Pontiac Racing Atlanta II Ince, Moore interviews

JAMES INCE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: ON THE USE OF HELMETS BY PIT CREW MEMBERS "What we're faced with is a situation where accidents are going to happen. You're going to have that, so by Daytona next [February] our guys...

JAMES INCE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:

ON THE USE OF HELMETS BY PIT CREW MEMBERS "What we're faced with is a situation where accidents are going to happen. You're going to have that, so by Daytona next [February] our guys will wear helmets on the pit crew. For right now, we're not going to rush out and react just to react. We ordered a bunch of helmets this week; we're looking at a lot of different things. "We want to make sure the guys are comfortable. If we had brought them down here, stuck helmets on their heads without practicing, that could have created something more dangerous than not having a helmet on. "The biggest thing I would like to see - and for sure, I'm not pointing the finger at what happened last week because it was just an example of "accidents happen" - but, there are guys in these race cars on pit road week-in and week-out that dive at crew members to try to give themselves an advantage getting in and out of the pits. They need to understand that it's not just your teammates that you need to worry about; it's other people's teammates, too. I think every driver out there has been guilty of that at some point. But, hopefully last week raised some awareness for everybody that pit road is a dangerous place for other people. It's not just dangerous for race car drivers on the racetrack. It's also dangerous for the guys that go over the wall."

SHOULD IT BE MANDATED? "I don't think anything needs to be mandated. You sign a release - what more do you want? When I walk up and sign my release on Friday, I know what I'm signed up for.

"I think it's a good thing for us as teams to make things available for the guys. For NASCAR to make it mandatory in the rules, that may be overkill. We're going to go make it mandatory for our teams.

"The problem I see when you make things mandatory is that it cuts down development. It cuts off the opportunity for something to come along later that is better. If you come in and say, 'You have to wear this type of helmet,' or, 'You've got to use this type of thing,' then that closes off the technology of the future.

"I feel like with what everybody saw last week, I think there are going to be a lot of people that will look into this. I have a feeling that most teams next year will be doing it on their own. But, mandating? I think we've got a lot of other things going on right now and I'm not sure that this is something that anybody needs to say, 'You've got to do that.'

WHAT IF YOU FIND OUT THAT WEARING HELMETS SLOWS DOWN YOUR PIT STOPS AND PUTS YOU AT A COMPETITIVE DISADVANTAGE? "I would rather leave the racetrack every Sunday afternoon with the complete group of people that I walked in with Sunday morning and finish 15th instead of winning, if it's going to come to something like that. We've gotten to the point in this sport that that's what we've got to realize and what we've got to go do.

"With the technology that's out there, it's not going to slow down pit stops, once you practice pit stops [with them]. I was very impressed with some of the manufacturers' helmet that I saw this week. They've really put some thought into what is out there. The Cal Wells guys have proven that you're not going to go out and have 17-second pit stops. They're down in the 13- and 14-second range like everybody else.

"All that might do is give certain people excuses, but I don't really see it affecting performance."

NEWT MOORE, CREW CHIEF, NO 36 M&M'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:

ON THE USE OF HELMETS BY PIT CREW MEMBERS "We've got helmets for our guys right now, but I don't think we're going to wear them. Just because three guys got hurt - we should look at it now; we should have looked at it a long time ago. I'm not going to go put them on their heads now just because we're worried. Indy is lot narrower pit road than what we had last week. We had a good pit road; guys just got run into. It's going to happen. You hear about guys getting hit a lot of times. We've just got to be careful.

"We're ready to do it. We just haven't practiced with it enough yet to do it now. We'll do it next year, but we're going to practice. We've got a very good pit crew and we're not going to take any chances by throwing helmets on them and getting them all messed up. The guys elected not to worry about it the next two races. We might have them at Loudon if we get a chance to practice some more, but I doubt it."

-Pontiac Racing-

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Series NASCAR Cup