SRT Motorsports – Sprint Cup Keys For Success – Kentucky

Friday, June 29, 2012

Quaker State 400

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Keys For Success

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KEYS FOR SUCCESS: QUAKER STATE 400

SPARTA, Ky. (Friday, June 29) – Each race weekend, selected SRT 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, Howard Comstock, SRT Motorsports Engineering, provides the keys for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.

Track:  Kentucky Speedway (Race 17 of 36 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series)

Race:  Quaker State 400 (267 laps / 400.05 miles)

Trivia Question:  Who was the first driver to lead a lap in Sprint Cup competition at Kentucky Speedway and what make of car was he driving? (Answer Below)

HOWARD COMSTOCK (SRT Motorsports Engineering)

Track Position:  “The racetrack changes and you have to keep up with it but I think track position will be more critical than anything.  A mediocre race car will run better up front than a good race car will run back in the field.”

Keep The Water Cool And Oil Even Cooler:  “The cooling systems are good enough to keep the water cool in these cars. The teams will have to be careful to make sure that they keep the oil cool enough.  We’re only talking about 20 degrees more ambient temperature that we’re used to.  The oil operates at around 250 to 260 (degrees).  If you’ve got that oil up to 280 or 290, there’d be some danger there that you might break down the oil and once you do that, the engine goes fast at the speeds that we’re running here.  You’ll have to watch water temperature but I think you can control it.  You have to be very careful with oil temperature.  That’s something that we’re going to need to watch during the race.”

Take Care of the Front Splitter:  “We use a splitter on the Sprint Cup car and the teams try to keep that splitter as close to the track as possible without hitting the track.  You can’t hit that splitter for 400 miles and make it last.  You’ve got to be careful not to keep hitting the splitter on the racetrack.  It’s a bumpy track.  We know that and it’s going to be a slippery track.  There are certain parts of the track where a driver will try to put the car to minimize the bumps.  With a slippery track, drivers may not be able to get the car where they want every lap.  It’s going to be a situation where the driver is going to have to manage his race so that he doesn’t beat up the splitter on the car and ultimately give himself trouble.”

Slick Track:  “If you notice, the racetrack is getting a very black streak in it from the rubber that’s getting built up from the heat, the heat in the tires.  Part of the rubber comes off and gets applied to the racetrack.  That’s what tends to make the track slick.  Some of that gets washed off if we get rain but it looks like there’s little chance of rain.  It’s slick in that blackened part of the track but it’s still driveable.”

Manage the Outside Groove:  “Any car that gets around that black streak tends to get pulled toward the wall.  There’s not a lot of traction above that.  Does that mean we’re going to have a one-groove track?  I think you’re going to have to manage that outside groove and be patient enough during the race to eventually get some rubber worked up the track before you’re going to be able to go high or two-wide here or three-wide sometimes.  Even though it looks like a wide track, there’s not a wide groove yet.”

TRIVIA ANSWER:  Kurt Busch, driving the No. 22 Dodge for Penske Racing, led laps 1-13 in the 2011 Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.

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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