Sprint Cup - Team Toyota Rain Delay Driver Comments
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Will the rain impact the track and grip? "Yeah, it rained today and hopefully we see racing tomorrow. It's not going to change the track that much. It's not a big handling race track, so it shouldn't change much. Just another day to be thinking about it -- another day to be getting ready. Go to sleep and go at it again tomorrow at noon."
Will this impact your team's preparation for Phoenix? "That's probably a better question for Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) than me, but I know at the shop it takes a day away from being home and working on these cars. It's going to be a little tough to do all that, but what can you do? It's the same for everybody, so hopefully we're ahead of schedule enough that we can afford to miss a day."
DAVE ROGERS, crew chief, No. 18 M&M's Brown Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What do you think about the race being postponed until Monday? "This has proved to be a historic event -- 54 years and the first time the Daytona 500 has ever been rained out. Everyone wishes we could have raced today. It's an exciting day to be down here in Daytona. The first race of the year and we were real excited to get on the race track and see how strong our Toyota Camry is -- obviously want to duplicate our performance from the Shootout last Saturday, but we're going to have to wait another day. Tomorrow's looking pretty bad too -- 80 percent chance of thunderstorms and then as a race team you start to think about the logistics. Phoenix is next week -- it's a long trip for these transport drivers. If it gets delayed too long, it could have consequences that bleed over into next week's event. Hopefully, Mother Nature will cooperate and we'll get the Daytona 500 in tomorrow afternoon."
Will the weather impact the track surface? "It certainly will, but this track still has a lot of grip in it. The pavement is still fresh. I would be more concerned at other tracks than I am here at Daytona. There's definitely some things you have to think about. You can't really do anything about it, but the cooling. We were all excited to race on a cooler day -- low 60s. That means we can get a little more aggressive, we can push on people a little bit more and not have to worry about that water temp as much. If we end up racing in 70, 75, 80 degree weather then obviously the drivers aren't going to be able to push as hard and you're going to have some affects there. The weather is definitely going to affect the way the race plays out, but at this point, as a crew chief there's not much you can do because you can't work on the cars at all. We just have to stay here and play it out."
DARIAN GRUBB, crew chief, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What do you think about the race being postponed until Monday? "Just honestly looking forward to get racing at some point. The weather's not looking the greatest for tomorrow morning, but hopefully it will all blow through and we'll be ready to go."
Will the weather impact the track surface? "I don't think so. The temperature and stuff is supposed to be about the same. Everything is going to be the same as we've had all weekend. Just a lot of riding for around 400 miles and race the last 100 and see how it goes.
Do you have to manage your team's focus? "A little bit. We've been down here for a week and a half already, so now just getting them all back to the hotel rooms or flying back home again and then get them back down here again tomorrow, so hopefully it will be clear weather and everybody will come in with their game face on."
JASON RATCLIFF, crew chief, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing How does this rain affect the race team? "I think the biggest thing for us would be getting prepared to go to Phoenix actually. Getting it in today would be a plus as far as staying on schedule. If not, the thing is that tomorrow doesn't look any better than today. Hopefully, it will turn into a night race -- I like night races. We'll see -- looks like it may clear out here this afternoon and they've got lights so there's a lot of hope for getting it in today. For us, we're kind of looking towards next week because it's west coast. You go out there and you're going to be in Phoenix and Vegas the next couple weeks. Being prepared for those things -- obviously, our cars are prepared, but as far as the team being prepared to go out there in case we are here Monday or even Tuesday. Other than that, it's no big deal. The Home Depot Camry is going to be good whenever we do get the thing going. Joey (Logano) was pretty happy with it in practice so I don't think racing it at night versus the day -- I think a few minor adjustments on pit road to get it where it needs to be, regardless of when we race."
JASON RATCLIFF, crew chief, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (continued) How difficult will it be getting to Phoenix if we have to race Monday? "It really won't be any more difficult. As far as the turnaround time -- it will be. Getting the truck back and getting that turned around. From that standpoint, it will be difficult. As far as being prepared as a race team, we'll just have to start doing some of our prep work here at the race track that we typically do at the shop. Those are the things that we're working on right now -- getting prepared for Phoenix and Vegas. Really, the hardest group that it's on is the truck drivers. Getting the trucks back and getting those turned around and cleaned up. Especially when you've been here for 10 days and you accumulate a lot of dirty laundry in 10 days. The biggest thing is for those guys. Thankfully, we're not too far from home. Eight hours up the road and we can be home and have this thing turned around. Other than that, it will go off without a hitch."
Does the rain change the racing surface? "It does a little bit. Obviously, with the new surface -- the tire is pretty durable here. Goodyear brought a tire that's really durable because the surface is so new. I don't think it's going to show up as much as maybe another race track that had an older, abrasive surface. It's going to be much cooler outside -- the track is going to be green. It could change dramatically until we get some rubber back on the track. Then as the temperatures start dropping, we may see something that is more similar to what we saw in the Shootout than what we saw in the 150s."
Do you expect drivers to be patient when we start the race? "I hope so. I think either way -- after watching the Truck race and the Nationwide race, my gut is that all these guys are going to want to get to lap 100 or 140 before we get too crazy here. The goal right now for everybody is going to be -- you hear this all the time, but it's true -- you don't stand a chance at winning if you're not racing in it. You have some guys that are going to get impatient and you try to watch them. If guys look like they get really racy, I think we'll kind of back out and maybe find a couple guys and drop back for a little bit and try to stay clear of that. Our goal is just keep working on our car, stay in the hunt all day and try to be there with 10 (laps) to go. If we're there with 10 to go, I think we've had a strong enough car all week to give them a run for it."
Will you be focused on the halfway point of the race? "With the forecast right now looking even worse -- not worse, but as bad tomorrow as it does right now, you have to think that if they get it dry and we get on the track then at any moment it could come down and stay awhile. I think if you can get to the 100-lap mark, you have to be thinking about it at least."
BRIAN PATTIE, crew chief, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Will this weather affect your strategy or setup? "I don't know that it changes much here. If we were at an intermediate track, it would probably change the setup somewhat, but we're so wide open here. It actually gains grip, so it wouldn't be a bad thing for us. Definitely cooler weather would help our Toyota run better, I think. I don't know if I would change anything. Just trying to keep people focused for long is kind of hard, but thankfully we have 5-hour ENERGY for us."
Is fatigue a concern as the day goes on? "I don't think so. The pit crew guys are athletes. They train all winter. They train all the time, so they're in great condition, so I don't think it's going to be a fatigue issue. The team guys here have done a good job prepping the cars. I don't know that anything will really change."
Does this impact your preparation for Phoenix? "Not really. Back at the shop, we've been working hard. We've been working on Phoenix, Vegas and Bristol for quite some time, so it's nothing. Most teams in this industry are well ahead. They're not week-to-week and neither are we, so we're well ahead. Well go back, probably a day worth of work and load them up and send them to Phoenix."