...ON THE POSSIBILITY OF RUNNING RESTRICTOR PLATES AT NEW HAMPSHIRE MARK CRONQUIST, ENGINE BUILDER, JOE GIBBS RACING: (HOW WILL RESTRICTOR PLATE ENGINES AFFECT RACING AT NEW HAMPSHIRE?) "The only thing I can think of that it's going to do is...
...ON THE POSSIBILITY OF RUNNING RESTRICTOR PLATES AT NEW HAMPSHIRE
MARK CRONQUIST, ENGINE BUILDER, JOE GIBBS RACING:
(HOW WILL RESTRICTOR PLATE ENGINES AFFECT RACING AT NEW HAMPSHIRE?) "The only thing I can think of that it's going to do is slow the straightaway speeds down and pick up the corner speeds. I think since drivers will have less motor they're just going to drive into the corner farther. If the throttle sticks, it's just going to be that much sooner that they're going to hit the wall. I don't understand why they're going with less horsepower because all you're going to do is drive into the corner further.
"You're definitely going to go slower down the straightaways, but NASCAR says they're also going to be going slower if they hit the wall. You're not going to enter the corner as fast as you would if you had a normal amount of horsepower, which makes sense. But I still think we need to fix the problem that nobody can figure out, and that's 'why the throttles are sticking.'
"Cutting the motors down, that's a lot of work for one racetrack for hopefully just one year, I hope. I hope we don't have to keep building plate motors. If we do that, then we need to build plate motors everywhere."
(DOES HE THINK THERE IS A BETTER SOLUTION?) "I think the stuff they're doing with throttles this weekend and with brake sensors and stuff, I think that needs to be looked at more than the motor part of it because, still, the reason they hit the wall is because the throttle stuck, not because they had too much horsepower. The throttle sticking is what makes them hit the wall."
(HOW WILL THIS CHANGE THE WORKLOAD FOR THE TEAM?) "It will take all of us - 23 of us - and we'll probably work Sunday, Monday and Tuesday pretty late. We'll have guys working Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday just to try to get stuff done. Wednesday morning we have to load the truck. We usually don't work Saturdays or Sundays, but anybody that's not at the racetrack will be back working.
"Luckily, we're about two weeks ahead of ourselves right now, so whatever time we lose here isn't going to be real bad. Right now, we're pretty much trying to build stuff for Charlotte. Where this puts us behind is on Talladega stuff because the guys that work on plate stuff are now working on this instead of Talladega."
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 AARON'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(WHAT DOES HE THINK OF THE RULE?) "It'll be interesting. I don't know what to really think. We needed to come up with something. Hopefully they'll put up the walls and do everything, just in case. I think everybody is probably getting enough pressure that something had to be done. It will put us in the same horsepower range that a Busch car is, so it will be interesting to see how things work out up there."
(HOW WILL IT CHANGE THE ENTRY INTO THE CORNER?) "It will slow the entry down. It will slow times down overall, but it will actually pick up in the center of the corners. We're going to have to make time up somewhere.
"I just think we're in a deal right now where everybody is searching for answers, 'What's the best way to go? What's not the best way to go?' You don't know unless you start trying things and putting things in place. We'll run it and we'll say, 'That was a good idea,' or we'll say, 'No, that was a bad idea. Let's look for something else.' We've got to support the direction that they're running and go on with it.
"It will be interesting. You're not going to make everybody happy no matter what we do, unless we rectify the problem to start with. We need to fix the throttle areas from hanging up. That's where the problem is. I don't believe it's a problem with the walls, I don't believe it's a problem with the racetrack or the race car.
"I'm just glad something is being done, and I hope that they still put something up on the wall. And not just in turn three. It needs to be in turns one and two, also. It needs to be on both ends of the racetrack. And not just New Hampshire. Everybody is picking on New Hampshire and I don't think that that's the only place. We need to open our vision up on some things. Maybe we're at a point where we need to look at the cars and put a little bit more crushability back in the cars again, instead of being so stiff. I don't know. I think there are a lot of things being looked at. Maybe putting a restrictor plate on the car at this point in time is something that will help lead us to other areas and it's just giving us a small safety net to work in while we search.
"If the answer was easy it would have been fixed a long time ago. Well, the answer is not easy. Everybody is doing what they can and doing everything possible. It's a very tough situation that everybody is in - not just NASCAR, not just the racetrack, but the drivers and the crews and the owners. Everybody as a group is aware that we need to fix something. Hopefully the answer will be right."