THOUGHTS ON THE NEW CAR.
“I’m excited about this year and I think these cars are going to be good. Daytona went fairly well. We were able to get out of there kind of unscathed. Things happen for a reason, I guess, so hopefully it will be the same here.”
WILL THIS BE ENOUGH TIME TODAY TO FIGURE OUT THESE CARS BEFORE THE VEGAS RACE?
“I think a lot of it boils down to how well your car drove and then how your speed compares and how much stuff we get through. If the car is driving pretty good, the car has fairly good speed and it looks like there are no major issues that we have to get figured out still, I think that there’s a possibility we wouldn’t test again. But if there’s still unanswered questions or we don’t have the speed or the drive-ability, I get out there and I’m like, ‘I just can’t drive it. It’s too loose. It won’t turn as the fuel burns off,’ and we need to continue to test, we’re going to end up somewhere else.”
THE ROOF FLAPS ON THESE CARS LOOK BIGGER. WHEN YOU HAD YOUR NEAR SPIN AT DAYTONA LAST WEEK DID THEY DEPLOY?
“I couldn’t see them, thank goodness. I don’t know if they deployed or not, I’d have to look at the video, but I don’t believe they did. Normally, you can’t feel them whether they deploy or not a lot of times. Sometimes you can hear them because they make a hell of a racket when they open all the way up and they slam against the cables, but I don’t know if they did. It was definitely a close one.”
HAVE YOU BEEN IN THIS NEW CAR AT ALL ON AN INTERMEDIATE TRACK?
“I’ve been in the car twice – the tire test at Texas at the end of the season, and I don’t remember where else. I think it was here, I don’t know if it was another tire test or what, but I’ve been in this car twice, but, there again, that was a composite body car – so truly no experience with this car that is set-up with the rules package and a steel body and meeting the templates, but I don’t think it’s going to be 100 percent different, but it’s still going to be different.”
DO YOU SEE ANY MAJOR POSITIVES TO THE REDUCTION IN WEIGHT TO THE CAR?
“The more weight we get out of them, and, truly, the more left-side weight we can get in these cars, which is a difficulty. When you add left-side weight to a car that has a higher center of gravity, it makes the car handle much better and it makes the left sides do more work. When we started with the COT car, the left-side tire did such a small percentage of the work and the right sides had to do everything. So the more we can migrate back to getting all four tires to do more work and not just be along for the ride, then it will be easier on the tire. The tire can be more aggressive and that will help it.”
HOW WILL YOUR SCHEDULE LOOK WITH TESTING BEING MORE OPEN THIS YEAR?
“I think we’re allowed four tests this season, so I think with a new car it’s in NASCAR’s best interest to let us get to the race tracks were going to race at and do some testing. It’s equal for everyone that they did it per organization, so I like the idea of it. I think two to four tests per year is not a bad number, so a team can go some place that they really want to work on stuff, instead of having to go to Nashville every week or other places that don’t really count. So I like it. If the number stays down, it will allow us to go and do some good testing.”