Tuesday, April 29, 2003. Dodge This Teleconference Jamie McMurray, Donnie Wingo California Recap, Richmond Advance DONNIE WINGO (Crew Chief No. 42 Havoline Dodge Intrepid) "The car we took to California was the same one we took to Texas ...
Tuesday, April 29, 2003.
Dodge This Teleconference
Jamie McMurray, Donnie Wingo
California Recap, Richmond Advance
DONNIE WINGO (Crew Chief No. 42 Havoline Dodge Intrepid)
"The car we took to California was the same one we took to Texas and ran at Rockingham. It's a car he really liked. So far this year, we had a good car at Vegas and those type race tracks we felt like we had a pretty good handle on. We made some improvements since Vegas. Going into that race, we felt like we were going to be good. I don't think we felt like we were going to be as good as we were, but the biggest thing we were really good on long runs and there at the end the short run just killed us.
"We had a pretty good history at that track and you've got to start the car out a little bit free and adjust on it all day. Every stop but one we were actually making small adjustments to free the car up a little bit. As the day went on, we were kinda glad we were doing that because the track did get tighter and tighter as the day went on. We tried to stay ahead of it by making small adjustments each stop.
"Basing off what we had done in Vegas with a similar setup there, the car started real good there and got super loose. The night before we were looking back at notes and looking at what we had done there. Basically we were running the same shock package there. I saw some things we had with the shocks and springs and I felt like we were going to put ourselves in that same position again if we didn't make some changes, so we made quite a few changes Sunday morning that we hadn't even tried in practice and all of them seemed to work.
"Jamie gives us really good feedback and the biggest thing is he knows what he wants to feel in certain areas of the race track and when he gets that feel he's good to go.
"As far as the pit box and pit area I would say the crew getting the job done is the biggest tool you've got on race day. Making the right adjustments and the scoring monitor, you can really see now versus what you used to have to do, you used to have to clock a lot of different cars. You can actually see the time difference now. That's what we'd tell him. When he'd start up front and fall back five spots, it would take 15-20 laps and after that he was three tenths quicker than anybody. That's what hurt us Sunday. We just weren't good enough on the short go.
"It probably has to a certain degree, probably more on the speedway stuff than the downforce because body wise this organization here is probably pretty close to what we were already running. Some of the other templates go, it took a little away here and there struggling with the bodies. I don't think it's been a struggle. I think we've made a lot of gains in the fab shop. Guys have been working hard over the last couple of months. That's one thing that's helped our performance.
"It was really bad because there were some long days just going through inspection. I think that was a deal where everybody had to open their eyes up and see that's the way it was going to be. They had to get the cars like they need to be before they get here. We pretty much go through a long process here where we put every template on the car every week. We know every area where we may have a little trouble, but we try to go every week fitting when it leaves the shop. That speeds your process up when you're ready to go practice.
"That's been good. We've done a lot of testing. Sometimes I may tell him he's getting in the corner too hard or he may need to wait a little bit longer on the gas or something like that. He picks up on things so quick. He adapts so well. Each race track you go to, it's really made it easy. It's like Martinsville. He's never raced there and he goes there and qualifies real well and he's sitting there running third or fourth in the race and we had a problem. He just adapts so well to each track we go to.
"I don't know if that's real good or not. You tear a car up and it takes so long to fix it. You need another car and you'd have trucks running back and forth. It would be hard on people. Just like this week we tested at Sears Point and raced at Fontana. We were gone a week. Everybody was ready to come home. You don't have that much time at home. If you went to the west coast and spent three weeks, personally I don't think that would be any better.
"I ain't got nothing bad to say about Jimmy (Spencer). We had some good years and should have won some races but we didn't. As far as comparing the guys, there's some differences there and there's some similarities, too. Jamie is young, gung-ho, he shows up there early in the morning. He's there when the crew goes in most of the time. It makes a difference on me and all the guys around the car. He's there and ready to go. We've got to make sure we've got all our stuff together and are ready to go, too. So far I've been pleased. It's a lot of fun.
"It's harder to slow a guy down. A lot of times, some drivers don't understand you can slow down and go a lot faster than you can when you're trying to go too hard. I'd rather have one you've got to slow down a little bit because I think he's ready to go. Just like testing at Sears Point this week. He'd never been to the place or seen the place and he goes out there and I thought we had a real good test. He never got off the race track. He's real focused on what he's doing.
"I think you'd have to do a total rebuild on the motors to go to something like that (unleaded fuel). I think at this point in time it would be really hard to do. The place is so big. You do get a big group of cars running together (at Sears Point) so it's like a train and I guess the guy running in the middle or toward the back would get more than the guy in the front. The cars are running tight at Sears Point. Jamie hasn't really complained about it a lot, but we really make sure we've got an area on the car where it's away from all the exhaust."