Pemberton - NASCAR teleconference, part 2

Continued from part 1 Q: You talked about moving forward, what does that mean? What kind of things will you start doing from this point on? ROBIN PEMBERTON: Well, moving forward, I don't know what specifically you're getting at. I think...

Continued from part 1

Q: You talked about moving forward, what does that mean? What kind of things will you start doing from this point on?

ROBIN PEMBERTON: Well, moving forward, I don't know what specifically you're getting at. I think that until we get through a full round of testing and at least a full round of races on on this car, I think we have to go in and probably go the extra measure of-- I think it refers to the fact that we've thought Indianapolis was going to take a normal path for us like it has in past years.

I think what we'll have to do is just put the extra effort forward and make sure that we do get everything, everything covered as it relates to what we're all talking about today which is tires and car. You know, I think the test policy moving forward for next year will be a little bit more liberal and will help us do that.

Q: Eight years it's been building, researching and developing the Car of Tomorrow. Where was Goodyear in all the process? How involved did you guys let them get?

ROBIN PEMBERTON: Well, Goodyear has been involved right along. I mean, their tire tests, they have been running load sensors at all their tire tests comparing last year or the old car compared to the new car. So they've been getting plenty of information on what it takes to develop a tire that's a little more durable and will handle the loads.

But when you look at Indianapolis, it's, yeah, the car loads up a little bit harder on the right-hand side. But at Indianapolis, the tire handled the load. The tire just could not handle the wear rate, and that's a little bit of a different situation.

Q: Just two quick things, ultimately, was it a lose-lose situation in regards to fans when you guys throw the competition caution, they don't like that racing. If you guys were to let them race and blow tires, again they'd be upset with that.

ROBIN PEMBERTON: Repeat the question again?

Q: Regarding the competition cautions being thrown. If you guys throw the cautions, the fans are upset. If you don't and tires get blown, the fans are upset at that as well

ROBIN PEMBERTON: Yeah. I mean, our goal -- we have to run the race and we have to run the safest race possible. When we're in situations that we think we have to take control under adverse set of circumstances, that's what we do.

At the end of the day it's about safety. I think that if we allowed the race to just run and have a caution fall naturally every time somebody had a tire issue or whatever it wound up being, I think you would have wound up with more cautions. You'd have probably wound up with more caution laps just to clean up the debris, as you've seen from Matt Kenseth's car and the extra debris that came from that and Juan's car.

To get ahead of it and to have the safest route possible, we had to take control and we had to do what we did. Let them run 10 or 11 laps at a time and let the caution fly.

Q: We all saw that, obviously, the track didn't rubber up and the tires turned into a very fine powder. Do you guys know specifically why that happened or what happened that was different from in years past?

ROBIN PEMBERTON: Yeah, that's where we're confused. We had an extensive call this morning with Goodyear, quite lengthy. They're looking into things to see if there is something. Right now the right sides -- it's the same compound. I was assured that it was the same compound that we had run there the last three races, basically. The left side was softer to help the driving part of the car and the construction was a little bit different.

It is something we have seen in the past, but I don't think we've seen the powder to that extent. We're still working on on it. We're trying to find out what was different, if anything, but everybody's pointing towards the fact that the rubber looked to be a little bit drier or a little bit dustier look. So we're going to look into it and find out, you know, exactly what it is.

Q: I am curious, are you worried as you go forward? Are you worried about Kansas?

ROBIN PEMBERTON: No, no, not at all. We've had good success with our mile-and-a-half race tracks. You know, I don't think we have any concern whatsoever. We haven't had any tire problems at any of our tracks this year.

Atlanta, we probably overshot them. I think the vast majority of drivers thought that the tire was too conservative there. Goodyear's gone back. I believe it was about a week ago, and they're done doing a test there in Atlanta to get that tire more grip.

So Indianapolis is a one offset of circumstances with the surface being as abrasive as it is, and it just goes back to not doing as a group not doing the best job that we probably could have to have a good tire there at Indy.

When you look at Kansas City, Chicago, and all the other places the rest of the year, there should not be any issues whatsoever.

Q: I noticed on TV on Sunday you were down on pit road. A, is that normal? B, when did you realize that you needed to get actively involved in things?

