Skip to content

Keselowski’s crew chief on cooldown issue: “It’s a tough spot”

Mar 11, 2014, 1:50 PM EDT

Kobalt 400 Getty Images

The most jarring quote from last weekend’s NASCAR activities at Las Vegas Motor Speedway came from Brian Vickers, who said that having to run slow laps on track during qualifying in order to cool down his engine was “the most dangerous thing [he’s] ever done in racing.

But at least at Las Vegas, there was a proper apron that Vickers and other competitors could go to do those slow laps while other competitors zoomed along at speed.

Real estate’s going to be much less available this weekend at the half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway, and with that in mind, the prospect of a nasty wreck between a slow car and an at-speed car is raising more and more alarm.

NASCAR has maintained that it doesn’t want teams to use cool-down units on pit road because it would require the opening of the hoods of their cars, potentially enabling crew members to make illegal adjustments if they were so inclined.

Still, that hasn’t stopped drivers from lobbying NASCAR to make changes to this aspect of the new knockout qualifying format, which has otherwise been accepted as a positive change from the old single-car qualifying format.

Paul Wolfe (pictured, left), crew chief for Las Vegas winner Brad Keselowski and his No. 2 Ford Fusion, said today in a teleconference that Bristol’s tight confines could indeed lead to problems, even if he himself thinks the cooling problem won’t be as pronounced.

“I think the cooling will be obviously a little bit better this week just from the fact that it’s 15-second laps. The engine temps won’t get quite as high,” Wolfe said. “But yeah, trying to go out and cool down at Bristol, yeah, that could be a potential issue.

“There’s really no room to get out of the way, unless you’re just running around on the flat part there on the apron…Every week is bringing a new challenge, a different style of racetrack and tire changes that up some. We’ve just got to prepare for the best.”

Wolfe also said that he wasn’t sure a rule forbidding teams to put tape on their cars’ grill during qualifying would necessarily be a better choice. Additionally, he noted how taxing NASCAR inspectors could have it policing the teams should new rules emerge.

With all of that in mind, he’s focusing on making sure he and his team can quickly adapt to whatever NASCAR decides in regards to the matter – whenever it happens.

“I don’t know, it’s a tough spot,” he said. “I guess for myself and for our team at this point, we’re just trying to be able to react to any type of change that there is and do the best job…As far as the 2 car over the last two weeks, there’s only one instance really where we needed to go out and cool down. I think it’s those guys that are right on the edge that need to make multiple runs.

“…We’re just trying to continue to understand all those dynamics [in qualifying], and as we get to different tracks with different characteristics, just trying to stay on top of it and continue to have strong efforts like we have had the last two weeks.”

Latest Posts
  1. Nelson Piquet, SH Rallycross look for big second year in Red Bull GRC

    May 26, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Photo: Red Bull Content Pool Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

    Look out for Nelson Piquet Jr. and SH Rallycross to have a big year in 2015.

  2. Drivers ponder why cars didn’t go airborne during the Indianapolis 500

    May 25, 2015, 5:40 PM EDT

    Juan Pablo Montoya, Will Power Juan Pablo Montoya, Will Power

    Runner-up Will Power said it’s as simple as making the cars slower.

  3. Juan Pablo Montoya feted by peers worldwide for Indy win

    May 25, 2015, 3:20 PM EDT

    Juan Pablo Montoya Juan Pablo Montoya

    After his second triumph in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, he is ovewhelmed by congratulatory messages.

  4. Montoya’s Indianapolis 500 win adds another storied chapter to the Roger Penske-Chip Ganassi rivalry

    May 25, 2015, 2:12 PM EDT

    Chip Ganassi, Roger Penske Chip Ganassi, Roger Penske

    They are the only car owners to win the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 in the same season.

  5. WSR: Jaafar seizes championship lead with Monaco win

    May 25, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    © Renault Sport © Renault Sport

    The Mercedes-affiliated youngster clinches his first win of the season around the legendary streets of Monaco.

  6. WRC: Latvala claims first win of 2015 at Rally Portugal

    May 25, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    PORTO, PORTUGAL - MAY 24:
Jari Matti Latvala of Finland and Mikka Anttila of Finland compete in their Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen Polo R WRC during Day Three of the WRC Portugal on May 24, 2015 in Porto, Portugal.  (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images) Getty Images

    After a miserable run of form, Latvala finally climbs to the top step of the podium with a narrow win over Sebastien Ogier in Portugal.

  7. Indy 500 results: Andretti P6 in tough day for team; Hildebrand leads one-offs

    May 25, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    MAindy500 Getty Images

    Andretti ends sixth, best of the day for the defending Indy 500-winning team, while Hildebrand leads the one-off drivers.

  8. Grosjean hopes Verstappen learns from Monaco crash

    May 25, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Lotus F1 Team's French driver  Romain Grosjean  drives at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 24, 2015, during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Running inside the top ten, Grosjean’s hopes of points were dashed on Sunday in Monaco when Max Verstappen crashed into him.

  9. Bell: “A wild Indy 500 without the finish we desired”

    May 25, 2015, 10:11 AM EDT

    Photo: DRR IndyCar Photo: DRR IndyCar

    Townsend Bell’s final blog for the Indianapolis 500 touches on family, meeting Jeff Gordon, and a crazy view from the driver’s seat.

  10. Raikkonen frustrated by poor qualifying form in 2015

    May 25, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    xxxx during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 24, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Getty Images

    A sixth-place finish in Monaco disappoints Raikkonen, but he lays blame with his poor qualifying form.

  11. Pagenaud’s stellar month and best ever Indy 500 race to date ends P10

    May 25, 2015, 9:48 AM EDT

    PagsIndy500Final Getty Images

    One of Simon Pagenaud’s best oval races to date ends P10 after running top three most of race.

  12. Rosberg joins Hill, Prost and Senna as Monaco three-peat winners after gifted victory

    May 25, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 24:  Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP celebrates in parc ferme after winning the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 24, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The win may have come by accident, but Rosberg etched his place in F1 history on Sunday.

  13. Kvyat scores career-best result in Monaco after Ricciardo honors in-race agreement

    May 25, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 24:  Daniil Kvyat of Russia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing drives during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 24, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The Red Bull boys finish fourth and fifth in Monaco to give the team something to smile about after a tough start to the season.

  14. Ryan: Juan Pablo Montoya comes full circle at Indianapolis

    May 24, 2015, 7:47 PM EDT

    150524-Juan-Pablo-Montoya Getty Images

    In his second win at the Brickyard, the Team Penske driver delivered a performance that embodies his style.

  15. Rahal once again leads Honda’s charge, banking another top-five in Indy 500

    May 24, 2015, 7:24 PM EDT

    RahalIMSp5 Getty Images

    Once again in 2015, it’s Graham Rahal and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing best of Honda’s brigade.