Texas: No. 20 Team statement on template issue

Home Depot Racing: Zipadelli and Stewart comments regarding Template issue with ...

Home Depot Racing: Zipadelli and Stewart comments regarding Template issue with #20 Car at Texas Motor Speedway.

FORT WORTH, Texas (March 28, 2003) - While presented for inspection prior to the first practice for Sunday's Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, NASCAR officials found that the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet did not conform to the specified templates mandated by NASCAR. The issue arose at the rear of the car, specifically the area encompassing the greenhouse and decklid.

Tony Stewart's car confiscated by NASCAR.
Photo by Michael C. Johnson.

As a result, NASCAR impounded the car, forcing the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Team to pull the backup car from the transporter and use it for the rest of the race weekend. The car now being used by the #20 team for the Samsung/RadioShack 500 is Chassis No. 75. It is a brand new chassis. A car from the Joe Gibbs Racing facility in Huntersville, N.C., is currently en route to Texas Motor Speedway to be used in the event another backup is needed.

The following are quotes from crew chief Greg Zipadelli and driver Tony Stewart regarding the day's events:

GREG ZIPADELLI , crew chief on the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet:

"There's a measurement between the offset of the decklid and the roof, and it wasn't exactly where it needed to be. It's something that they check back on the plates (at the race shop) as we're building the car. Obviously, they didn't check it close enough. When they put the back window in, it seemed to change the measurement an awful lot. It's something (NASCAR) didn't like. There's a rule on it, so I don't have much to stand on. I'm disappointed with the people at the shop, because it's a measurement that's pretty cut and dry. We've done well with it this year. We haven't had any issues or anything like that. We've just got to deal with it and move on. We unloaded the backup car and we're just trying to play catch-up right now. It's nobody's fault but our own. We're working hard on some procedures in going through some templates and things like that before (the car) comes to the track to make sure we're where we need to be so that we don't have to go through the inspection room more than once. Things have been going fairly well. This was just as big a shock to me as it was to the people at NASCAR.

Press conference with Greg Zipadelli.
Photo by Michael C. Johnson.

"The car we have now is set up really similar to the car we had. We put our backup motor in, which is only a couple horsepower off of what we had in the primary. We just changed a lot of things. There were a few little things that we weren't able to change. Are they worth anything? I don't know. They were nothing huge, just little things. We'll try to change the rest of the car over after qualifying. We needed to get a couple of laps on the race track during practice before qualifying. It's just disappointing. We had a rough week last week (at Bristol, Tenn.), but everyone was still pretty pumped up because we ran well here last year. But we've got to work a little harder now to overcome this deal this weekend. We'll race well, but this has got everyone kind of down. It's a distraction is the biggest thing. But it's self-inflicted, so we've got no one to blame but ourselves.

"We called the shop and had a motor put in the car that we ran Atlanta with, set it up and scaled it with what we're going to start the race with, and it's on its way out here right now. They just left at 3 o'clock (EST). It'll be here tomorrow morning at 7 o'clock or something. So we'll have a backup that's prepped and ready to go if, unfortunately, we have a problem in race practice. We're just doing everything we can to try and carry on. It's just a bunch of extra work for the guys here. I appreciate it because it certainly wasn't their fault, by any means."

TONY STEWART , driver of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet:

"The cars all look the same from where I'm sitting. I've got three things that I'm in control of - a steering wheel, the shifter and the pedals. I've got everything I need to do the job I need to do with the car we've got now. All of our cars are good, whether they're a primary or a backup."


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing