Rockingham Crew Chief Club Preview

Crew Chief Club at the ACDelco 400 · Together, Jimmy Makar, Larry McReynolds, Todd Parrott and Robin Pemberton have led their drivers to 65 wins, 349 top-five finishes, 557 top-10 finishes and 65 poles prior to this Sunday's ACDelco 400 at ...

Crew Chief Club at the ACDelco 400

· Together, Jimmy Makar, Larry McReynolds, Todd Parrott and Robin Pemberton have led their drivers to 65 wins, 349 top-five finishes, 557 top-10 finishes and 65 poles prior to this Sunday's ACDelco 400 at North Carolina Speedway. · Makar and Bobby Labonte are the defending pole winners of the ACDelco 400. Labonte captured the Busch Pole Award (now Bud Pole Award) with a time of 23.565 seconds at an average speed of 156.696 mph. · Makar isn't the only member of the Crew Chief Club to have earned a pole at Rockingham's fall race. Parrott and Dale Jarrett placed their T-bird first on the grid in 1996, and Pemberton scored a pole with Kyle Petty in 1992 when the two were with Team SABCO. · The Crew Chief Club has notched two wins at "The Rock's" fall event. In addition to taking the pole for the 1992 ACDelco 500, Pemberton and Petty went on to win the race. In 1991, McReynolds chiefed the late Davey Allison to an ACDelco 500 victory. · Crew Chief Club members hold both the qualifying and race event records in Rockingham's autumn race. Parrott and Jarrett's pole-winning run of 23.291 seconds at an average speed 157.194 mph on Oct. 18, 1996 still stands. The event record that will forever stand is Pemberton and Petty's ACDelco 500 win on Oct. 25, 1992. Petty finished the 500-mile race in 3 hours, 49 minutes and 37 seconds. Now that the race is 100 miles shorter, no one will break Pemberton and Petty's mark. · In last year's ACDelco 400, the Crew Chief Club finished in the following order: Parrott/Jarrett Start: 2nd Finish: 2nd Status: Running McReynolds/Earnhardt Start: 26th Finish: 8th Status: Running Makar/Labonte Start: 1st Finish: 11th Status: Running Pemberton/Wallace Start: 18th Finish: 18th Status: Running

WHAT WILL YOUR RACE AND PIT STRATEGY BE AT ROCKINGHAM?

Jimmy Makar - Interstate Batteries Pontiac of Bobby Labonte - "Rockingham typically eats up tires pretty quick. It's a tire management type race track. Track position will be critical. Trying to maintain position up toward the front of the track and taking care of your tires and staying out of trouble is key. In the spring race we got into a wreck because we had a bad qualifying spot. It's important not to be in a pack of cars."

Larry McReynolds - Lowe's Home Improvement Chevrolet of Mike Skinner - "When I look at the last five or six races, Rockingham is probably a place where we'll have to work really hard on because I haven't been a part of a really good run there in a long time. And Mike really hasn't mastered Rockingham either, so it's probably a place where we'll have to work hard just to get a good qualifying run in on Friday. We'll work as hard as we can and make long runs on Saturday and just try to get ourselves dialed-in to the race track. I think it's a place where I've lost a handle on as far as the setup goes, and Mike's still searching for the right way to get around Rockingham. But the high point is that Charlotte was one of those places too, but it seemed like we halfway mastered Charlotte. We were going to be awfully good there until we got caught up in that wreck. Rockingham is pretty worn out, but it's still a nice track to run on. We enjoy going there, but it's hard on tires. Tire management - you've got to orientate yourself even though at the beginning of a green run you maybe can run faster, but you need to throttle back a little bit and pace yourself. That way you can maintain your speed during the entire run rather than using up your tires on your car at the beginning of a run. You can run up there like a hare, but you're going to be a tortoise by the end of that run." Todd Parrott - Ford Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Ford of Dale Jarrett - "Obviously, its not a fuel mileage place because you're going to run out of tires before you run out of gas. It's a lot like Darlington. We've got to have a pretty good handling race car because the race track is getting old. So the best handling cars are going to run up front. We run really well there and we're looking forward to going there."

Robin Pemberton - Miller Lite Ford of Rusty Wallace - "You want to get the car set up as soft as you possibly can in order to save the tires for the long haul. Pit strategy - you just roll the dice and do the best you can when the time comes. There's no gambling going on, but it's real important to take fresh tires every chance you can."

WITH JUST TWO RACES REMAINING ON THE WINSTON CUP SCHEDULE, IS IT A RELIEF TO BE SO CLOSE TO THE END OF THE SEASON, OR DOES THE PRESSURE INCREASE BECAUSE YOU HAVE JUST TWO RACES TO SHOWCASE YOUR TEAM'S ABILITY?

Jimmy Makar: "For us, it's a pretty high pressure situation, because from fourth to seventh in points is pretty open. All those guys are vying for that fourth spot. There's only like a hundred and twenty points between fourth and fifth. So its very doable for those in those point positions. We're fighting tooth and nail for that fourth position. Obviously, we'd like to get another win before the end of the season, so there's a lot of pressure we're putting on ourselves - especially going into Atlanta because of the success we've had there. We don't feel like anything less than winning the race will be good for us. It adds a lot of pressure."

Larry McReynolds: "I don't really feel any added pressure. We'd love to get this (No.) 31 Lowe's team a win and a pole, but if we don't do that we're still proud of what we've gained during this last half of the season and we're trying to build that momentum toward 1999. For the first time in a long time, I'm kind of hating to see the season end. Now, I'm a little bit tired. I don't mind telling you, and I think everyone in this garage area is tired. It's been a long year leading into 16 races in a row because of the smoke-out in Daytona. And a lot of teams, including the Lowe's team, are going to Japan two weeks after Atlanta. So I think from that standpoint we're all looking forward to it ending. But because we do seem like we're running awfully good, sometimes you hate to see something like the end of the year break that momentum. But we'll just have to work hard this winter to keep that momentum."

Todd Parrott: "It's a relief. It's been a long season and we've been working awfully hard all year long to get all these Tauruses done. It looks like we're in pretty decent shape with them right now. We're just really looking forward to it being over with."

Robin Pemberton: "There's added pressure because we haven't won but once this year even though we've run well all season. We're fourth in points and the team hasn't given up. They're putting a great effort in. In Phoenix we had a brand new car, and in Rockingham and Atlanta we might have a brand new car or a car with only one race on it. There is added pressure and there's some frustration that things haven't gone our way at least a couple times during the year. I mean, Phoenix of course helped alleviate a lot of that. But there's not a relief at the end of the year because we're already working on next year. They all kind of run together"

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Mike Skinner , Kyle Petty