NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
JULY 29, 2016
DANNY STOCKMAN, CREW CHIEF, NO. 27 MOEN/MENARDS CHEVROLET SS AND DR. ERIC WARREN, VICE PRESIDENT OF COMPETITION AT RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING, met with members of the media at Pocono Raceway to discuss Stockman’s appointment as crew chief of the No. 27 Chevrolet SS, where the organization is at this point in the season and many other topics. Full Transcript:
TALK ABOUT THIS BEING YOUR FIRST WEEK AS CREW CHIEF OF THE NO. 27 CHEVROLET SS TEAM:
DANNY STOCKMAN: “Well, definitely not much time to prepare and all that stuff. We kind of just had a couple of days at the shop to get ready to come to Pocono. To be quite honest with you, it was more about dealing with the people this week and making sure that the people were pumped up and excited and ready to go compete. It’s important that the people are behind you from the start and it’s important that they are 100 percent ready to go to battle as Eric Warren talks to us about. We need to take this No. 27 team and get them uplifted, get them really pumped up and we need to make a difference this second half of the season. That is what the last three days has been. Obviously, I’m very excited for the opportunity that everybody has given me and everything. It’s been fun. We are looking forward to it. We are looking forward to making a difference in the performance side of things and we will see how it fairs here.”
TALK ABOUT THE DECISION TO MOVE DANNY (STOCKMAN) FROM THE XFINITY SERIES TO THE CUP SERIES AND WHAT YOU HAVE SEEN IN HIM AS A CREW CHIEF:
ERIC WARREN: “I think in his position the first thing you are trying to look at is the performance of the organization as a whole. We have looked at the No. 3 team and the success Austin (Dillon) has had compared to last year and we are seeing kind of an improved performance in the No. 31. We look at the balance of our team and as has happened multiple times in the years you look at the chemistry of the team and after a while you realize you need to do something to keep performance up. Paul (Menard) made the Chase last year, we felt like it was one of his best years, but to be honest, the last part of the Chase we struggled a little bit. It continued a little bit at the beginning of this year. We are trying to win a race and get in the Chase. It’s not over until it’s over and we know the guys at RCR and the organization is continuing to bring great cars to the track. We are working on some new improvements that hopefully show. There are a few races left that we still feel like we can get in. There is some discussion thinking about it Richard (Childress) and I, do we change in the off season? What do we do here? We basically just realized there was no time better than the present and give us as many races as possible. We have a good organization. We’ve got a lot of support; a lot of people that can help Danny (Stockman) and Justin (Alexander) has been a great asset to RCR and will continue to be so in the future. It’s really about Paul and Danny. They work well together on the Xfinity side, some of the races; it’s just kind of a natural progression.”
ARE YOU SURPRISED TO BE ON TOP OF THE SPEED CHART AFTER THE FIRST PRACTICE?
DANNY STOCKMAN: “You know, definitely, a little bit surprised. I knew that we were headed in the right direction a couple of weeks. RCR as a whole we don’t like to suck. We have been really digging hard as a company to not suck. It’s not fun. Your people get beat down and Eric and Richard and everybody at the shop, we have all the tools to do this right. Well we have got some new stuff that we have been working on as a company and everything it’s never ending. We’ve got to stay ahead of that curve. I feel like right now, like I said, I’m new and I’m scanning through the pictures after practice and walking through the garage here eye balls wide open looking at everybody’s equipment. We have all the stuff. Our stuff is there it’s competitive. We have to stay in front of the curve for the next change. I feel like with Eric in charge of our company he is going to make sure that we do that. It takes time for change and Eric has been here for four years. It takes a long time to put everything together and for it all too finally start coming into where it needs to come into. As far as today, it’s pretty cool being on top of the board. We know what it takes and the areas to look in to make speed. We put it to work and we will see how qualifying goes.”
HOW TOUGH IS IT TO BE PATIENT AND KEEPING FINDING THOSE LITTLE THINGS THAT ARE GOING TO GIVE YOU AN ADVANTAGE?
