Darlington test gives Grissom confidence DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 18, 1997) Driver Steve Grissom and the Kodiak team are putting special emphasis on this week's TranSouth Financial 400 at the famed Darlington Raceway, and for good reason. It...
Darlington test gives Grissom confidence
DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 18, 1997) Driver Steve Grissom and the Kodiak team are putting special emphasis on this week's TranSouth Financial 400 at the famed Darlington Raceway, and for good reason. It was the one event all last season for which they failed to qualify.
"There's not another track on the circuit like Darlington," said Kodiak crew chief Charley Pressley. "You can't compare it to any other track, so the set-up has to be strictly Darlington-oriented. We definitely needed to get some testing in, and we did that last week for a few days. We feel like the tests really helped us. We feel like we made some gains on it, and that makes us think we can have a pretty good run this week. Any time you test, you come away feeling more positive. That's especially true for Darlington.
"The egg-shaped configuration makes the track unique. Even though they changed the Start/Finish Line around to the other side last year, the track didn't change. You have the wider turns in (Turns) 1 and 2 now and the short, narrow turns in (Turns) 3 and 4, but that's still hard to set a car up for, the different degrees of turn at each end. And the lanes are not wide at Darlington. They never have been. So the car has to be set up as good as you can get it for what the driver wants, so he can get the handling he needs at both ends. Sometimes you have to compromise, but you do the best you can."
Grissom posted his best finish of the 1998 season at Atlanta Motor Speedway two weeks ago, placing 16th after starting 40th. That finish enabled Grissom to climb four spots in the current standings, from 32nd to 28th after four races, and he and the Kodiak Team are intent on producing an even better finish this week.
At Darlington, Grissom will be behind the wheel of the same No. 41 Kodiak Chevrolet that he raced at Las Vegas three weeks ago and at Atlanta.
"It's a car we ran some last year that I feel really comfortable in," Grissom said.. "That gives me more confidence, knowing we've got a solid, stable car, one we've run pretty strong with in the past. We were glad to get the chance to test at Darlington last week. It definitely was no fun going home before the race last year, so we're really focusing on making a much better effort this time at Darlington.
"We feel like we learned some things in the test sessions that will help us this week, so we're very positive about making a good run. Darlington is still Darlington. You've got be on your toes the whole race, and work on racing the racetrack, not the competition. When it gets down towards the end of the race, and if you're in a position to contend for the victory, then you can start worrying about the competition.
"At Darlington, the leader really dictates everything. If the tires start falling off quickly -- and they can at that track -- and the leader decides to pit, you almost have to do the same thing about the same time. Track position is really important. You take a big gamble there if you get out of sequence too much. Things can happen fast on that track, and you've got to be alert to what's going on at all times."
The Kodiak/Larry Hedrick Motorsports Team also took the race car they expect to run at Bristol to Darlington to shake it down a little for the race coming up after Darlington. They also brought a brand new No. 41 Kodiak Chevrolet Monte Carlo to Darlington to get some break-in laps on that one for races further down the road.
"You try to take advantage of every test session. It never hurts to try to prepare yourself well in advance for what's coming up," Pressley said. "If you can get a better read on what you need to do before you go to that track for an actual race weekend, the better off you'll be in the long run. And if you can work in some extra laps on other cars, adjusting, changing things, finding out what the car is capable of, or what it needs to be more competitive, that's good too."
Source: NASCAR Online