Michel Jourdain, Jr., driver of the No. 10 Ford, is scheduled to make his second NASCAR start at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday night. The Mexico City native competed in the Grand National West Series race at PIR in January and...
Michel Jourdain, Jr., driver of the No. 10 Ford, is scheduled to make his second NASCAR start at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday night. The Mexico City native competed in the Grand National West Series race at PIR in January and finished sixth in his stock car debut. Jourdain commented on returning to Phoenix and the inaugural race weekend under the lights.
MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR.-10-ppc Racing Ford Taurus
TALK ABOUT RETURNING TO THE TRACK WHERE YOU MADE YOUR STOCK CAR DEBUT.
"It's very good to come back to a track that I've raced at before in a stock car, and I feel like I've improved a lot since I was here in January. We had a good car that day and finished sixth, but that was with a bias-ply tire, which is completely different. I'm spending today trying to learn how to get around here with a different tire. There are a lot of good cars in the Grand National West Series, but there were probably eight to 10 cars here that could win. There are at least 20 cars that can win the race here tomorrow, so that makes it even more difficult."
YOU ARE USING A DIFFERENT TIRE FROM GRAND NATIONAL WEST RACE HERE IN JANUARY, BUT IS THE DRIVING LINE SIMILAR?
"The driving line similar. It is important just to know what line to take around these tracks because it is so much different from the open-wheel cars. The problem that we had in first practice is that we had an engine problem and didn't get to practice much and Kenny was not running very good either. We will probably not be able to do any qualifying runs and we'll just have to work on race setup. We missed a lot of practice because we needed to change engines, but I guess it happens to everybody at some time, and it's probably a good thing that if it happened it happened here at a track that I have some experience. They don't know what the problem was, but they took the spark plugs out and they were full of oil."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT RACING UNDER THE LIGHTS?
"We finished Fontana under the lights, and I've been night racing before so I don't expect it to be anything too different. Milwaukee we ran under the lights in the Champ Cars, and we won that race and I loved it. They do a good job with the lighting and you can barely tell a difference. I think it's even better than racing during the day, especially with these cars because it's so hot in there."
HAS FATIGUE EVER BEEN AN ISSUE FOR YOU IN ANY OF THE BUSCH RACES THIS SEASON?
"No. Bristol was tiring out there turning all of the time, but there was never a sense of fatigue. The cars are heavy, but you have power steering and you don't have the G-forces that I was used to."
WITH FINAL PRACTICE OCCURRING CLOSE TO THE START TIME OF TOMORROW'S RACE, HOW MUCH WILL THAT BENEFIT YOU?
"I think it's going to be better. Still, I don't think the sun will set until seven or eight o'clock, and it's after then that I think the track will change. I don't think we'll run that much under the lights tomorrow, and the track will start cooling down around seven. The track conditions are going to be very different in the race from practice, but I don't know how different. I'm learning so much about each track and so many of these guys know these tracks in these types of cars, and they know how the track conditions are going to be at this time of the day. I still don't know yet. The good thing is that nobody has ever raced here under the lights, and hopefully that will put us on even ground."
HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO BUILD A RAPPORT WITH THE OTHER DRIVERS THAT YOU CAN ASK THEM FOR ADVICE?
"Everybody has been really cool. Everyone has acted like they want to help me and that is really good. But sometimes, like today, I think people are able to help you with tracks and with little details, but the car didn't feel very good and you have to work that out with your guys. You don't know exactly everybody else is running and their driving styles, and there are so many things that they tell you that it's hard when you're car isn't right. We'll try to work them out ourselves for the race tomorrow."