NEWLYWEDS ESCAPE TO POCONO The crew chief and key personnel swap, announced Tuesday, has the No. 82 and 83 teams reenergized and refocused. It was a seamless transition entering a track where communication is key because Pocono Raceway can cause...
NEWLYWEDS ESCAPE TO POCONO
The crew chief and key personnel swap, announced Tuesday, has the No. 82 and 83 teams reenergized and refocused. It was a seamless transition entering a track where communication is key because Pocono Raceway can cause some sleepless nights. Hitting the right setup there is tough, to say the least.
But as No. 82 driver Scott Speed, now paired with crew chief Ryan Pemberton, noted there was "more life and drive with everyone having to meet and work with new people." No. 83 driver Casey Mears echoed the same sentiment, saying he and Jimmy Elledge "learned a lot this weekend to get us going in the right direction." Mears and Elledge worked together from 2003-05 at Chip Ganassi Racing.
"Sometimes, it's just a little change in chemistry," said Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing Team's vice president and general manager. "The crew chief and driver dynamic is very different than any other sport. Now Casey has the comfortable voice in his ear. He knows this. Now maybe with Scott a different voice in his ear everyday will help him get to the next level, too. There's really no downside to what we're doing. It's completely an upside."
In Sunday's Gillette Fusion 500, both Red Bull Toyotas encountered trouble.
Speed had climbed to as high as seventh with 30 laps to go before brushing the outside wall. The damage was minimal and didn't require a pit stop, but the car's handling was never the same. He lost more than a dozen spots on a lap-179 restart and dropped outside the top 30.
Mears had a run-in with another car, as contact with the No. 19 caused his No. 83 to make an unexpected trip through the infield grass. He made three pit stops from laps 159-164 to check for damage and clean the nose, and soon got the free pass to return to the lead lap.
Then all hell broke loose on the white-flag lap of overtime. Kasey Kahne's car went careening into the outside wall to collect at least eight others. Not collected in the mess, however, were Speed and Mears, who with the help of their respective spotters - Tim Fedewa and Chris Lambert - slowed down and drove through.
When the dust settled, NASCAR scored Speed in 20th for his best finish in three Pocono starts and sixth top 20 this season. Mears finished where he started, in 23rd. Speed remained 26th in the driver standings - 152 points out of 20th. The No. 83 slipped to 24th in the owner standings.
Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400, Sunday, June 13, Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich.