This weekend far and away is the second most prestigious race in NASCAR with the running of the Brickyard 400.
Going there as a crew chief is really a challenge. Sure, it’s just another race in that it pays the exact same amount of points, but the reality is it isn’t just another race. This is Indianapolis Motor Speedway we are talking about and, just like getting ready for the Daytona 500, you have to pay attention to every single detail.
This race track is about horsepower. This race track is about aerodynamics. This race track is about handling. If you can tie all three of those up in a neat little bow, then you have to worry about your crew being as perfect as they can get because believe it or not, but despite the physical size of the track, pit road is really tight and narrow. Literally one little miscue on pit road could get you caught behind four or five other cars and that can really hurt you getting through traffic.
Article continues below ...
You also hope that coming back from this off-week, your driver has been able to get away to reenergize and refocus because this is a race track you have to be darn near-perfect all day if you want a chance to win. You have to be good at drafting. You have to be good at hitting your marks, because if you mess up in one corner it sets off your whole lap. Truly with the speeds we will see at Indy and the degree of difficulty racing there, it ranks right up there with anywhere we race.
Seriously, on Sunday you have to be all but perfect in the Brickyard 400. The folks who have won here in the past have had almost a perfect day. You have to put it all together all race long. Normally this race is where we see what I call the "second half of the season cars." This is where a lot of teams have taken everything they’ve learned up till this point and then put into these cars that will race now until the end of the season.
So I am really interested to see who steps up and makes a statement on the track about that. The Hendrick cars and the Stewart-Haas cars should be strong here. I would bet you that Hendrick and Stewart-Haas have more winners of the Brickyard 400 than any teams combined. To me they are the benchmark when we come to the Brickyard 400 and almost every year you have to go through them to win this race.