Food City 500
Bristol Motor Speedway
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Keys For Success
KEYS FOR SUCCESS: FOOD CITY 500
BRISTOL, Tenn. (Saturday, March 17, 2012) – 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: Bristol Motor Speedway (Race 4 of 36 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series)
Race: Food City 500 (500 laps / 266.5 miles)
Trivia Question: Who was the first driver to win at Bristol behind the wheel of a Dodge? (Answer Below)
HOWARD COMSTOCK (SRT Motorsports Engineering)
Be Careful on Pit Road: “I think one of the keys is don’t get behind by making a mistake. Everybody works really hard on qualifying here because you want to start up front. Don’t get a pit road penalty and lose what you gained on Friday. Since we came here in August, it was well documented that people were beating the timing lines on pit road. NASCAR has changed that and will be monitoring it very closely. So I think you want to be very careful. You can have a great car, good track position, good pit stops, and good strategy and throw it all away by speeding on pit road.”
Keep All Four Corners on the Dodge: “A big key is keeping all four corners on the car. You can’t make any progress if you knock the fenders off. Keep your car in one piece. Let the crew work on chassis adjustments as the race goes on. Five hundred laps is a long time around here on a Sunday afternoon. Give the team a chance to work on the car if it’s not what you like. Don’t try to take more than the car is going to give you at that particular part of the race. It’s more endurance than a sprint race.”
Making the Right Call at the Right Time: “At Bristol and Martinsville, more than any other tracks, you’re going to be back in the field at some point based on different pit strategies. Teams that are back farther in the field will pit earlier; the teams that are leading feel like they’ve got to hold their track position. Next time there’s a caution those front running teams have to come to pit road and get tires. The teams in the back that play that strategy card stay out and gain that track position that they were looking for. Then you’ve got to hold on to what you’ve got. Don’t round the corners of the car off. When it is time to pit, get good pit stops and don’t speed on pit road. Don’t give up anything. This is a hard place to race. Don’t give up anything.”
Equal Chance of Trouble Throughout the Field: “It seems like we used to see a lot more trouble in the back of the field. There are a lot of really good drivers in this series and I think trouble happens where it happens. I think trouble happens more when people have ill handling cars or are trying to do something that the track is not going to give you.”
No Advantage on Frontstretch or Backstretch Pit Road: “If NASCAR is able to enforce the rules by adding the extra speed zones, I don’t see a difference between the two pit roads. I think you’ll see the number one qualifier pit at pit out on the frontstretch and the number two qualifier will likely pit at pit out on the backstretch. That’s the pattern that we’ve seen lately.”
Trivia Question Answer: David Pearson gave Dodge its first win at Bristol, capturing the 1967 Southeastern 500. Pearson, driving for car owner Cotton Owens, edged Cale Yarborough by seven seconds to score the victory.