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Dodge charge at Daytona; Parsons paved way
The Ganassi organization has made some significant gains with the restrictor-plate engine. Last July at Daytona, David Stremme's car had to get into the Pepsi 400 on time, and he qualified third. Last week, however, Reed Sorenson and the No. 41 Dodge with crew chief Jimmy Elledge actually had an engine problem. They didn't wait until the test was over. They brought back the engine to make sure they could rectify the problem for David Stremme and Juan Pablo Montoya. It looks like it worked because both cars were in the top six in single-car runs on Monday, and they topped the chart on Tuesday morning.
Evernham not showing his handScott from West Valley City, Utah: Hi Larry, I noticed that Kasey Kahne was 14th out of 28 drivers in last week's test. Do you have any inside scoop as to why? Perhaps they are trying to test various setups to figure out the best setup for the new nose. Larry McReynolds: I talked to Kurt Busch's crew chief, Roy McCauley, on Monday, and he said these cars definitely have to be run a little different than they were run with the old nose. The aero balance of the car has changed a little bit. Kahne's teammate, Scott Riggs, was sixth-fastest last week. His other Evernham Motorsports teammate, Elliott Sadler, was sixth-quickest on Tuesday morning.
I wouldn't be too concerned about the Dodges, in particular the Evernham Dodges. When you go to Daytona, you have an agenda. Even though you never stop looking at the speed charts, sometimes you have a test plan and aren't get worried about what you're doing for speed. You're just gathering data. Ray Evernham is notorious for not showing his full hand at testing. He was that way when he was Jeff Gordon's crew chief. He's been that way as a car owner. Back in 2001, he shocked the racing world when he sat on the pole for the Daytona 500, Dodge's first race back in Cup racing. I wouldn't get too concerned because I'm seeing a lot of hope in the Dodge camp with Kahne's teammates and the Ganassi Dodges.
Parsons loved racingIt's been a rough month already for the NASCAR community and it's just half gone. Kenny Wallace's father-in-law passed away on Tuesday morning. Lyn Jeffers who had been the NASCAR on FOX stage manager in the booth ever since the first year passed away a couple of weeks ago.
|Speed Mail Larry McReynolds|
Competing against Benny Parsons for a number of years, I never saw anyone mad at him after a race, and I never saw Benny mad at anyone. He probably had every right to be angry at others or himself on several occasions, but if you looked up the word "gentleman" in the dictionary, you'd see Benny Parsons' name pretty close to it. He loved this sport. On days when he wasn't broadcasting, he would still see be in the garage, leaned up against a toolbox, talking to drivers and crew chiefs. Even though he probably wouldn't have had any shows during testing, you would have seen him wandering around the Daytona garage area during this test session. Not to take anything away from Ned Jarrett, but Benny was one of the first racers to take on the role of broadcast analyst after he left racing. He paved the way for Wally Dallenbach, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Hammond and me. He was the first guy to say, "Gosh, I'm not racing anymore. Why don't I go up there and talk about the sport that I love?" Even though there are a lot of tears in the garage area and in the NASCAR family right now, Benny Parsons would not have wanted to continue life as it had been for him the last three years. He loved life, and he doesn't want us to mourn. He wants us to celebrate his life. As hard as it is to do, that's what we need to do. While nobody probably wanted to test on Tuesday, Benny would have wanted us to keep moving on.
FOX race analyst Larry McReynolds has more than 25 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, crew chief and broadcaster. He and his fellow Crew Chief Club members take you behind the wall at www.crewchiefclub.com.
"How to Become a Winning Crew Chief" is on bookstore shelves, or you may order your own autographed copy from www.DWStore.com.