Tech Talk · Mike Neff · Tuesday July 24, 2012
Steve Addington heads to Indianapolis with Tony Stewart to try and put another win in the bag for the native Hoosier while he hopes to score a win at the fabled track for his first time as a crew chief. The challenges at Indianapolis are similar to Loudon and Pocono yet unique at the same time. Addington talks about going fast and slowing down at the Brickyard.
Mike Neff: You had a week off and you’re getting ready to head to Indianapolis, which is obviously a very special place for Tony. Does he put any added pressure on you this week more than others as you get ready to head up there?
Steve Addington: No, I think we do it ourselves. We’ve had our eye on that one for a while now. It is one that I’ve never won as a crew chief and he’s won it twice so it is more – we’re building a couple of new cars to take up there. We’re running them through the wind tunnel and everything. It is going to be exciting to go there with Tony because he has been successful there and it is a big race for him, close to his home. We’re all going to go up there and spend a day at his house and fish and hang out on his property so it is going to be a good time.
Mike Neff: Going up there with the new side skirts that they have taken another half of an inch off of. A lot of people don’t think about aero at Indy, but it is important. Is that change in the side skirt going to be a big difference this time around?
Steve Addington:It’ll be different than last year but we’ve had a couple of races with it I don’t think it will be that big of a deal. We have a race under our belt and we’ve had the cars in the wind tunnel so we’ll have a good idea of where we need to be. Our guys in the aero department have really worked hard on our cars and I think we’ll have a good piece for this weekend.
Mike Neff: Getting ready to run EFI at Indy for the first time. We ask about EFI every week in Tech Talk because it is something new at almost every track we go to. Did you learn anything at Pocono that you can carry over to Indy since they’re similar race tracks.
Steve Addington: Not really, it is the same everywhere. We look at the data from it and see where we need to be in our RPM range and things like that, but I’m probably the wrong one to ask about it. I’ve been the Guinea pig this year on this deal. We’ve had two issues with it, one at Phoenix and one at Kentucky, so it’s been a pain in my side. It is part of it, everyone is on the edge. There is a lot of electrical stuff in the car this day and age and we’re learning from it. Parts are going to break and we’re going to have issues with it and unfortunately it has been the No. 14 car on our side of it.
Mike Neff: One thing I’ve never heard talked about at Indy before, and I’ve thought of it since seeing it at Pocono, have you ever thought of shifting gears at Indianapolis since the straightaways are so long?
Steve Addington: No, we talked about it a couple of years ago, and you do have the short chutes. You’re carrying so much speed there and it is a flat race track with the four unique corners but you carry so much speed there that I don’t think there would be any benefit with the ratios that we have to run, per NASCAR rules. Shifting there would be totally different than what you have at Pocono.
Mike Neff: Does NASCAR do anything with gear ratios or rear shocks since it is such a big track, even though it is different from the restrictor plate tracks?
Steve Addington: No, the transmission ratios are in a box: first, second and third gear. The rear end gear is mandated with two options there. It is wide open with the shocks. You have to have 75 pounds of gas pressure in the rear shocks and then everything else—the builds—are different totally different than speedway racing where they hand you two rear shocks and that is what you have to run. You can adjust on them but there isn’t a whole lot of adjustment [for those shocks] where it is wide open at Indy.
Mike Neff: Are brakes a big deal at Indy when you’re going that hard and then have to make a 90 degree turn, or is there more attention paid to brakes than people think about?
Steve Addington: It isn’t as bad as it is at Pocono. You can’t run your Intermediate package at Indy, you run a little heavier brake rotor and a little bit thicker pad at Indy than you do at say Kansas or Kentucky or Charlotte or places like that where you run lightweight brakes and can get away with it because the banking can catch you. You do really have to break your momentum at the end of the straightaway and you have to pay attention to it and put a little cooling to them.
The series heads to Stewart’s home track where he has won in the past and truly hopes to put another tally in the win column so that he’ll be on top of the points when they are reset for the Chase after Richmond in a little over a month. Addington would like nothing more than to give Stewart the chance to put his name in the record book at Indianapolis as a three-time winner, a feat only accomplished by 29 other racers (27 race car drivers and two motorcycle riders). He would be the third to do it in the Brickyard 400.
Connect with Mike!
Contact Mike Neff
©2000 - 2008 Mike Neff and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!