Volume III, Issue 6, Page 20
With John Carollo

I’m one of you. Long before my first article or big name interview and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been a stock car fan. So for that reason, my name doesn’t matter and neither does my photo. It’s more like we’re just sitting here in the grandstand before the race, talking about Chevys and NASCAR. Hey, you want a cold one? --JC

Chevy’s Ducks Ain’t in a Row

Pop quiz! What’s the difference between Chevy’s current win record in NASCAR and that famous ship, the Titanic? Well kids, the Titanic had a band.

Okay, it’s not that bad. But as loyal Chevy steerage, we’re sucking wind here this season.

Let’s recap. The Dodges done stomped a mud hole in the butts of everybody back at Daytona. Then those dang Furds figured out how to kick major booty on the intermediate tracks. ‘Bout that time, them pesky Tie-Odas finally come alive and run the table on pretty much any kinda track they wanted (I’m telling ya, it’s their motors, man!).

Then, the Dodges come outta hibernation and commenced to winnin’ again. Do ya see the pattern here? Bottom line is Chevy has only copped three times in 14 races. And it’s not looking too much better for the upcoming races as Dodge and those Tie-Odas seem to be the breakaway leaders. We kinda got this mental picture of Chevy and Furd sitting on their butts in a cloud of dust with a WTF look on their face while the others are running down the track for another win.

Now, you may be asking yourself why this is. Well, I know we been pounding on this for a spell, but it’s the new car. It’s just flat incredible how much that car has changed racin’. And that’s for everybody! Here’s a few points that show how things been turned around in NASCAR. One is the way the boys have to drive them doggies. A driver we know, who shall remain nameless, admitted he had to develop a completely new way to drive. Now, getting a driver to do that, much less admit it, is about as easy as me trying to talk without using cuss words (Editor’s note: He’s right!)

When a driver has to change his driving style, it’s a huge deal. Keep in mind, we’re talking about his TOTAL driving style, not just how he gets into a corner or drives outta it. I don’t reckon having to do that would be too easy. Think if you had to change how you did your job. Not just one or two things about how you work but everything. It’d be damn tough. Anyway, these guys are driving the cars differently and, of course, that means their chassis set-ups are way different, too.

Radical chassis set-ups mean big changes to the car’s structure, design and just how it works. The cars are still evolving. Didja know they are already building the second- and third-generations of these cars? Ol’ Kasey Kahne already said his team is using brand new design cars they just got done building. In fact, the car he won Pocono with – you remember, the one that came from all the way in the back to easily cruise on for a win? – was the first of the new cars from those Dodge boys. Designing and building all-new cars is a big ‘ol hassle so you know that taking that major step was no easy pill to swallow. But they did it ‘cause they want to win and they done found out that’s what it takes.

Then there’s something that is part of every kind of racing, be it NASCAR or Soap Box Derby. That would be your basic ‘limitations’. Every car has limitations. They’re usually directly related to the rules and equipment being used. Well, the biggest limitation on the new car is the difference in the amount of downforce. It’s almost like Sprint Car racing with and without those barn door wings they use. The new car in NASCAR has mucho less downforce than the old ones.

Now, I’m still trying to find just how much as in numbers or percentages but nobody’s talking. So less downforce means they have to roll off the pedal as they go into the turns a whole lot more, and even in a different way. Then they gotta ease on outta the corners instead of just mashing the pedal. And downforce affects a bunch of other stuff, too. We won’t bog you down with all the techno crap, so let’s just say that all those notebooks they kept on the old car, with info for dozens of chassis set ups and thousands of adjustments, are sitting in a locker somewhere because they’re as useless as reality TV shows.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Like we said, Chevy has three wins. And dig this! As of right now, there are five Chevys in the Top Ten points. But dang, we sure miss those winning burnouts. It’s kinda like we said earlier this year – we been spoiled. So I guess we’ll keep watching and see if they can get up on the wheel and back to winning. ‘Sides, even the Furd guys know that when Jr. wins, the track where it happens will go abso-tively crazy-nuts! And that could be the kick in the pants we need about now. There’s been some damn fine racing so far this year, aint’ it? Just wish we were on the good side of it.

Other news Humpy Wheeler, a man who we all respect for what he is in this biz, recently said the late Dale Earnhardt could “…drive the pure hell out of a race car.” It was part of Humpy’s retirement speech from his job as promoter of Lowes Motor Speedway. Humpy and the speedway are responsible for many of the nice things we see at ALL speedways across the U.S. Yep, him and his team done set the bar for giving us all the very best racin’ has to offer. Thanks a million, Humpy! I’m gonna have to go get a biscuit with that man so he can tell me more good Chevy stories for y’all.  

 

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