Scott Eggleston joined Morgan-McClure Motorsports as the crew chief during the Pocono 500 race weekend at Pocono Raceway in June. The upcoming Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono will be Eggleston's sixth week with the team. Kevin Lepage's first start...
Scott Eggleston joined Morgan-McClure Motorsports as the crew chief during the Pocono 500 race weekend at Pocono Raceway in June. The upcoming Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono will be Eggleston's sixth week with the team. Kevin Lepage's first start with the No. 4 KODAK MAX Film Monte Carlo was on March 25 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Lepage worked ten race weekends with David Ifft, Morgan-McClure's former crew chief.
<B>Is it important to return to tracks you have worked together as a team?
"It is huge. We are taking a new car, the one we ran at New Hampshire, to Pocono. We have notes to build on from our June visit to Pocono. Scott had just joined the team.
"The team can take what we have learned and begin implementing the information into each race now. It takes time to learn the likes and dislikes of everyone involved. Every driver, crew chief, car owner and team member are different. It just takes a little time to become acclimated to one another."
"After we have visited a track once as a team, we learn a lot about it. I am trying to implement other things into the equation as well. There are certain things that I am accustomed to and Larry has been good about letting me make changes at the shop.
"The team is visiting tracks for the first time not only with me, but with Kevin also. The more everyone works together the better the results will become."
<B>Is it more difficult stepping into roles with a team after the season starts, missing out on valuable test sessions during the off season?
"Absolutely. If you look at the teams that are top-15 in points, most of them have been together at least one year. The teams that are consistently top-10 in the points have been together for awhile.
"The No. 4 team has gone through some major transformations during the past year. New crew chiefs, new drivers and new cars are changes the team has made. These are significant hurdles to overcome in a short period of time, even for a top-caliber team like Morgan-McClure.
"The pressure is much greater to join a team after the beginning of a season. Obviously, a new driver wants to improve performance as much as possible. All of us would like a quick fix, but in reality it takes time to get all of the variables into place in a new situation."
"Joining a team once the season has begun is more difficult. The luxury of utilizing the off season for test sessions and organization has been thrown out. Learning about what makes a driver click or the positive and negative team aspects is accelerated into a much shorter period of time."
<B>Talk about the importance of chemistry and communication within a team.
"We are trying to work hard at gaining as much knowledge about one another as we can in a limited amount of time. For instance, when I say the car is a "little loose" to Scott, he has to try to determine if I mean one round of wedge loose or five rounds of wedge loose.
"The solution to what I call loose or tight might be completely different than what a driver he has worked with in the past thought was loose or tight. It is up to me to try to communicate to Scott and Larry and the crew what the car is doing so they can adjust it. Once we learn each other, it will be easy.
"Chemistry is an overlooked factor. One driver might click with a team and be very successful, while another driver might not turn in a top-ten finish with the same team and the same set of circumstances. Communication and chemistry are important to the success of a team."
"Communication and chemistry are very important elements for the success of a team. Definitely they are essential.
"It is difficult to learn what a driver wants in the beginning. Spending more time with a driver and crew and working with them more helps. The longer a crew chief works with a driver, the better he understands him.
"The only way for me to gauge what Kevin means when he says the car is doing this or that is to look at lap times. I do not know him well enough yet to determine how far to go with adjustments if tells me the car is tight or loose or whatever. He might mean it is off a little and assume I know that. I might go too far in the adjustments thinking the car is worse than it is.
"If our lap times are way off, then we make major adjustments. If the lap times are only a little off, then we make little adjustments.
"I can listen to his voice and tell how much help he needs. Other times, like after practice, I can look at his face and determine the circumstances. It is not something that happens overnight."