Keys for Success — New Hampshire

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dodge Motorsports PR

New Hampshire Motor Speedway    LENOX Industrial Tools 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

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KEYS FOR SUCCESS: LENOX Industrial Tools 301

LOUDON, N.H. (Friday, July 15, 2011) – Each race weekend, selected Dodge Motorsports engineers, Penske Racing engineers and crew chiefs, drivers or engine specialists give their insight on the ‘Keys for Success’ for the upcoming race.  This week, Travis Geisler, Penske Racing’s Director of Competition, provides the keys for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race here at “The Magic Mile”.

Track:  New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Race 19 of 36 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series)

Race:  LENOX Industrial Tools 301 (301 laps / 318.458 miles)

Trivia Question: The last time a driver led every lap of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was the 2000 Dura Lube 300 here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  Who was that driver?  (Answer Below)

TRAVIS GEISLER (Director of Competition, Penske Racing)

Unique characteristics!  “Anytime that you come to a short track, getting the car to turn in the center is what everybody talks about, but I think there are a couple of things that are unique about Loudon:  the bumps entering turn three and  the difference of the entry between Turns 1 and 3.

“It’s really a different approach to the corner.  You have to have a car that’s capable of handling the heavy braking zone with a lot of bumps.  It really overloads the front end.  You have to make sure you can get through that section to get the beginning of your corner started.  That’s one area we always need to focus on here, to make sure the cars can get through there and get set up well to get through the middle of Turns 3 and 4.  Otherwise, it’s normal short-track stuff.  You have to have really good torque to be able to get off the corner, something that can carry you down the straightaways.  It does have  a fair amount of straightaways for a short track.  If you can manage your braking, manage your entry zone where you can keep the car underneath you and get through the center of the corner, that really is the key here, rolling the center with speed.

Tires vs. track position!  “Tires are usually pretty good here.  I think that’s something you’ll see become a race strategy where teams will go for track position over new tires.  Tires don’t wear as much here as they do at other places.  It’s harder to pass cars than the amount of speed you gain with new tires.”

Making a pass!  “Passing cars here is a little tough.  I think the best situation you could have is to be able to pull underneath somebody in the middle of the corner.  You’re kind of on that free roll here where it seems like the cars are almost stopped.  If you can get just get a fender underneath somebody, you can force them up on exit and get them out of the lane they want.  Then you have the advantage going down the straightaway and the preferred entry line in the next corner to complete the pass.  I don’t think you really complete many passes in one corner.  You have to put together two corners that are much better than them, first to get a run on them, work them up high on entry and take advantage of the spot.”

Fuel mileage strategy!  “It’s probably a little tougher here than at other places because you don’t stop a lot and don’t get a lot of fuel-mileage reads to develop a good average.  We’ve got some historical stuff, but it’s never the same as what you have now.  We’ve made changes this year with the ethanol and other things that have tweaked our mileage.  You need to be able to get good fuel reads to be aggressive on that last run.  It’s really tough when you only have maybe one or two reads to go off of where a track like Pocono, you have more fuel runs there to get a good average.”

Trivia Question Answer:  Jeff Burton led all 300 laps of the 2000 Dura Lube 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (9/17/00).  It was the last time a driver has led every lap in a Sprint Cup event.  However, it’s happened three times in NASCAR’s touring divisions since 2000, all in the Nationwide Series:

2002 – Jeff Burton led all 147 laps in the darlingtonracing.com 200 at Darlington (3/16/02) 2003 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. led all 100 laps of the Winn-Dixie 250 at Daytona (7/4/03) 2011 – Kyle Busch led all 200 laps of the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix (2/26/11)

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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