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. Verstappen flourishes in the wet to qualify sixth in Malaysia

    Mar 28, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1 Getty Images

    Dutch youngster scores the best F1 qualifying result for a teenager in 54 years on Saturday in Malaysia.

  2. Alonso: Q1 exit not a sign of things to come for McLaren

    Mar 28, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT

    Alonso 283 Getty Images

    Spanish driver will make his second debut for McLaren from 18th position on the grid tomorrow.

  3. Hamilton delighted after claiming 40th career pole (VIDEO)

    Mar 28, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    British driver explains the challenge of judging your qualifying lap in the wet after securing pole position in Malaysia on Saturday.

  4. Manor receives dispensation to race in Malaysia despite missing 107% time in qualifying

    Mar 28, 2015, 7:49 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Qualifying Getty Images

    Merhi and Stevens miss the 107% time required to qualify in Malaysia, but are granted dispensation by the FIA stewards.

  5. Vettel hoping for more rain on Sunday after scoring Ferrari’s first front-row start in two years (VIDEO)

    Mar 28, 2015, 7:30 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1 Getty Images

    Felipe Massa was the last driver to start on the front row of the grid for Ferrari, lining up second for the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix.

  6. Rosberg annoyed to qualify third for Malaysian GP

    Mar 28, 2015, 7:10 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1 Getty Images

    German driver cannot improve with his final lap in Q3, leaving him third on the grid behind Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

  7. Hamilton tames wet conditions to grab pole in Malaysia

    Mar 28, 2015, 6:36 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Qualifying Getty Images

    Defending world champion manages to fight through the spray to secure pole position ahead of Vettel and Rosberg.

  8. WATCH LIVE: Malaysian GP qualifying at 5a ET on NBCSN and Live Extra

    Mar 28, 2015, 4:45 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Practice Getty Images

    Could a thunderstorm rain on Mercedes parade? Join us for qualifying from 5a ET today.

  9. Rosberg closes out Malaysian GP practice fastest

    Mar 28, 2015, 3:06 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1 Getty Images

    German driver edges out Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in final practice at Sepang.

  10. WATCH LIVE: Malaysian GP FP3 at 2a ET on Live Extra

    Mar 28, 2015, 1:30 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1 Getty Images

    FP3 for the Malaysian Grand Prix rolls off at 2 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra.

  11. NHRA: Rain washes out Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying four 4-Wide Nationals

    Mar 27, 2015, 7:08 PM EDT

    nhra four-wide nationals

    Rain washed out Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying for this weekend’s 6th annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.

  12. IndyCar: St. Pete practice two scrubbed due to rain, and other notes

    Mar 27, 2015, 6:03 PM EDT

    IndyCar Testing Getty Images

    No IndyCar second practice, and other notes from St. Petersburg.

  13. Pro Mazda: Michael Johnson hospitalized after practice accident

    Mar 27, 2015, 5:50 PM EDT

    Photo: Pro Mazda Photo: Pro Mazda

    Michael Johnson in ICU after practice accident at St. Petersburg.

  14. The Equalization Conundrum: Should F1 put sport to one side in favor of ‘the show’?

    Mar 27, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1 Getty Images

    Are Red Bull’s recent quibbles about Mercedes’ dominance well-reasoned, or is it simply a case of sour grapes?

  15. Marciello enjoys confident first outing for Sauber

    Mar 27, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    Raffaele Marciello AP

    Marciello becomes the first Italian driver in four years to take part in an F1 weekend session.

  16. Palmer to take part in Chinese Grand Prix practice

    Mar 27, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Jolyon Palmer AP

    2014 GP2 champion will take part in his first F1 grand prix weekend session in Shanghai.

  17. Power leads Penske 1-2-3 in IndyCar’s first practice at St. Petersburg (VIDEO)

    Mar 27, 2015, 1:50 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    Will Power leads IndyCar’s opening practice session of 2015.

  18. Tost excited by prospect of Renault buying Toro Rosso

    Mar 27, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Practice Getty Images

    However, Renault could pull out of F1 altogether in the near future should it decide that its involvement is no longer viable.

  19. Vettel unsure where Ferrari stands compared to Mercedes

    Mar 27, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Sebastian Vettel AP

    Hot conditions make for difficult running during practice on Friday.