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DATE News (chronologically)
02/28/07
nascar
Jourdain Jr. to make Busch debut in Mexico  Michel Jourdain, Jr. will make his NASCAR Busch Series season debut this weekend at his hometown venue of Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.  Jourdain, who has competed in the two previous Mexico City events, will make his first start at the 2.518-mile road course behind the wheel of a Roush Fenway Ford Fusion with the team that won last weekend’s Busch Series event at California Speedway with driver Matt Kenseth.  Jourdain, who will pilot the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion, was a guest on today’s NASCAR teleconference

MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR.—17—Dish Network Ford Fusion – THIS WILL BE YOUR FIRST RACE AT AUTODROMO HERMANOS RODRIGUEZ IN A ROUSH FENWAY FORD.  HOW WILL THAT HELP YOUR CHANCES THIS YEAR?  “First, I want to say hello to everybody and thank you for this. Like you said, the last couple of years here in Mexico City, we’ve been very, very competitive, and very fast, but both times someone has taken me out. So, we’ll be fast, and this year I’m very confident that we’ll have a very fast car, and hopefully we stay at the front and nobody is able to hit us.”

TALK ABOUT THE LANGUAGE BARRIER YOU ARE FACED WITH WHEN WORKING IN THE STOCK CAR RANKS. “For me and guys like Adrian [Fernandez] and Juan Pablo [Montoya], the language barrier between Spanish and English, especially in stock cars where most of the mechanics and crew chiefs come from the South, it’s a very different English from what we are used to. That’s definitely a little bit of a barrier, especially on day-to-day working. When you’re at the shop and talking to the engineers and mechanics, sometimes it’s hard to understand some of their words. And also for us, that we come from open-wheel racing, it’s something A.J. [Allmendinger] also must be struggling with. It is the way they describe things about how the car is doing or what the engine is doing is very, very different. It takes a while, but for me, when I went to the 24 Hours of Daytona, I felt like I’ve had to learn that language again because it’s very easy to get used to it so quickly, especially when you are racing stock cars because normally it’s every weekend.”

CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE MOST DIFFICULT THING ADAPTING TO A STOCK CAR FROM AN OPEN-WHEEL CAR? “I don’t know for everybody, for me, I think what was most difficult is going to so many different tracks, and they are so different for us. Like when we were racing on a mile-and-a-half track, for us they were all the same. You were running the same setup that you ran most everywhere. Maybe the race, there was a little bit of difference, but here, every track is so different and you take a car that is different every weekend. When you have a car that works really good, you might use it five or six times a year. All of those things are just so hard, and the stock car drivers that have been doing it forever, they get up to speed so quick. They show up to a track that they have not been to in a year, and they’re out lap is like a qualifying lap. At least for me, all of those things were very, very difficult, from learning the tracks, learning each car, and how the car needs to feel to go fast. Also, the car changes so much from the start of the race until the end of the race, so you need the experience to know how the car will change, and how you need to start the race to be good at the end.  Certainly, it’s a lot of things.”

DO YOU STRUGGLE COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR CREW CHIEF, OR DOES HE SPEAK SPANISH? “I don’t know exactly where he’s from, but I understand him. Actually for me now, I think it’s different. The language barrier isn’t as big because I’ve been racing in the States for 10 years now, and I’ve spent the last two years spending a lot of time in Charlotte.  I know Drew (Blickensderfer), who will be my crew chief. I know him well, and I talk to him all of the time, so I understand him. I’m not so sure about that this weekend.”  Ford Racing

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