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 Whelen Modified Tour and Southern Modified Tour release expanded 2015 schedules

    Dec 17, 2014, 8:47 PM EST

    nbc whelen modified tour logo

    NASCAR revealed the 2015 schedules for the Whelen Modified Tour and its Southwest Modified Tour, including a first-time visit at the legendary Hickory (NC) Motor Speedway.

  2. Blast from the past: British video shows what NHRA was like back in 1990

    Dec 17, 2014, 7:23 PM EST

    (AP Photo/NHRA) AP

    Do you like watching old racing videos and programs from the past? If so, you’re going to love this BBC video about NHRA drag racing from back in 1990.

  3. NASCAR America: Kurt Busch testifies in protection order hearing (video)

    Dec 17, 2014, 6:38 PM EST

    (AP Photo/Terry Renna, File) AP

    Kurt Busch got the chance to tell his side in the legal battle with former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll. We break down what Kurt said in court on NASCAR America.

  4. Kurt Busch calls ex-girlfriend’s allegations a ‘fabrication’

    Dec 17, 2014, 5:16 PM EST

    Kurt Busch and Patricia Driscoll in happier times at the 2013 NASCAR Awards Banquet in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison, File) AP

    Kurt Busch testified Wednesday he asked former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll numerous times to leave his motorcoach on the night she claims the NASCAR driver struck her head several times.

  5. Daytona Rising begins race to finish line of Phase 1

    Dec 17, 2014, 3:03 PM EST

    daytona rising logo

    The race to the finish line of Phase 1 of Daytona Rising at Daytona International Speedway kicked into high gear Wednesday, with a record 1,002 construction workers on-site.

  6. Insight: Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup’s presence in F1, and America

    Dec 17, 2014, 3:00 PM EST

    Photo: Porsche Photo: Porsche

    Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup’s status grew in 2014. We caught up with the series manager during Austin F1 weekend.

  7. Expect IndyCar’s Hinch, RHR in Rolex 24 rides

    Dec 17, 2014, 1:30 PM EST

    James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay AP

    At least two IndyCar stars will join the Rolex 24 lineup, but teams are TBD.

  8. Ben Kennedy, great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., signs with Red Horse Racing

    Dec 17, 2014, 1:23 PM EST

    (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images) Getty Images

    Ben Kennedy, the great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and 2014 Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year, will race for Red Horse Racing in 2015, the team announced Wednesday.

  9. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 14 Greg Biffle

    Dec 17, 2014, 12:46 PM EST

    (David Becker/Getty Images) Getty Images

    As we continue our series on the top 30 drivers of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, next up is series veteran Greg Biffle.

  10. IndyCar: Hinchcliffe completes “get to know you” first test with SPM

    Dec 17, 2014, 12:10 PM EST

    Road America Getty Images

    James Hinchcliffe tests Tuesday at Sebring with Schmidt Peterson.

  11. Top NASCAR stories of 2014: No. 14 – Matt Crafton doubles up in the Trucks

    Dec 17, 2014, 12:00 PM EST

    NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Banquet Getty Images

    Crafton made history in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this year as its first back-to-back champion.

  12. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 13 A.J. Allmendinger

    Dec 17, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    GoBowling.com 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Allmendinger propelled his single-car team into the Chase with a win at Watkins Glen.

  13. IndyCar: Coyne makes first offseason announcement with new shock engineer

    Dec 17, 2014, 9:00 AM EST

    Shell Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston - Day 3 Getty Images

    No drivers, but DCR’s shock/damper program should be good in 2015.

  14. NASCAR AMERICA: The end is coming for the Sprint era (VIDEO)

    Dec 16, 2014, 8:04 PM EST

    Ford EcoBoost 400 Getty Images

    It’s not an ideal situation for NASCAR, but as the NASCAR AMERICA gang explained today, it’s not a hopeless one either.

  15. Kurt Busch’s ex-girlfriend testifies in protection order hearing

    Dec 16, 2014, 7:14 PM EST

    kurt busch sonoma Getty Images

    Patricia Driscoll broke down on the stand during the hearing in Dover, Delaware.

  16. F1: Gene Haas among possible bidders at ongoing Marussia auction

    Dec 16, 2014, 5:30 PM EST

    Gene Haas Formula One Press Conference Getty Images

    A two-day website auction on the assets of the former F1 outfit began today.

  17. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA breaks down Sprint’s decision at 5 p.m. ET

    Dec 16, 2014, 4:30 PM EST

    Food City 500 Practice Getty Images

    Coming up: What will Sprint’s departure in 2016 mean for NASCAR’s future?; Steve Letarte revisits his final race as a crew chief; more on the health of Brian Vickers; the inspiring story of the NHRA’s Jay Blake.

Video from NASCAR America

Can next sponsor invigorate NASCAR?
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. D. Suarez (1852)
  2. K. Busch (1850)
  3. M. Tifft (1805)
  4. J. Boston (1710)
  5. A. Self (1622)
  1. C. Coughlin (1262)
  2. S. Heckert (1252)
  3. K. Larson (1222)
  4. D. Kwasniewski (1160)
  5. J. Haley (1094)