it in there too fast.
"For us, shifting helps keep the engine in the rpm range it likes. I'd like to not shift. That would be easier on me, but it seems like our engine likes to stay in a certain rpm range, so that's what we'll do. I heard that a lot of guys aren't shifting. I was surprised by that, but you do what your engine likes.
"No doubt, we're better now than we were when the season started. Doug Randolph (crew chief) and I are working a lot better together. I think we're gaining on knowing what to do with the cars, the new bodies and new engines. A lot of times it isn't showing up, but we're having our good days. Unfortunately, we're having bad days along with it. We'll just have to get those bad days slimmed down, and we'll be in good shape.
"You've got to get over the bad days and take what you learn and go on. We weren't very good last week at the beginning of the race and almost got a lap down from the start. A caution saved us. The run we crashed on, we were as fast as the leaders. We learned something about the car and what to do with it. We'll use that next time. It gets everybody down. It keeps knocking you back in the points. You have a couple of good runs and then it knocks you back, but that's the way it goes.
"The rule change for Indy will just change the balance of the car. We'll keep working with it. It'll give us more downforce on the front and in theory you'll be able to hook the back end of the car up harder and have a better hooked up race car. The more aero, downforce you can have, the better you are. It should help us when we learn how to use it. I don't know how much it'll affect our Indy test. We'll go back knowing what the car should act like with the nose and go from there.
"I think our car can run up front all day Sunday. If we don't make any mistakes and keep the car balanced all day, we could have a good one."
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"The car felt pretty racy yesterday, but I had to wait on it too long in the middle of the corner. The time before our qualifying run, we lost 300 rpm for some reason. Then we lost 400 rpm when we qualified. I think the motor was going down. Everything looked like it was OK, so we elected not to change it. We weren't going to run near as fast as we needed to anyway, but we would have been a lot better than we were.
"We still don't seem to have any power. The race setup is pretty good, but guys are eating us up down the straightaway. The car feels good. We've got it doing one thing now. The last time we were here it was doing three or four things. We'll work hard on it Sunday and hopefully have some luck at Pocono. We haven't had any luck at Pocono. As much as I love this race track, it seems like everytime guys wreck in the tunnel turn, I come through there trying to miss it and get run over, too. Maybe the Caterpillar Dodge will have some luck Sunday.
"We used the gear ratio the 93 team (Bill Davis Racing teammate Dave Blaney) used yesterday. That helped us out. If we could run a top 15 or better, that would be a good run. Right now, we've got to learn how to get back in the top 10. We've got to get the cars and motors better to be able to do it."