ROBIN PEMBERTON: A, it was not normal. I'll throw a 1a in there. It's not like I remembered it six years ago when I was stuck on pit road on a toolbox.

But we knew going into the race that I was going to go down when we started on the first competition yellow. And talked to some of the crew chiefs, get a good feel for what they thought the driver comments, things of that nature.

So I was down there at lap 8, and made a couple of visits during the race back up to the tower. Trying to communicate with Mike Helton and John Darby and myself what the crew chiefs were saying, what the drivers were relating to the crew chiefs. It's not normal. Normally I'm in the tower. It was definitely a different sort of day for me.

Q: NASCAR.com is reporting that Mexico City is off the schedule for next year's nationwide series. What is the reasoning behind that?

ROBIN PEMBERTON: Well, if that announcement's true which it hasn't been confirmed to me just yet. But through the years we go to different places. We've always gone. We've gone to Australia. We've gone to Japan. We've gone to Mexico.

I think Mexico, I don't think we've ever said that we would be there permanently. We went down there to establish, to help establish a new series down there, the Mexico Corona Series. And that series has taken off nicely. They built some new facilities, remodeled some, car counts are great. And their series has really, really gotten a good boost from the Nationwide cars being down there in Mexico City.

I don't think that we've ever been a real -- we're not going to be global, you know. But we'll race in and out of the United States occasionally. We've always done that. Done that for 20 years that I know of.

Q: My question is off the tires and on your experience. Can you comment on the impact of engineering and technology, the most important changes on NASCAR racing say in the past decade?

ROBIN PEMBERTON: The changes in technology in the last decade?

Q: Yes, and the influence.

ROBIN PEMBERTON: It's been incredible. And I think it's been the support of the manufacturers. I think when a number of years ago, the manufacturers had all the cool equipment. They had their own wind tunnels. They introduced teams to compliance, KNC rigs, they introduced the teams to Shaker Rigs 7 Posters.

I think as the sport has continued to grow, we've generated a lot of interest with our younger guys and gals coming along that are real car buffs that come along with their engineering degrees. I think they've been instrumental in encouraging their teams and team owners to make budgets available to put a lot of that equipment into or into the race teams and in house.

So many of the teams that you talk to nowadays they own their own 7 Post and Pulldown rigs and KNC rigs. Many of the teams have strong affiliates with wind tunnels.

The Haas Group, they've got their own wind tunnel, which they sell time to over here in Concord. Roger Penske has his own scale-model wind tunnel. I think Red Bull has used its own tunnel in Europe. I know the manufacturers have used many, many test facilities around the country.

So it's something that I think as the sport has grown we've had a really, really big influx of new, young, talented guys and gals out of college that have really taken this sport and pushed it very, very quickly along in the technology world. So it's just been a logical progression over the last ten years. It's grown immensely.

Q: How do you not beat yourself up personally on something like this? Or do you take it personal when an event goes like this?

ROBIN PEMBERTON: That's a personal question, and I'll be glad to answer it. Everybody takes it personal. There's a reason we're here. There's a reason Mike Helton is who Mike Helton is, and John Darby and myself and all the series directors.

You know, I've been in I think next year will be my 30th year in the cup garage. You know, I love this sport. We all love this sport. We take it personal.

I grew up a race fan, and only being able to watch tape-delayed broadcasts on Wide World of Sports or wherever it wound up being. We take it and it hurts us when we have a weekend like we've had.

There is nothing worse than coming away from a race and knowing that the result wasn't even close. It wasn't even close. It wasn't even in the 25 percentile of what we're capable of doing and what we do, week-in, and week-out.

So I don't feel real good about it right now. I think if you had talked to anybody that's been around me the last 48 hours, they'll probably back me up on that. It's difficult, it's hard. We do beat ourselves up.

But, you know, that's what makes us one of the best Motorsports in the entire world. We take it personal. When we see things we know we can fix, we're going to go fix them. That's what we're going to set out to do. We're going to put this behind us. When we go back to Indianapolis next year, we'll probably have the best brickyard race we've ever had.

DENISE MALOOF: Robin, thank you very much for your time this afternoon.

ROBIN PEMBERTON: Appreciate it.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Mike Helton , Roger Penske