DANNY STOCKMAN: “You really have to believe in your people first off at the shop. With everybody being on the road so much, you can’t go to the wind tunnel every week. You can’t be at every single pit practice; you can’t do a lot of things that are going on at the shop right now. But, one thing you can do is listen to your people and listen to what they have to tell you in the areas to work in. If you believe in your people and you believe in the direction that the company is headed and you do those things with the information they are providing you and you perfect those little things you are going to make speed. You can’t leave one ‘I’ un-dotted and one ‘T’ uncrossed. It has to be all of it from start to finish from your team being prepared from the splitter being bolted on the car right to two tenths of air pressure. Everything has to be perfect at this level to compete with these guys. I feel with the people I have around me I feel that we can do it.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE STRUGGLES YOU GUYS HAD WITH THE BRAKES EARLIER THIS YEAR AND THE CHANGES YOU MADE IN THAT DEPARTMENT?
ERIC WARREN: “I think a lot of, as Danny said, you are trying to get every little piece of performance out of it. A lot of things you are trying to work on like rotational weights and things like that. Earlier in the year we were probably pushing the weight of the rotors a little too much honestly. We have been looking, as you always do, at different companies, different technologies, who has the lightest weight, we has the best. The downforce is less than last year, so the braking requirements at some of these tracks, I think is continuing to surprise some people. Certainly, we have seen at Kentucky even in a couple of things and it will obviously be worse as we go into less downforce. Definitely made some errors there. I think we understand that a little bit. Hopefully, we are past that. It really was a combination of trying to push too hard on taking too much weight out of the rotors, but it bit us multiple times actually.”
WHAT BRAKE COMPANY ARE YOU GUYS USING?
ERIC WARREN: “We have a combination of AP and Brembo. We actually have both.”
YOU HAVE HAD SOME SUCCESS WITH PAUL IN THE PAST ON THE XFINTIY SIDE HOW MUCH OF THIS DO YOU FEEL IS CHEMISTRY RELATED?
DANNY STOCKMAN: “Definitely chemistry, obviously, most of you know I’ve worked with the boys, both Dillon boys my whole career until mid-way through last season and this season. I will be right honest with everybody that is a stressful deal working for the family. Eric can attest to that. It’s not easy. They are good race car drivers, but it’s not easy working for family. To be honest with you when Paul gets in our Xfinity car or even today it’s weird, it’s all business. You are there to do a job. You are there to race. You are there to perform and there is just not a lot of outside other stuff that is bothering you. All you are working on is trying to make the race car faster and give him the feel that he is after. Paul is really low key kind of real mellow. I’m the opposite. I’m pretty wound up and you guys here me on the radio and stuff yelling and screaming leaving pit road and all that stuff. I think it takes a mixture of both of that to keep the balance even. You can’t be too mellow and you can’t be too amped up or else things just don’t work, but if a happy balance, I think, works good.”
WHY IS IT TAKING SO LONG FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION TO GET BACK TO VICTORY LANE?
ERIC WARREN: “I think we hope to win this weekend. That is what we shoot for. Certainly, I think everyone understand the challenge. Certainly we want to get those wins. That is what we strive for. I think getting back up there in the Winner’s Circle is really going to take some of that weight off our shoulders. Obviously, we all go home on Sunday’s and as everyone in the garage does that is the hard part about this sport. There are 39 teams that go home thinking about where they failed. I guess this will be my 20th season and I have not quite seen the gap in performance that we are seeing this year with the Toyota’s to some of the rest of the field. As an engineer, but also as the leader of a team it kind of makes you step back and really try and understand where that is at. We saw some glimpses of it honestly in the Xfinity Series. There has been just as much domination there. A couple of weeks ago we kind of came close there with Austin and those guys. We kind of have a direction I think that is showing results on the race track. It’s up to us to prove it and finish it. Being fast in practice is great from a morale point of view, but at the end of the day it’s not what this is about. It’s about Sunday. We will see. We have our work cut out for us, but everybody else does as well. We are certainly not going to give up on it.”