Smaller fuel cell places bigger importance on teams at Talladega. DETROIT, Mich., Oct. 3, 2002 - Sunday's Winston Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway will be contested over the course of 188 laps on a 2.66-mile high-banked tri-oval. However, new...
Smaller fuel cell places bigger importance on teams at Talladega.
DETROIT, Mich., Oct. 3, 2002 - Sunday's Winston Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway will be contested over the course of 188 laps on a 2.66-mile high-banked tri-oval. However, new fuel cell regulations for this event will force cars to pit nearly twice as often, making a flat, 3,000-foot stretch of pavement known as "pit road" the most important piece of real estate on the property.
With fuel cells measuring an estimated 12.5 gallons, two-tire pit stops will be the order of the day. Crew chiefs, like Newt Moore, who calls the shots for Ken Schrader's No. 36 Pontiac, are expecting to see the race potentially decided on pit road.
Approximate average time to:
* Change four tires: 14.5 seconds
* Change two tires: 7.5 seconds
* Fill fuel cell at Talladega: 10 seconds
Estimated fuel mileage window:
* Sunday at Talladega: 28 to 32 laps
* Previous race at Talladega: 46 to 52 laps
Minimum number of pit stops needed:
* Sunday at Talladega: Between 5 and 6 (depending on mileage)
* Previous race at Talladega: Between 3 and 4 (depending on mileage)
Thoughts From Newt Moore, Crew Chief, No. 36 M&M's Pontiac Grand Prix:
HOW MUCH OF A PREMIUM WILL NO-TIRE AND TWO-TIRE PIT STOPS BE AT TALLADEGA THIS SUNDAY? "You'll see no more than two-tire stops every time. You won't see a four-tire stop.
"You'll alternate - rights, lefts, rights, lefts. At Talladega, you wear that left front tire out quite a bit, especially in the race. It'll wear the inside of that left front out big-time. We work with that to try to get it better and we've got it pretty good. But, it seems like it scrubs a lot of speed off if you run a lot of camber, so that's the trade-off. On a regular fuel run before [at Talladega] you could go probably two fuel runs, but then you've got to change lefts."
ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH A DIFFERENT RACE STRATEGY BECAUSE OF THE SMALLER FUEL CELL? "We've got a very good pit crew, so I feel like it's going to help us. The big thing is that [Ken] Schrader has got to get in and out of pit road and that is something that we've not been real good at. He's got to concentrate on that a lot more. We're probably going to end up changing the kind of gear we run, just so we can get off of pit road a little bit better.
HOW DOES THE DRIVER WORK ON IMPROVING HIS 'IN' AND 'OUT' LAPS DURING PIT STOPS? "He's got to do it during race day. We tell him what his times are versus what other guys have done. The computer will tell us everything, so you can really monitor where he's losing time. We do that every week to try to get on and off pit road as fast as you can.
"It's critical. He's got to get in to pit road and he's got to get off of pit road. We've definitely had issues with that this year, but we've worked on it quite a bit and we're getting better at it."
HOW IS YOUR PIT CREW PREPARING FOR THEIR HEIGHTENED ROLE THIS WEEKEND? "Basically, we've been working on two-tire stops and have just concentrated on them. We've tried to not put any more pressure on them or make them worry about it. We just want them to focus on what they have to do."