GM Racing's Ray Smith interview

GM Racing continuing to put new Grand Prix through its paces. DETROIT, Mich., Oct. 30, 2002 - With the start of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season just three-and-a-half months away, teams and officials with GM Racing continue to polish the ...

GM Racing continuing to put new Grand Prix through its paces.

DETROIT, Mich., Oct. 30, 2002 - With the start of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season just three-and-a-half months away, teams and officials with GM Racing continue to polish the performance of the new Pontiac Grand Prix race car, which will debut in next year's Daytona 500.

Testing, both on-track and in the wind tunnel, has been steady since Pontiac unveiled the new Grand Prix in Indianapolis on Aug. 1. Teams have visited tracks like Kentucky Motor Speedway and Lowe's Motor Speedway with their 2003 machines and used those opportunities to learn more about intermediate and downforce configurations.

This week, GM Racing is putting the new Grand Prix and the redesigned version of the Chevrolet Monte Carlo to the test at Talladega Superspeedway. Testing began today and concludes on Thursday.

Thoughts From Ray Smith,
Busch and Pontiac Winston Cup program manager, GM Racing:

HOW HAS GRAND PRIX TESTING PROGRESSED SINCE THE CAR WAS UNVEILED IN AUGUST?

"The program is well along. There has been a lot of testing done - especially in the wind tunnel - and a lot more is going to be done. Some of the teams have been to Kentucky and some have taken their cars to Charlotte (Lowe's Motor Speedway).

"They had to make some modifications to our body pieces, after the fact, that we weren't expecting when the new templates came along. That kind of slowed the process down a little bit, but we're coming along."

ON THIS WEEK'S TEST AT TALLADEGA

"We asked NASCAR if we could have a date at Talladega for this purpose and these were the dates that looked like would work for most of the teams.

"NASCAR will be there to observe. We just wanted to see how the car runs with the restricted engine."

BASED ON WHAT YOU'RE HEARING, ARE THE PONTIAC TEAMS ON SCHEDULE WITH REGARD TO CAR CONSTRUCTION FOR NEXT YEAR?

"I think they feel like they're fine with it. Some of that will depend on how the test goes this week. But, everybody in the GM lineup seems to be coming along just fine with their stuff. I'm not hearing any negative. I'm hearing positives, especially from drivers, after they get a chance to test the new car, so I think everybody is pretty-well tuned up."

ARE YOU NERVOUS AT ALL ABOUT THE START OF NEXT SEASON APPROACHING, HOPING THE CAR COMPETES AS WELL AS YOU THINK IT WILL?

"No, not at all. I'm really confident. We've got great teams to work with and we had a great team that got us going in Joe Gibbs Racing.

"I'm not going to have any stomach aches over it. We're looking forward to it."

-gm racing-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing