SRT Motorsports — Dodge NSCS Spotter Quotes – Bristol

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dodge PR

Bristol Motor Speedway

American Muscle

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Spotter Quotes

Chris Osborne (Spotter, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) “It’s no different than anywhere else that we run. Granted it’s a very small area to deal with and a very fast racetrack. You have to pay attention to what’s around your car, but you also have to look about a half-lap ahead. You have to be on top of your driver and what’s going on right around him, cars that are trying to get around him. At Bristol, the groove has moved up to the top at both ends of the track. Later on in the race, if your driver is still running the bottom while the majority of drivers are running high, you have to pay attention to who is trying to get that run and sneak by on the outside just before entry to the corner or who’s dive-bombing him on the inside trying to get a run because it’s so difficult to pass. But while that’s going on, you have to look about a half a lap ahead because everyone knows when things happen at Bristol, they happen in a hurry. If you’re coming off of two and something happens in the center of three and four, it’s all you can do to get the message relayed to the driver what’s going on and where the accident scene is. All you have is a split-second and it’s either right or wrong to try to get him through the melee.”

WHEN YOU ARE CLOSELY WATCHING TRAFFIC, CAN YOU GET A SENSE OF WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN? “It’s a hard place to pass and you’ll see guys rubbing on one another. You just have to pick up on that. You have to pick up on how hard they’re racing. If one gets into the other and just gives a shot in the rear going down the straightaway you need to inform your driver of that so he has a heads-up as well as what you’re watching there that he can anticipate something. Just as soon as you crack the button and tell him something is going on, he’s already looking for those two cars in general because that’s something that you’ve already relayed to him that is going to be a possibility. You have to pay attention to all those things.”

COMMENT ON THE COMPLEXITY OF PITTING AT BRISTOL. “Pit road is tricky. It kind of depends on which side you’re pitting on. You always have to enter on the backstretch under caution and travel around to the frontstretch even if you’re pitting on the frontstretch. Under green flag situations, that’s not the case; you only have to enter on the pit road on the side you’re pit is located. If you’re pit is on the frontstretch, it’s a little bit different circumstances. You have to be on your game. We’ve seen it so many times before that under green a guy that’s pitting on the frontstretch uses the backstretch pit road. There are a lot of things that go on in a very short amount of time at Bristol Motor Speedway.”

IS BRISTOL THE MOST CHALLENGING TRACK FOR A SPOTTER? “It’s about the farthest thing from it, to be honest with you. Bristol is my favorite. I love both races there. I feel the energy just like the fans in the stands do when we have the night race at Bristol. It’s just electrifying. That is by far the best racing, in my book, that we do all year long. The toughest ones are Pocono, Indy, places like that. Pocono, they’re either coming at you off of three or they’re going away from you in one and they’re at a 90 degree angle in the tunnel turn. That is a very tough place. Indy is what it is. When they’re going down the backstretch, they’re kind of in and out of the trees and going into three, that’s a tough place. But Bristol is action packed. You’re going to bring you’re A-game to any track, you better bring it to Bristol because if you don’t, you’ll be making an early departure most of the time.”

Joey Meier (Spotter, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T) “It’s actually a lot of fun here at Bristol. I tell the story to everybody that if I had two races as a fan to go to, Bristol would be one of them and Richmond would be the other. Spotting at Bristol is a lot of fun. It’s actually easier than most people think. We always talk about the toilet bowl syndrome. Once everybody gets going in the same direction, they’re all going the same speed from the roof. You lose the lack of perception of acceleration off the corners and deceleration in the corner. You loose all that. Everybody is going the same speed which allows you from the roof to be able to pick up an incident that’s getting ready to happen a little bit quicker. We spot this place, and I’ve heard this from numerous spotters, just like a Talladega or a Daytona because the level of speed of movement relative to each other is just like Daytona and Talladega. It’s relatively slow. The action here is obviously faster. The personality of the track is self-clearing. You know where the cars are going to go. If a crash happens in the corner they’re going to go high and then they’re going to go low. Unlike the flatter tracks, which are my nemesis, the Martinsvilles and the Loudons, because you don’t know where they’re going to go. They spin, sometimes they can go high and sometimes they can go low. Sometimes they can just sit in the middle and bog up, but there’s smoke everywhere and you can’t see it. Here, because we’re on top, we can see through the smoke. We have good visibility. We have the best seat in the house sitting over in Turn 1. We’re looking down on the racetrack at the roofs on these cars. I really love Bristol.”

IS THERE A LEVEL OF FRUSTRATION BECAUSE SOMETIMES THINGS HAPPEN SO QUICKLY AND THERE’S NOT MUCH YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT? “All you can do is all you can do. You can’t give more than 100 percent from a spotter’s standpoint. That’s why you look ahead here more than anywhere else. Most of your tracks, intermediate stuff, you’re looking at what’s going on behind as far as trying to help the driver. But here, once a driver is in a position where he’s comfortable with who is around him and he can take care of his own, you’re trying to look ahead simply to give him that split second ‘Check-up, go low’ kind of call. Hopefully, you give him that extra time to maneuver the car where he’s not involved in a wreck.”

DO YOU TRY TO READ WHAT IS GOING ON IN TRAFFIC AHEAD OF YOUR DRIVER TO GET A SENSE OF WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN? “Most wrecks here – most – happen two or three laps before they actually wreck. You can see the patience running out and a guy not giving another driver room. You can tell he’s about ready to get moved and that’ll happen two or three laps in advance. Most of us will sit up top and we’ll tap each other and we’ll point. We’ll tell ‘em to look over here, just keep your eye here. A lot of us listen to PRN and they will actually pick up on it off-air and sure enough, three or four laps later, here they are spun into the wall. So you’re looking ahead trying to see who’s racing each other. You know how much patience is being used up rather quickly.”

HOW MUCH DIFFERENT IS BRISTOL FOR YOU AS A SPOTTER SINCE THE TRACK WAS RESURFACED? “The fans are probably a little disappointed because there’s less wrecks. Before, it was just one groove and if your car was three-tenths or four-tenths faster, you still had to move the guy out of the way. Now, we actually get to race so a faster car can pass a slower car, simple as that. There are less wrecks because we’re not simply wrecking someone to move ‘em out of the way. I love the two-wide racing here. You can go two-wide for numerous laps. I look forward to that.”

A.J. Allmendinger (No. 22 Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) “It’s similar to Daytona, but here everything happens so quickly. You really got to trust ‘em, you’ve got to really have a good spotter. It’s so quick here that if they say clear, it’s not clear by three feet, it’s clear by three inches. To me, there’s times when you’ve just got to count on the spotter to look out for you because you’re not able to glance up in the mirror to see if you’re clear. More often than not, you just have to trust him. If he says clear, you roll up there. I think at other places you’ve got time and you’re in the corner long enough and coming off the corner it’s not as tight, you can kind of glance up if he says clear just to make sure. Here, it’s just all instinct. If he says clear, you got to go.”

IS THE ROLE OF THE SPOTTERS ENHANCED HERE BECAUSE OF THE TWO PIT ROADS? “It’s always a big factor (smiles). I feel like for me I’m always asking ‘How am I pitting this time?’ You know, the spotter is really critical here. At Daytona and Talladega they’re pretty important, but even then you can kind of glance in your mirror. Here you just don’t have time. This is maybe the most important place out of all of them that you have to have a spotter.”

DO YOU FEEL HELPLESS AT BRISTOL BECAUSE THINGS HAPPEN SO QUICKLY? “You’re not helpless. It’s definitely a team effort when it comes to working here together. You’ve got to be on the same page. This is a place that if you feel like your spotter is a little weak, it’s going to show up. Fortunately, in my career, I’ve had really good spotters.”

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