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FATBACK WON'T BE AT LAS VEGAS; LEN WOOD LIKES NEW AT-TRACK SCHEDULE Michael "Fatback" McSwain, crew chief of the ...


Michael "Fatback" McSwain, crew chief of the #21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Ford Taurus, won't be at the race track at Las Vegas this weekend, missing his second straight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event, as he continues to recover from back surgery. A couple of weeks ago, McSwain called the California race from his home in North Carolina, utilizing communications technology from series sponsors NEXTEL and Racing Radios.

MICHAEL "FATBACK" McSWAIN, crew chief on the #21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Ford: WILL YOU BE AT LAS VEGAS? "I won't be in Vegas so we'll be doing the same thing we did at California."

DID THE SET UP WORK WELL FOR CALIFORNIA? "It worked okay, probably as good as its gonna work not being there. It went pretty good. We tested there so that made it kind of easy. And, we've got a good team so that made it easier too."

HOW DID USING TRACK PASS WORK OUT? "I thought that worked good. It probably made it work out the best it possibly could. There is not that much of a delay. It worked good. We'll use the same communication set-up for Vegas, and Atlanta if I can't go there. I have to wait and see what the doctor says next week when I see him."

NASCAR began its new impound procedure following qualifying at California. NEXTEL Cup teams practiced on Friday, qualified on Saturday with all cars being impounded as soon as that car's qualifying laps are run. A different schedule, the one that's been used the last several years, will be in effect this weekend at Las Vegas. Wood Brothers Racing co-owner Len Wood talks about the two types of race weekend schedules.

LEN WOOD, co-owner Wood Brothers Racing #21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Ford: NOW THAT YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED A RACE WEEKEND WITH THE IMPOUND SCHEDULE, WHICH DO YOU LIKE BETTER? "So far I like the impound schedule. We have to do a lot of work earlier, which means we have to be better prepared when we leave the shop. We have to go through a full checklist before we load the car. It does create a little rush after practice before qualifying because that has to be the final check before the race. Now, when it comes to Atlanta and Bristol it will be different because we practice Friday afternoon and qualify that night. And the garage won't be open on Saturday. But, so far I like it."

IF THE IMPOUND SCHEDULE BECOMES THE NORM AT ALL TRACKS, WILL THERE EVER BE A TIME WHEN YOU CAN LOOK AT GOING FOR THE POLE OR WILL YOU ALWAYS BE CONCENTRATING ON RACE SET-UP? "It was obvious that Biffle was good all the way. He qualified fifth and won the race in California. Right now we are out of the top-35, but we have five races to get straightened around. Once we are back in the top 35, then the primary focus will be on the race. But there will always be focus on starting position at some tracks, especially at places where pit road position means more. Obviously, we want to do the best we can, but the race would now come first more than it would like at Vegas this week. We'll use the Friday practice to get ready for qualifying. When we tested at Vegas and Fontana in February we didn't do any qualifying runs. We did all race stuff. And when we practiced at Fontana we had to get the car ready to race. Hopefully, Vegas will let us know what we need to do at Atlanta and Texas and those type of tracks."


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Series NASCAR Cup
Teams Wood Brothers Racing