GM drivers talk about Indy test 

July 11, 2002

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The second day of Winston Cup testing on The 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway was held in hot and hazy conditions. Twenty-seven car/driver combinations tested today, including 17 drivers. Most teams tested two cars each.

A number of GM Racing engineers were on hand to assist the GM teams, ranging in expertise from chassis, aerodynamics, shocks, computer simulation and strategy.

MIKE SKINNER, NO. 4 KODAK FILMS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (quickest on Tuesday, 11th today, 50.5278/178.120): HOW IS THE TESTING GOING? "Pretty good. We could always be better. Our Kodak Max car is running pretty good. We'd like to stay focused. I love Indy. I can't wait to come back here. I want to see if we can get a Chevrolet in victory lane." ON BEING QUICK YESTERDAY: "Well, I don't know how many people were making qualifying runs. I think we were decent. The engines that we have in the cars right now both have races on them, so I know we're going to be coming back with more engines. The 26 car (Todd Bodine) ran awfully fast today. We can't run nowhere near that fast, but I think we can run a little faster than we ran." ON THE GM ENGINEERS HERE HELPING YOU. IS THAT AN ADVANTAGE? "Heck, yes. I'm telling you. It's really been awesome. Had some good input; they've been very, very supportive. That says a lot for GM and the Monte Carlo brand. It says a lot for the whole deal because we've struggled a little bit, and they're over here helping one of their teams that are struggling. That says a lot for them. I really appreciate that." ON HAVING A BETTER REST OF THE SEASON: "I'm sure hoping so. We ran good at Sears Point, ran awfully good at Daytona, got caught up in somebody else's mistake and hopefully we can just start sneaking our way back into being competitive. This race team hasn't been competitive in a while, I'd love to think that I've made a little bit of a difference for them. But, it takes it all nowadays. It's tough. We've had a lot of support out of Chevrolet and we just really, really appreciate every bit of help we get. We need to get these cars in the wind tunnel and get this aero stuff figured out. We're really struggling with some of that stuff. It takes it all to run in Winston Cup." DOES WHAT YOU LEARN HERE HELP YOU IN CHICAGO: "I think so. We'll see."

ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: PRODUCTIVE DAY (sixth fastest today, 50.4085/178.541)? "What we really did with the Richard Childress Racing Cingular Wireless Chevy Monte Carlo today was work on a lot of race setup. We went back and forth on setup; played with some body stuff in race configuration. We probably worked about two and a half hours on a qualifying (setup). We're trying to understand where we're at, gather some good data, and hopefully Kevin (Harvick) and Jeff (Green) will come back next week and take off from where we're at, and hopefully expand on that and go further." ON INTERACTION WITH GM ENGINEERS: "They have been with us and involved. We have been sharing data with them, what we've been doing. Hopefully they can go back and spend some time with their tools to make our cars faster. We worked mostly on chassis and body today."

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: PRODUCTIVE DAY (19th fastest today, 51.1885/175.821)? "Right there at the end. We were kind of floundering for three quarters of the day. Right at the end we found a few things that helped the car, but we always run real good here, qualify good and race good. We always test good too." CRAZY WEATHER CONDITIONS: "That was good. It's good to get combinations, to kind of know... To be able to know what the weather does to the track, to know more about that helps me." DOES TESTING HERE HELP YOU GOING TO CHICAGO? "We tested here. We brought what we learned in Chicago here. We'll race in Chicago, maybe we'll learn something to bring that here."

STEVE PARK, NO. 1 PENNZOIL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (fifth fastest, 50.2412/179.136): "More laps. Today was definitely better than yesterday. I think we learned what we came to learn. The Pennzoil Chevrolet, I think we ended up fifth fastest. That's pretty good right now. We have a little bit left so we want to come back with what we know is going to work, and we learned a lot of that today." WHAT DID YOU FIND TODAY? "Yesterday we just did race trim stuff, today we kind of taped up and did some qualifying runs. The difference between the race runs and the qualifying runs is the added speed." THIS TRACK CHANGES A LOT. WAS IT HARD TO KEEP UP? "Not really 'cause there's a weather station plus all the Pi system stuff, so we try to keep up, so if we make a gain on the race track we want to make sure it's not because of wind or weather; we want to make sure it's what we did to the race car. So that's what we did today." INTERACT WITH GM ENGINEERS? "Yeah, actually, we do. We have a pretty good relationship with them, and that's helped us quite a bit from an engineering standpoint. Anytime we come here to test, that definitely helps. Actually, Dave Charpentier (Manager of Engineering for DEI) went to ARC this morning with one of the engineers to look at some modeling, wind tunnel modeling and stuff. So, development not only here, continues on away from the race track too. It's a lot of help." (Note: Auto Research Center in Indianapolis is developing a scale model for aero testing in their 40 percent wind tunnel.)

BOBBY HAMILTON, NO. 55 SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: DESPITE THE VARIABLE WEATHER CONDITIONS, DID YOU HAVE A GOOD TEST (seventh fastest today, 50.4218/178.494)? "I think so. Most everybody brings two cars here to choose what car they want, and they will take all the data off the computer and apply it. Weıre real happy with our test. The track was in real good shape. It was real consistent for a change. I think that might have something to do with the grinding."

TERRY LABONTE, NO. 5 KELLOGGıS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: DID YOU GET ANYTHING ACCOMPLISHED TESTING TODAY (12th fastest today, 50.5819/177.929)? "Yeah, I think so. We really got to try a lot of different things that weıve been wanting to try and really havenıt had the opportunity to try. When you go to a race, you only have two hours of practice and then you have to qualify so you canıt try a lot of the things that you maybe got in the back of your mind to try. So we tried a lot of different stuff today. I think weıre pretty close with one car and the other car we never really tried to run fast with it. We just had some race shocks on it and ran some trying to get some comparisons on that. I thought the test went pretty good. HOW SPECIAL IS THE INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY TO YOU? "I know when I come in, anyway, I look at the facility. We donıt go to a nicer place than this anywhere that we race. We go to some new racetracks and this is the oldest racetrack there is. The way they keep it up, keep the grounds and everything and the track is always in perfect condition. These guys are always a step ahead of everybody. They got the soft walls up and stuff and, to me, itıs really neat for us to come up here and race. The Indy 500, to me, is the biggest race in the world. Itıs pretty neat for us to be able to race our stock cars at Indy. I think probably 90 percent of the Winston Cup guys at some point dreamed about running the Indy 500. Well, maybe we havenıt run the Indy 500, but at least we can run at their racetrack."


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