If I could be a fly in a NASCAR Notebook
In the press conference Johnson was asked “You’re part of a four car group with Jeff and the rest of the guys. How come they can’t get up to where you guys are? Is it not a fully open shop?”
I am certain that just about every fan has wondered that very question. Jimmie Johnson’s response sounds plausible.
Johnson said, “There are four cars. We all have the same equipment. We do develop our own styles as far as a driver, a crew chief, the way we set our cars up. We kind of migrate off into different directions, although they are close together. We do end up with differences in our cars. That boils down to the crew chief and driver styles.”
“We all have the same equipment.” That just resonates with me. Throw in “driver styles” and the gears just start churning. The engineer in me wants to equate the different styles into physical car differences.
On any given weekend, what is the difference in camber in the right front tires from Jimmie Johnson to Dale Earnhardt Jr.? Do Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne match or are they different still? If I had to guess I would guess the camber on the tires is very close to the same on all four cars.
What about the Wedge? Every week we hear about how this team or that team takes wedge in or out of the car by turning the wedge wrench in the right side of the rear window. Do all four drivers start the race with the same wedge or are they all different due to adjustments during practice? Do they all end up being the same after adjusting throughout a race even though they didn’t start the same?
We can ask the same exact questions about the position of the Track Bar which gets adjusted from the left side window.
I used to think Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards used the exact same set ups because their driving styles seemed similar. I don’t anymore as they now appear to have different styles.
It sure would be interesting for me to compare just those three adjustments to cars that are supposed to be the same for each of the Hendrick Motorsports drivers. Throw in the Stewart-Haas Racing drivers Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick who also have the same cars and then you would have something.
I bet it would make one cool spreadsheet, well cool to me. One thing for certain we don’t know and will never know because these teams are not giving up any advantage they may or may not have. Too bad I think it would be interesting.