MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
LAS VEGAS TEST PREVIEW
TEAM CHEVY TRANSCRIPT
JANUARY 31, 2019
PAT SUHY, CHEVROLET NASCAR GROUP MANGER, previews the test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway from a Chevrolet technical perspective as the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 teams hit the track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the first true test of the 2019 rules package, as well as, discusses the 2018 season, the tools Chevrolet is providing teams to be successful in 2019 and much more. Full Transcript:
2018 ISN’T WHAT ANYONE AT CHEVROLET WANTED OR EXPECTED AS FAR AS PERFORMANCE IN THE CUP SERIES. TALK ABOUT 2018 AS YOU LOOK IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR:
“I think we were optimistic as we thought about going into 2018 with a new car and knowing that the OSS (Optical Scanning Station) was going to be part of the inspection equation. We really thought that the OSS was going to be a very exact science I’ll call it, and it really didn’t turn out to be. It was something that evolved over the course of the year and I think what we concluded somewhere in the middle of the season we thought about it and it was like, well, had we had a 2017 car to roll out of Homestead and roll through the OSS to see how much we could get away with that we got away with in 2017 we probably would have been in a better place. I look at that as probably the biggest miss that we had. And then obviously, there are probably some things on the car that you always look in hindsight and there are always some things that you could have done better or might have done differently and chalk that up to lessons learned and put it in our hip pocket for the next time.”
DO YOU VIEW 2019 AS A CLEAN SLATE FOR THE MANUFACTURERS AS WELL AS THE TEAMS?
“I think so. I think much more than 2018 was. This is definitely a reset for everybody in terms of where they are at. I think the package is so different that the things you did in 2018 and before that a lot of them or most of them probably won’t apply to making a car go faster. The old days of just piling on more and more downforce are gone and you are going to have to be smart about putting on downforce without adding too much drag and things like that. I really think that it’s an opportunity where the whole industry has been reset and the cream will rise to the top. Historically, we have had the best teams, we still have the best teams and I’m excited to see what this year holds.”
BY AND LARGE THERE IS REALLY NO ON-TRACK TESTING TO TRY OUT A NEW PACKAGE. WHAT TOOLS HAS CHEVROLET GIVEN THE TEAMS TO HELP THEM MAXIMIZE THIS PACKAGE?
“Especially at the tapered 550 tracks where your horsepower limited and going to be wide-open throttle for a lap or laps or much more of a lap than you historically have been, it’s a little bit more like what IndyCar has been the last few years. Some of the tools that we have developed in IndyCar by my counterparts in IndyCar where you basically help understand what the trade off is between horsepower, drag and downforce is something that we brought to our teams in NASCAR. Some of them have had variations on that theme, the understanding of knowing that it is important is one thing, but having a tool to help you identify specifically at which tracks you need to add more downforce, which ones you can afford to add more drag, things like that, are going to help, I think, our teams performance overall.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS TEST AT LAS VEGAS FOR YOU AS A MANUFACTURER AND WHAT KIND OF THINGS CAN YOU LEARN AS A MANUFACTURER THAT ARE DIFFERENT FROM WHAT THE TEAMS ARE LEARNING?
“First off all we are going to have our Wheel Force Transducer car out there which is a very important tool for not only as we work to do tire modeling and tire characterization, but it’s important for our teams as well. You can certainly learn a lot more than just things about tires with that car. I think if we have an opportunity, we will get some information on how the cars behave in traffic and how the aerodynamics are affected by the cars leading, trailing, side-by-side, things like that. And then I think we are going to see a lot of variation on what people bring out there to test and how they test. I think that is going to really… a lot of people are going to go back to the drawing board and go figure out what they want to bring to Atlanta based on what they thought they wanted to bring. But, it’s an important test really for the industry.”
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS FOR 2019?
“I guess my goals and expectations we have a long history of winning with all the manufacturers championships and driver’s championships that we have amassed over the years and like I said earlier, the fact that we have the best teams in the industry. You know, last year was not a good year for us, it wasn’t because the drivers forgot how to drive, the engineers didn’t forget how to engineer, the crew chiefs didn’t forget how to crew chief, just there was a confluence of events I would say that led us to a very dissatisfying year. So, I think this year, again with the industry reset I really expected us to float back up toward the top and have a much better season than we did last year.”
DO YOU THINK THE OSS SYSTEM IS STILL GOING TO HAVE A BIG IMPACT ON COMPETITION OR DO YOU THINK THEY HAVE THE BUGS WORKED OUT?
“I think they have had the bugs worked out. I don’t think it was a matter of the system being buggy, I think it was really a matter of how it was applied and how it was used. We recently learned a little bit about some enhancements that they made to that system. NASCAR’s transparency with that I think helps everyone understand what the guidelines are and how to deal with it. I think we are on a much more level playing field in terms of understanding how it is going to work this year than we were last year.”
ALL THREE OF THE MANUFACTURERS HAVE A VARIED LINE-UP OF DRIVERS. HOW DO YOU FEEL CHEVROLET IS POSITIONED WITH REALLY TWO VETERANS AND MOSTLY A YOUTH MOVEMENT WITHIN THE CAMP?
“I think we are in a good position. You’ve got guys like Chase Elliott who won three races last year certainly coming into his own. I think William Byron with a year under his belt as a young guy is going to do a good job again this year. I think there are veterans like… I mean Austin Dillon is practically a veteran now. He is not an old guy, but he has quite a few years of racing under his belt. Even Kyle Larson, I’m not sure how long he’s been in the Cup Series, but he has certainly been racing for a very long time, so he’s a racing veteran. I think those guys, the veterans are in a position to really figure things out and work with their teams, their crew chiefs, their engineers to help them understand what the cars need and I think as a result, that will help the cars performance potential be there for the young guys to take advantage of.”