Skip to content

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

Mar 11, 2014, 1:50 PM EST

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. NASCAR: John Hunter Nemechek, XFINITY champ Chase Elliott win at SpeedFest

    Jan 25, 2015, 7:34 PM EST

    Lucas Oil 200 - Practice Getty Images

    Nemechek, Elliott victorious in late model doubleheader Sunday at Cordele, Ga.

  2. Site of previously planned NASCAR track in New York to finally be developed

    Jan 25, 2015, 6:00 PM EST

    nascar logo

    Land once earmarked for a new NASCAR track in New York will instead become a big box and manufacturing complex.

  3. ‘Do you get mad when your boyfriend wrecks you?’ Danica Patrick faces kids’ pressing questions

    Jan 25, 2015, 5:38 PM EST

    Credit: NASCAR Credit: NASCAR

    Patrick had fun Sunday taking part in a children’s Q-and-A session at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. But she’s also ready to start her third full season of Sprint Cup racing.

  4. Jeff Gordon to serve as NASCAR TV analyst this season

    Jan 25, 2015, 4:44 PM EST

    Federated Auto Parts 400 Getty Images

    Gordon will be part of a rotation of driver analysts for Fox Sports’ coverage of the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2015.

  5. Renault director: We’re aiming for at least five F1 wins in 2015

    Jan 25, 2015, 3:42 PM EST

    Cyril Abiteboul AP

    Cyril Abiteboul also says Renault is pushing to cut Mercedes’ 2014 horsepower advantage in half by this year’s season opener.

  6. Jack Roush hung up on twice — and Jeff Gordon was gone

    Jan 25, 2015, 2:57 PM EST

    Jack Roush Getty Images

    Jack Roush isn’t used to being hung up on, but Jeff Gordon’s stepfather and business manager did so twice when the Cat in the Hat wanted to sign Gordon to drive a Ford in 1992.

  7. Ganassi’s No. 02 Riley-Ford Scores Rolex 24 Victory

    Jan 25, 2015, 2:22 PM EST

    02rolexwin AP

    Ganassi back on top at Rolex 24 at Daytona.

  8. Rolex extends 23-year sponsor role of Rolex 24 at Daytona

    Jan 25, 2015, 1:58 PM EST

    rolex 24 logo

    Rolex Watch USA will continue to sponsor the Rolex 24 at Daytona, a partnership that began 23 years ago, the watch company and Daytona International Speedway have announced.

  9. Bill Elliott: Ford passed on son Chase, but Hendrick and Chevy rode to the rescue

    Jan 25, 2015, 1:15 PM EST

    Bill and Chase Elliott PHX 2014 Getty Images

    Bill Elliott originally wanted son Chase in a Ford when he began his racing career. But when a deal couldn’t be worked out, the Elliott’s took a deal offered by Rick Hendrick and Chevrolet.

  10. MotorSportsTalk 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona Sunday blog

    Jan 25, 2015, 12:20 PM EST

    MSTblog2 Getty Images

    Sunday has dawned at the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona.

  11. NASCAR: Kyle Larson says he’d “like to try” Le Mans in Twitter Q&A

    Jan 25, 2015, 12:05 PM EST

    Rolex 24 At Daytona Getty Images

    The NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie of the year has been busy helping the No. 02 Ganassi team stay in contention at the Rolex 24.

  12. Rico Abreu says there’s still a lot for him to learn after 1st stock car race

    Jan 25, 2015, 11:14 AM EST

    Credit: RicoAbreu.com Credit: RicoAbreu.com

    The Chili Bowl champion and future NASCAR K&N East driver assesses his night in a Super Late Model car at New Smyrna Speedway.

  13. Trey Canard wins Oakland Supercross, Ryan Dungey takes over 450SX points lead

    Jan 25, 2015, 2:10 AM EST

    trey_canard_supercross_2015_anaheim2_v2 Getty Images

    An early mistake from Ken Roczen shuffled him to the back of the field and resulted in him giving up the points lead.

  14. Malcolm Stewart records first career 250SX win at Oakland Supercross

    Jan 25, 2015, 1:55 AM EST

    malcolm_stewart_supercross_2015_phoenix Getty Images

    Cooper Webb retained the points lead in the 250 Class but had some pointed words for Tyler Bowers after the race.

  15. MotorSportsTalk 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona Saturday blog

    Jan 24, 2015, 11:10 PM EST

    Rolex24post1MST Getty Images

    The 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona is now underway.

  16. Chili Bowl champ Rico Abreu finishes 13th in stock car debut (UPDATED)

    Jan 24, 2015, 10:50 PM EST

    Credit: RicoAbreu.com Credit: RicoAbreu.com

    UPDATED: A pair of disqualifications involving two of Abreu’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East teammates elevate the Chili Bowl champion to a 13th place finish.

  17. Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon moving into NASCAR radio coverage

    Jan 24, 2015, 7:06 PM EST

    SEMA Show NASCAR Announcement Getty Images

    Coon will work on MRN Radio’s live qualifying and race broadcasts in 2015.

  18. Life after Ferrari: Luca di Montezemolo could become head of Rome’s 2024 Olympic bid

    Jan 24, 2015, 5:23 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Italy - Qualifying Getty Images

    Since resigning from Ferrari last fall, Montezemolo has taken over as CEO of an Italian airline and joined the board of directors for F1’s controlling shareholder.

  19. Veterans’ assistance group working to buy Rockingham Speedway

    Jan 24, 2015, 3:08 PM EST

    Carolina 200 Getty Images

    Vets-Help hopes to not only host disabled veterans’ races at the track, but also build a residential complex and rehab center for vets and soldiers returning from war.

  20. NASCAR: Kyle Busch Motorsports responds to Rick Ren lawsuit

    Jan 24, 2015, 1:37 PM EST

    E-Z-GO 200 - Qualifying Getty Images

    Former team competition director alleges that KBM owes him bonus money and commissions from a pair of sponsorships he says he helped get for the team.

Video from NASCAR America

Gordon hesitant to call it 'retirement'
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. B. Vickers (1304)
  2. J. Clements (1300)
  3. M. Waltrip (1281)
  4. K. Grala (1264)
  5. E. Thiering (1263)