Hendrick Motorsports teams to remember Dan Lohwasser on Raceday. Each Hendrick Motorsports car, driver and crew member (Nos. 24, 48, 5, 25) will wear a decal on raceday in memory of Dan Lohwasser, who lost his lengthy battle with cancer on July...
Hendrick Motorsports teams to remember Dan Lohwasser on Raceday.
Each Hendrick Motorsports car, driver and crew member (Nos. 24, 48, 5, 25) will wear a decal on raceday in memory of Dan Lohwasser, who lost his lengthy battle with cancer on July 31 at the age of 53. Lohwasser was the Marketing Director for Hendrick Motorsports.
Before joining Hendrick Motorsports in 1998, Lohwasser was a reporter for the Raleigh News and Observer, UPI and the Charlotte Observer. In 1986 he joined Muhleman Marketing, where he worked closely with Rick Hendrick, who was a client and a personal friend.
The decal says: "In Loving Memory Dan Lohwasser From your Hendrick Motorsports Family."
MIKE SKINNER, NO. 4 KODAK FILMS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (spun into the sand in this morning's first practice; helped work to repair the car):
"Our Kodak Monte Carlo was handling really good and we just couldn't seem to get the speed out of it, so I was driving further and further and further in the corners, and I finally went into the chicane over there and hit the brakes. The brake pedal had been fading on me and I was having to pump it. When I hit it the brake pedal went down and when I pumped it it slid the front wheels. There was no turning into that thing (the chicane). We went across it instead of around it, and got in the sand a little bit. We were real fortunate. I got the thing turned around backwards and powered it to where it didn't end up in the big foam barriers and tore it all to pieces. We just bent the nose a little bit on it, so I felt if I could help tear it up I could help fix it. It's one of those things. We've only got a few minutes in between these practices and every able-bodied man (was welcome to help). If there's anything I could do to save them a little bit of time I felt like it was a plus. I think we've got a pretty good race car this week. There again, just like Sears Point, we just can't get the speed out of it. The thing's driving pretty respectable. I think we hit all our marks real good yesterday; we just ended up 22nd. I think that's just the best we were. There were a couple of places I felt like I could have done a little bit better, but I don't think we were a threat for the pole. The car isn't bad and I love road racing; I like Watkins Glen. Came awful close to winning this race a couple of years ago. I would like to see that happen again for this race team."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (ninth in Happy Hour; will start in the back after changing an engine damaged in this morning's practice session):
WHAT HAPPENED? "I missed a shift and it started vibrating, so we had to change it. I was going from third to fourth and I must have just pulled over on it a little bit and it went into second."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (third in Happy Hour):
GOOD TIMES IN HAPPY HOUR, MORE OPTIMISTIC THAN YESTERDAY? "We were optimistic yesterday, we just didn't qualify very good. We went from the slowest car in the first practice to one of the fastest cars in the second practice. It's interesting how your day can go. We had a few new things in the car when we came here. We pulled some of those things out and went back to the basics and brought the car right back. We're real happy."
BRAKES HELD UP? "The brakes are great."
RECONSTRUCTION IN TURN 1, NEW PAVEMENT? "Yeah, they've done something down there; I can't explain what it is. All I know is that we used to really come across there and throw some dirt up on the track, and there's a curb. Now we're still throwing dirt up on the track, but there's no curb." TWO CARS HAD ENGINE PROBLEMS: "These road courses are places where there are so many opportunities to get yourself in trouble, shifting, braking, turning left, turning right. There's a lot of obstacles out there. To me one of the big reasons why we've had a lot of success here is 1, we have stuff that doesn't fail, and 2, I've worked on being real smooth and trying not to make mistakes and I think the guy that wins here is usually the guy, the entire team, that makes the least amount of mistakes."
WHEN YOU ONLY RUN TWO ROAD RACES A YEAR, HOW EASY IS IT TO SHIFT FROM FOURTH TO FIRST? "If you go from fourth to first that's a huge problem. Not only does it break things but it usually spins you out and sends you off into the sandpit. I didn't know those things happened to those guys. I don't know why. I'd have to know more."
ARE YOU CONCERNED WHERE YOU'RE STARTING? "I know we've got a great car; I've got to put yesterday behind me. It doesn't do me any good to be upset about it today or tomorrow. It's something that we've got to overcome. I think I've got a pretty good idea today why we didn't run better than we did yesterday; that's why we're running good today. All we can do now is focus on our race package and work our way to the front and get some track position. It's not going to be easy to do, but I think we've got what it takes to do it. It's just that we have a lot of work ahead of us."
HOW DO YOU WORK YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK? "One car at a time. You look at your opportunities. There's basically three opportunities on this track to pass on. You try to make clean passes and if it takes you all day to do it then it takes you all day to do it. You can't do it all in the first corner, you can't do it all in the first lap. If the car's good enough, and our team is performing well enough, we ought to be able to do it between on-track performance and pit-road performance; we ought to be able to work our way to the front."
DO YOU HAVE THE CAR TO WIN? "I think we do. I think we're as fast as anybody else out there. Being as fast as the other guys is one thing, passing guys to get there to them and passing a leader, whatever, is a little bit different. We'll just have to wait and see tomorrow."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (17th in Happy Hour):
"The car is good. Unfortunately, we lost an engine two or three laps into the practice the other day so we're going to have to start in the back, regardless. We've got a good car, it 'qualified' well, and it's been in the top 15 on all the speed charts. We're looking good. This track's been a little bit better for me than Sears Point as far as road courses are concerned 'cause I've had two years here in a Busch car before. It's helped me out and I think we'll hopefully have some things work our way in the race and get some track position and have a good day with the Lowe's Monte Carlo."
STRATEGY ON STARTING IN THE BACK? "We've been crunching a lot of different ideas, but with how few stops we need to make it's really hard to work out a different strategy. We're just going to hope that we can pass some cars and try to get our fuel and tires on the car as soon as possible and just stay out from there and go to the end."
WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM WITH THE ENGINE? "In fact, it happened to me on throttle going up through the esses, when the motor let loose. It's just some freak failure. (We) solved what it was on our car and knowing that we don't have that problem on the other three Hendrick cars and then also our backup motor we know is correct. It's just a small thing that unfortunately has cost us a lot."
DO YOU TAKE EXTRA CARE IN SHIFTING? "You know you're being abusive with the winding it out as hard as you do, and on the downshifts when you pull it into a lower gear, the rev limiter can't stop that high rpm spike. So you have to be really careful on your downshifts, especially to not wind the thing up to 96-9700 rpm, which is really easy to do. You've just got to be smart all day long."