Rockingham: Jimmy Spencer preview

FAST FACTS · In 24 starts, Jimmy Spencer has posted only three top-10 finishes at Rockingham. · Richard Petty posted the last Dodge victory at Rockingham in the spring of 1977. · Felix Sabates has three car owner...

FAST FACTS

· In 24 starts, Jimmy Spencer has posted only three top-10 finishes at Rockingham.

· Richard Petty posted the last Dodge victory at Rockingham in the spring of 1977.

· Felix Sabates has three car owner victories at North Carolina Speedway.

· Spencer and Team Target tested at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

Jimmy Spencer, driver, No. 41 Target Dodge Intrepid R/T:

“ We had a two-day test at Rockingham. Considering where we are in the points, we thought we needed to make a serious effort into this deal of testing for the first three or four races. We had a pretty good test at Rockingham. We had a decent qualifying run and a decent race setup. We were there two days. We worked half days each day on qualifying and race setups. We wanted to make sure the weather didn’t play any tricks on us. It was fairly cold when we tested, and we’re thinking that’s the way it’ll be when we get back. If it’s warm, then that’s even better.

“ Rockingham is a great track for the fans. You need a balanced race car there, all four tires working together will usually prevail at that track. A car can be really fast for 20 laps and the next 40 it could be really slow. The car that starts out at a good pace, with equal balance on all four tires, he’ll be good as the day progresses, and he’ll have a shot at winning the race. That’s what we worked on. Andy Graves (team manager) and Doug Randolph (crew chief) and the guys kept working on shocks and trying to get the car into the race track with a real good balance. We feel pretty good about it.

“ I think certain places over the years have taught me that you have to save tires, and Rockingham is one of those places. We put some shocks on that I really like, and we were a lot faster. We were really fast. The longer we ran, the slower we ran. Then we started working on something similar to that and got a real good balance. Andy and Doug kept working and actually changed seven sets of shocks. We went through a lot of tires and found a pretty good combination. I think something I learned down there was just be patient with the tires and don’t abuse them. That’s easier said then done, but if you don’t abuse them, you should have a good day.

“ Starting up front or qualifying up front is important everywhere because of pit selection. Pit selection is more critical than starting up front. If you could get a good pit selection and start in the rear, it really wouldn’t matter at Rockingham. If you can be patient, 30 or 40 laps into the race

you’ll see cars running two or three tenths quicker than other cars. That’s normal at Rockingham. To me, I think you need to qualify in the top 20 at Rockingham, get a good pit spot. You hope you’ve got a good-handling car. It makes for a long day if you don’t.

“ There’s nothing wrong with the tires at Rockingham. The tires are good. It’s the track. The sand and abrasiveness of the track, Goodyear doesn’t come up with any bad tires. The track is just so brutal.”

-cgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmy Spencer , Richard Petty , Felix Sabates