This Week in Ford Racing November 11, 2003 NASCAR Craftsman Truck The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors took to the reconfigured Homestead-Miami Speedway yesterday in the first of three days of testing preparing for Ford Championship...
This Week in Ford Racing
November 11, 2003
NASCAR Craftsman Truck
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors took to the reconfigured Homestead-Miami Speedway yesterday in the first of three days of testing preparing for Ford Championship Weekend. Rick Crawford, a previous winner at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and Carl Edwards, the leading Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year candidate, commented on the changes to the track and their thoughts on how the progressive banking in the turns will influence the racing during Friday's Ford 200.
RICK CRAWFORD-14-Newspapers in Education Ford F-150
HAVE THE CHANGES MADE TO THE TRACK HELPED MAKE THIS A BETTER RACE TRACK? "It's helped. I think it's going to be an exciting race for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, the Busch Series and Winston Cup. I give them an 'A' for effort. I'll rate the track from zero to 10 after Friday after we see how we do. The Circle Bar team and this Newspapers in Education Ford has a shot to win this weekend. I feel good about the test day here. Maybe we can complete the pass."
YOU HAVE WON HERE BEFORE, BUT ARE THERE ANY SIMILARITIES TO THE OLD TRACK FOLLOWING THE RECONFIGURATION? "The walls are the same color and you pull in and exit at the same place, but the track is tremendously different. I heard Johnny Benson the other say day that it was comparable to the old Atlanta race track, and the more you run here the more you can see that. It's the old oval of Atlanta, but I don't think the straightaways are as long. I think the corners were a lot bigger at Atlanta than they are here, but the comparison is similar and it's a fun race track to get around."
HOW DIFFERENT WILL THE TRACK SURFACE BE ON FRIDAY AFTER ALL THE SERIES GET TO TEST? "You talk about rubber, and rubber on the track is just going to tighten you up a little bit, but what you've got here is new asphalt and new asphalt is always going to give you a lot of grip. That's more or less what you are wearing on it, you're going to wear some of the grip out. Come Friday, not too much will change and we'll find it all out in qualifying, practice and Happy Hour. Maybe we won't have to make too many adjustments because we're pretty fast as it is. I don't want to touch too much, but I know Blake (Bainbridge) and Ray (Stonkus) - they're both here this weekend - and they'll put their heads together and they'll give me a good truck on Friday."
WITH THE PROGRESSIVE BANKING IN THE TURNS, WHERE IS THE PREFERRED DRIVING LINE? "Just about anywhere. We just found working with data acquisition what was fastest for us and the RPM range we were in. We adjusted for that, so we searched and found a line that was suitable for the 14 truck and it also left us a couple of more grooves we could work out if that didn't work. We found the fast groove, I think, and now we can go on and race the rest of the grooves. I think it will hold the vehicles."
YOU WON THE TRUCK SERIES RACE AT DAYTONA THIS YEAR WITH AN EXCITING PASS OFF OF TURN 4. CAN WE SEE THAT KIND OF RACING HERE? "If you look at the corner, you can see the elevation of the corner and see the drop-off going down the straightaway, and you can see the old slingshot move in the back of your mind. Yeah, that can happen. If you get a good run going into the corner, pull up to the draft going down the back straightaway and you get yourself positioned just right in that corner, you can pull a guy off of the corner using the old slingshot that I watched Richard Petty, David Pearson, Darrell Waltrip, Donnie and Bobby Allison and all of my heroes do. I'm keeping that in the back of my mind."
CARL EDWARDS-99-Superchips Ford F-150 - THERE MAY HAVE BEEN CHANGES TO THE TRACK SINCE LAST YEAR, BUT YOU COME HERE WITH NO PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS OF WHAT THE TRACK USED TO RESEMBLE. "This is the first time that I've even seen this track, reconfiguration aside. It's pretty neat. I've watched the TV coverage of the previous races and I don't think anybody has seen it really with this configuration until yesterday. I think it's going to be an awesome race, the way you can run on the top or the bottom."
HAVE YOU RUN ON PROGRESSIVELY BANKED TRACKS BEFORE? "At Irwindale, I raced in a Silver Crown car, and Tucson seemed a little bit like that. It makes it to where the shortest way around the track, the bottom groove, doesn't have as much banking as he upper grooves so a guy doesn't benefit by running right on the bottom like he does at a place like Texas. He loses banking when he goes for the shorter radius. It's a real give-and-take proposition on where you decide to run the truck. I think it's going to be interesting because if your truck doesn't turn very well, you can run the top, run a bigger radius corner and make it turn."
IF YOU HAVE THE ULTIMATE HANDLING TRUCK, WHAT IS THE PREFERRED LINE? "I don't know if I want to tell anybody that. Really, I see a lot of guys running fast right in the middle groove, right at the bottom of the middle groove. I think there were a couple of guys that went right to bottom and they went real fast, but I also saw Jon Wood run real fast on one lap right around the top. I think rubber is going to dictate a lot of which groove is the fastest. Where everybody starts to run that puts the most rubber on the track will be the preferred line."
HOW IS TIRE WEAR ON THE NEW ASPHALT? "We're wearing them out pretty quickly right now, but we did the same thing earlier this year at Dover when nobody had been out on the track. We wore a set of tires out real quick. I think that once you get rubber down it won't be an issue."
HOW MUCH OF AN IMPACT WILL DRAFTING PLAY IN THE RACE? "It's going to be really big. When you're really good, I don't think you're going to have to lift very much through three and four, especially. I think the draft is going to be a really big deal. I noticed I could catch a couple of guys, but it was really hard to pass them. It's going to be a pack of trucks running around nose to tail. I never really feel that we can slingshot with the these trucks because we are gathering air from the nose of the truck, so that same high pressure air that you don't want for drag, you do want for horsepower. What happens is that you pull up behind a guy and you think you're going to get a big run, but you run out of power because you lose air pressure. If we weren't gathering so much air from the very front of the truck you'd see more slingshot passing. That's just my theory, though."