June 18, 2006 on FOX
PREPARATION KEY FOR WINNING 3M PERFORMANCE 400
CREW CHIEF HAS SEEN MANY THINGS GO WRONG WHEN TEAMS FAILED TO PREPARE
PAUL, Minn. -- When 43 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race teams get
the green flag to start the 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-It
Picture Paper at Michigan International Speedway on June 18, it's
almost certain that at least a few of them won't make it to the
end of the race.
things such as crashes occur in the heat of battle, many times it's
something small that creates a mechanical issue that either sidelines
a car or puts it many
miles behind. And very often poor preparation is to blame.
race teams have detailed checklists that they utilize when preparing
their cars to compete for 400 grueling miles on the two-mile Michigan
track. They know that with the competition as close as it is, and
with speeds reaching more than 190 mph, there is no margin for error.
can't begin to explain the importance of pre-race prep," said
Mike Kelley, a crew chief in the Roush Racing organization that
has won eight times in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competition at MIS. "It's
unlike football where if you fumble, you send the defense out and
if they can hold them from scoring it's really not that big of a
you leave something loose, or put the wrong spring in, your day
will be done. I'm not saying you can't overcome some issues but
most likely it's going to ruin your shot at a good finish,"
Race preparation begins before the team even leaves its headquarters
and continues right up until the time that the car is pushed to
the starting lineup on pit road prior to the race. Though NASCAR
regulations limit what can be done with the car after qualifying,
teams still do all that they can to ensure the car is ready to start
and finish the race.
rely a lot on my guys to make sure the car is assembled, and everything
is tight," said Kelley. "You have to believe in your people
and the job they do. I have enough worries with meetings and race
day items that I'm pretty hands off on race day. I watch over and
check with them just so nothing is missed but they are professionals
also and do a great job."
is now crew chief for the 3M Ford Fusion driven by Todd Kluever,
has been in racing for more than 10 years and has seen things go
wrong when a car wasn't properly prepared. Sometimes things are
obvious, but sometimes they are not.
was on a team where they were in a hurry and they forgot to check
the length of the rear chains, between the chassis and the rear
end housing," he said. "During a pit stop the left rear
wouldn't come off the ground. We had to attempt to fix it during
the race and it just made for a long afternoon."
preparation is so intricate that even details, such as making sure
there are enough Post-It Notes on hand during the event are crucial.
"It's amazing how such a small item can become such a high
demand tool when you’re under race-day pressure," he
said. "We use Post-It Notes regularly on race day. The team
passes notes to me, and my engineer. We use them for reminders.
The hectic schedule of the race doesn't allow us to fill out paper
work so on Mondays the first thing on my list of things to do is
go through all my Post-It Notes and organize them."
a long history in NASCAR, dating back to 1969, and Kelley said race
teams look forward to events in the Irish Hills of Michigan.
is one of the greatest tracks we go to," said Kelley. "It's
a very high speed two-mile oval so aero plays a big part in it.
We try to take the very best car every week but if you have a really
good aero car I would rather take it to Michigan than say Richmond.
The set up is important also because if you are tight at all and
can't stay in the gas you will lose a lot of straightaway speed
and that will kill you there."
that race fans and other consumers can learn from the preparation
that race teams do and translate the knowledge into their everyday
should treat their street cars in the same manor we treat our race
cars," he said. "Whether you're doing regular maintenance
or planning to go on a long, you should have a checklist to go over.
Check your tires air pressure, check your oil level. Make sure your
engine coolant level is where the manufacturer's specs are. There
are a lot of similarities between our cars and the consumer's street
vehicle. If they're not ready to run, a lot of painful memories
can be created – I'd rather have good memories from my weekends
at the track--I think everyone would. Attention to detail applies
in a lot of areas of life. But in our case it's really our way of
for both NEXTEL Cup Series races at MIS, the June 18 3M Performance
400 presented by Post-it® Picture Paper and the August 20 GFS
Marketplace 400, are currently on sale at MIS’ official website,
by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.
Tickets to all other events, which include the IRL IndyCar Series,
the NASCAR Busch Series, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and
the ARCA RE/MAX Series are also now available.
For tickets and information
regarding events at MIS, log on to www.MISpeedway.com,
or call the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.
to our 3M
Performance 400 Index.
for all your Nascar
Tickets. We have premium Nascar
Nextel Cup Series Tickets for all Nascar
the MIS Ticket Hotline
354-1010 or (517) 592-6672
online 24/7 at www.MISpeedway.com
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