Friday, June 10, 2011

Driver Quotes From Pocono Regarding Shifting

A few of the drivers talked with the media before Friday's first practice at Pocono with the main topic being about shifting this week.

Johnson's only two Pocono wins came while shifting 
JIMMIE JOHNSON TALKS ABOUT BRINGING BACK THE ELEMENT OF SHIFTING HERE AT POCONO: “We started shifting last year and even I tried some the year before that and didn’t see a lot of speed because the gear ratios we were allowed to use, there is just such a big gap between each downshift is one, very risky and two, we couldn’t run the coolers on the cars to keep everything cool, cold, because as you start downshifting…the transmission coolers…so if you are running in third gear a lot, you are going to build a lot of extra heat and you need to have coolers and stuff on the car in order to keep the transmission under it. It was kind of a risky thing, you only wanted to do it from time-to-time. Not-to-mention the power curve of the engine, if you are not shifting, you might want to move the power curve down and a lower RPM range where you will run and then if you shift you kind of want to do the opposite because you can stay in that peak RPM longer. So it really hasn’t been a strong effort to have a car shift and guys are dabbling with it."

"Now it just makes it easy where you can come in, you can put the coolers on the car, you can get the gaps closer so when you downshift you aren’t risking missing a shift and spinning the car out and crashing it. It won’t be as easy to tear up the transmission and you can build and engine package to suit what you plan on doing. So I think it has been a good move. It brings a lot of interest to the track and a lot of discussion from a fan standpoint and the media standpoint. Gives us drivers options. Gives the team options. The engine shops options. I think there is a lot of excitement coming into this race from the garage area.”

RYAN NEWMAN TALKS ABOUT SHIFTING AND HIS STRATEGY COMING INTO POCONO: “It will be interesting. It puts the driver back a little bit more into the equation of things with respect to the shifting. The second part of the shifting is that it does change the handling of the race car so getting into a car that drives good when you don’t shift versus when you do shift just because of the fuel mileage situation with the big race track, that makes a difference as well. The combination of driver, crew chief and race car, is probably more important than it is most other race tracks just with the asymmetry of the race. Three different corners; different banking; different length straightaways; shifting; not shifting-those types of things. A lot of communication has to be done here. You add into that your spotter talking you coming off of turn four the first couple of times, you get everything sorted out, you can have a good day.”

Kurt Busch's two wins came with mandated gear ratio
KURT BUSCH EXPLAINS HOW SHIFTING AT POCONO CAN CHANGE THE WAY YOU RACE AT POCONO? “Back in the day, we’d run third gear primarily all the way around the race track and put it into fourth gear down the long front straightaway. With the gear rule that we’re going to change to and what we’re going to adapt to today, we’ll see how it plays out. We might end up shifting more often because it’s a third gear that’s mandated, so we can’t change it at all. It helps you come off the corner stronger. With a lower gear like that, you’re able to get those rear tires to spin a little easier and you’re going to be on the looser side of things. It’s basically getting that squirt out of the corner, coming out of the corner stronger with that gear. We’ll see how much it loosens it up, yet you still have to be conservative because you don’t want to over-rev the engine. We’re seeing a lot of these races getting into fuel mileage. The more that you’re shifting, that’s going to take away your fuel mileage as well. Most likely, we’ll downshift right at the apex of the corner because it will over-rev the engine if we downshift into the corner.”

CLINT BOWYER TALKS ABOUT THE NEW GEAR RATIO AND SHIFTING: “Is that our push to pass button? I don’t know. There was a couple of times even in the last couple of years getting down into (turn) one you get really bottled up and you’d actually reach down and grab your gear anyway you’d be bogged down so much that you felt like you needed to. Only time will tell. We’ll have to get out there on the race track. I don’t know that it will be an every lap deal. Certainly, probably, maybe on restarts but we just have to get out there and feel it out and see what we’ve got. I’ve never shifted here before but like I said it’s not that big of a deal. We shift on the road courses all the time and it’s really kind of a given. You can tell by the pitch in the engine, you don’t even have to look at the tach and know what rpm you are, you can tell by listening to the engine if you need to reach down and get you a gear.”

MATT KENSETH ON WHAT WILL BE DIFFERENT AND IF HE LIKES IT: “I don’t really know but I think it will be a little bit better. I think it will be more forgiving if you get in traffic or if you miss the corner or whatever you will be able to down shift and have a little power to get back up out of there. I am looking forward to it.”

“It is easier not to shift but I like shifting because it adds another element to the race. I think it probably makes more passing and you have to be a little easier and careful on equipment. I think it gives you more of a possibility of things breaking. It puts it more in the drivers hands and I like that.”

DALE EARNHARDT JR. TALKS ABOUT SHIFTING AGAIN AT POCONO: “I don’t know. I’m going to try to find out. I haven’t shift here in a while. I think it’s unnecessary but they think the brakes are going to be better but it ain’t going to be no better.”

“Shifting is no big deal. Just hopefully you’ve got the gears all right and everything feels pretty comfortable. It should be fine. It will be the same as it was last year. Take last year’s race and replay it and just imagine all the drivers are shifting.”

No comments: