Roush Racing's Richert talks testing

Richert Talks Testing Concord, N.C. (July 14, 2004) -- No, Doug Richert hasn't taken to handing out pop quizzes to the crew during breaktime at the shop on Monday morning. There are no No. 2 pencils, no bubbles to fill in and no essays in the ...

Richert Talks Testing

Concord, N.C. (July 14, 2004) -- No, Doug Richert hasn't taken to handing out pop quizzes to the crew during breaktime at the shop on Monday morning. There are no No. 2 pencils, no bubbles to fill in and no essays in the tests he's talking about. There is, however, a little math, a little engineering, a little creative thinking and maybe even a little "driver's ed" involved.

The tests that the No. 16 National Guard team studies for now take place at racetracks and last one or two days. As a matter of fact, they just returned from their most recent test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where they tested two days with two cars for the August 8th event at the 2.5-mile racetrack.

"The Indy test went well," said Richert. "We took two different styles of cars and were able to find which one best suited Greg's driving style. Then we were able to able to play with a few things that you don't really have time to test in a two-hour practice session on race weekend. The body style of the car we chose is similar to the car we took to California and Chicago and had pretty good luck with."

During any given season, the NASCAR Nextel Cup teams are allowed only five two-day test sessions and four one-day test sessions at tracks on the current schedule. Since everyone tests at Daytona in January, that leaves only four two-day tests for the remainder of the season. When asked why he chose to use one of them for Indy, he explained that it is because of the uniqueness of the track.

"We chose to test at Indy because it is a big, flat type of track and the corners are very unique," said Richert. "Setting the car up for the first part of the corner versus the second part of the corner is slightly different because of the configuration. That is one thing that sets it apart from a lot of the other tracks we go to and keeps you from being able to use notes from those other tracks."

Teams get practice sessions every week before they go out for qualifying or take the green flag on raceday, so why spend so much time at a track testing for just one race?

"During a test we can try more than a couple of things and we can do it in a more controlled environment," said Richert. "If we hit on something that works, we can keep moving forward with it where you don't really have time to do that during practice on a race weekend.

"We also are able to put a lot of data sensors on the car and acquire a lot more information about the performance of our cars in general than we can on a race weekend. We can measure things like the roll of the car, the pitch of the car, the RPM traces, the shock travel, the frame travel, how much brake the driver uses and how much he's on the gas."

Well, there you have it. A new way to look at testing where knowledge is obtained from a 3,400 lb. racecar rather than a 3.4 lb. textbook. Be sure to tune in to the Brickyard 400 on NBC, Sunday, August 8th at 2 pm ET and watch Greg Biffle and the National Guard team use their knowledge to pass with flying colors.

Roush Racing is a subsidiary of Livonia, Mich., based Roush Industries that operates nine motorsports teams; five in NASCAR Nextel Cup with drivers Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Greg Biffle, two in the Busch Series with Martin, Burton, Kenseth and Biffle, and two in the Craftsman Truck Series with drivers Jon Wood and Carl Edwards.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Matt Kenseth , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Jon Wood , Doug Richert , Mark Martin