From Pit Road: Charlotte

Jimmy Fennig

"We’ve got good records -- good notes on what the ambient (temperature) are going to do and what the track will do." (Photo: Getty Images)

CONCORD, N.C. - Charlotte Motor Speedway was the original of the 1.5-mile tri-ovals that now make up a number of stops on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tour. While they may look similar in many ways, this track is like no other in the challenges it gives teams looking for that winning combination.

“I lost a race one time there when a cloud came over,” said Best Buy Ford crew chief Jimmy Fennig of Roush-Fenway Racing on NASCAR Performance Live Wednesday.

This track has historically been one of the most weather-sensitive tracks on the tour, and even a 2006 re-pave hasn’t changed that aspect of racing here very much.

“It’s still (temperamental)”, continued the winning crew chief from last year’s Bank of America 500. “It’s hard during the day, when it’s 80 degrees, to go practice. It’ slick, but at night it’s a little better.”

Historically the combination was to set the car up in a loose handling condition (rear-end wants to slide out) during the day, knowing that track would tighten up as the night wore one. Recently though, that’s not even the case.

“It’s not predictable,” continued Fennig. “I don’t know if it’s a function of our cars or the tires we have now. You have got to pay attention to notes from the past race to see what everyone was doing. We scan a lot of people to see what everyone is doing.

“We’ve got good records -- good notes on what the ambient (temperature) are going to do and what the track will do. We try to stay up with it. Our engineering staff gives us reports before the weekend on what the track has done.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing is one of the most competitive forms of motorsports in the world; meaning attention to detail makes a significant different. The team that wins here this weekend will not only have a near flawless 500 miles on the track; but some notes from previous events that may provide the key to the winning setup.

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