JAMES INCE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: ON THE POSSIBILITY OF RAIN THE NEXT TWO DAYS "Rain is always a tough situation. It's a whole lot easier for everybody when we know going into the weekend that it's going to rain. I...
JAMES INCE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
ON THE POSSIBILITY OF RAIN THE NEXT TWO DAYS
"Rain is always a tough situation. It's a whole lot easier for everybody when we know going into the weekend that it's going to rain. I woke up this morning, looked at the weather and it looked like there was a pretty good chance that this morning's practice is all we're going to get, and it looks like tomorrow is going to be rainy. That kind of changes our game plan a little bit. But the thing we've got going for us is we had an extremely good car here the first race and we've got the same car back again now, so it's going to enable us to go try some different things in practice. If it doesn't work, I can just put the race car back like it was in June. We had a top five race car that could have won the race, but had a vibration, had to pit and got a lap down.
"It (the rain) definitely changes things a little bit. It just accelerates everything. Everything we do in practice, we're just going to do a little bit faster."
ARE YOU JUST BUILDING OFF OF YOUR JUNE NOTES?
"That's basically what we've tried to do all weekend. Unfortunately in qualifying, the things we tried didn't work out and we went backwards there. By having the same car here and working off the same notes -- it's the same tire, it's the same everything - we should just be able to make our car faster. That's probably more beneficial to us than guys who have brought different race cars here, if it does rain."
HOW CLOSE ARE YOU GOING TO WATCH THE WEATHER TOMORROW AND HOW MUCH DOES IT
"It's not going to change my strategy a whole lot. I feel like I'll have a pretty good idea when the race starts if it's going to rain or if it's not going to rain. Our goal is to get to the front of this thing and be leading it, whether it rains at halfway or whether we run the whole 400 miles.
"It's there in the back of your mind. As it gets closer it definitely affects your strategy. It seems like it's rained at Michigan several times and every time it rains, it's right around pit stop time. It's, 'OK, what do I do? Do I pit? Do I not pit? Boy, I've got to have fuel - if we ride around under caution will we run out of fuel?' So, that part of it is affected in the immediate, but that's not going to change our approach to the race. We're starting 22nd tomorrow and we're going to do everything we can to be leading the race."
WILL THERE BE A BIG SENSE OF URGENCY TO GET TO THE FRONT TOMORROW?
"There is a gigantic sense of urgency for us to get to the front. When we say that, a lot of that is keeping the race car out of trouble, but still getting it there.
"Yeah, we're in a panic. Right now, coming in here Saturday morning, we're in a panic to be leading by halfway tomorrow. That's what we're going to try to do."
HOW TOUGH IS IT TO MAKE THE DECISION WHETHER TO STAY OUT OR COME IN IF IT
STARTS RAINING AFTER HALFWAY?
"The easiest part for us, by far, is that we're a team unit here. The easiest part for me in a weather situation, regardless how the car is, is that Johnny [Benson] believes in me. I think we out-nerve everybody else. I think we might make a move in a rain situation that other people can't make for political reasons."
"I expect to have a really good car tomorrow. I just hope we can make the right decision, if it does rain, when it happens."
ON THE USE OF TELEMETRY BOXES
"The telemetry thing - I don't know enough about it. The part that disappointed me was that now I hear another car had trouble in Daytona. I hate that it took the '31' car burning [last week] for anybody to know that there was a problem. Those guys have surely done as good a job as they possibly can. But the reality of it is, these are the same telemetry boxes that FOX used earlier in the year - NBC is just using the same thing - and they've gotten age on them now. There is a lot of vibration that goes on in these race car and a lot of heat that goes on in these cars week-in and week-out. We have to totally rebuild our car every week. These guys are new to the systems they've got in the car and they've done a really good job only having two failures so far in the deal. I think it's going to enable them to make their stuff better later."
"For the sponsor, for us - those are things we like to run in the car. That's been a pretty neat deal for us all year to see that in the race car. It's helped everything out, but they've definitely got some work to do, I think, to make them better."
ARE YOU NERVOUS ABOUT GOING FORWARD WITH THEM?
"I'm not going to go forward with them for a while. Until somebody tells me I have to run them, there is no need for us to have them in the car. For us, it's too important for us to take the risk with what is going on there. I'm not fully educated on the deal - not as well as I'd like to be, probably. But if it happened once, it could happen again. If something catastrophic happens to our race car that we have done, we won't do it again. It's the same situation. We're not comfortable, for a while, putting them in the race cars just because of the 'what ifs.'"
YOU DO LIKE RUNNING THIS TYPE OF THING IN THE CAR?
"It's a neat thing. This is a fan sport. At the end of the day we've got to remember that we've got our little piece of the pie over here and we are racers and we want to win races, but this is definitely a fan sport.
"As hard as we all knock NASCAR all the time, if it wasn't for them, I'd be working in a factory for $7.95 an hour somewhere, so this is the greatest thing in the world that we've got going for us personally. Anything we can bring to the fans to make it better for them, I think is great. This kind of thing helps everybody involved that helps us be able to do what we love to do for a living."