CGRFS Bristol Motor Speedway Advance Notes
CGRFS Bristol Motor Speedway Advance Notes
Race: Food City 500 on Sunday, March 16 (NSCS)
Sharpie Mini 300 on Saturday, March 15 (NNS)
Track: Bristol Motor Speedway (.533 miles)
Location: Bristol, Tenn.
Dario Franchitti and No. 40 The Hartford and No. 40 Fastenal Dodge Teams (NSCS/NNS)
2 Weeks in a Row: Franchitti leads the Raybestos Rookie of the Year race in both the NSCS (41-39 over Sam Hornish, Jr) and the NNS (47-34 over CGRFS teammate Bryan Clauson) for the second weekend in a row.
Eye in the Sky: Keep up with Franchitti’s rookie seasons in NSCS and NNS on FOXSports.com as No.40 car spotter Mike Calinoff chronicles the team’s weekly happenings in his blog titled Eye in the Sky.
Going Stag in Bristol: New sponsor The Hartford will debut on the No. 40 car this weekend as the company’s sponsorship and other marketing efforts will be used to connect The Hartford’s auto and homeowners products to legions of racing fans. Bearing The Hartford’s distinctive colors, the maroon and yellow race car will feature The Hartford’s branding on the hood, TV and quarter panels. Franchitti will wear a maroon and yellow fire suit featuring The Hartford and the stag logo. The Hartford, a Fortune 100 company, is one of the nation's largest diversified financial services companies, with 2007 revenues of $25.9 billion. The Hartford is a leading provider of investment products, life insurance and group benefits; automobile and homeowners products; and business property and casualty insurance. International operations are located in Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil and Ireland. The Hartford's Internet address is www.thehartford.com.
Question: What are your expectations heading into Bristol and what is the best advice you can give your driver Dario Franchitti?
Brad Parrott: “Bristol luckily is a two- and three-lane race track now. They re-concreted it last year which made it a real maneuverable place that will benefit Dario because he likes to run the bottom of the track and has been doing that the last couple of weeks. With the multiple grooves, it will give him some areas to pass cars on the bottom. The biggest challenge he has is running so much closer to the other cars. Those guys are crammed on the track and he is going to be closer to them than he has in the past.
“We are really looking forward to Bristol. Last year at this time, we were heading to Bristol with Juan Pablo Montoya for his first race there and he wasn’t looking forward to it but he came out with one of his best efforts of the year in the Nationwide Dodge. I know Dario will like it at the end of the day, if he comes out of there with all four tires and four fenders on the car.
“The best advice I can give Dario, in regard to keeping his cool at a place where that doesn’t usually happen is keep things in perspective. He is a very level-headed guy so I will just keep reminding him to maintain that. It will be my job to keep him calm. The biggest challenge is just having the mindset and focus to run 300 laps at Bristol on Saturday and then 500 laps on Sunday.”
This is going to be your first time your tires have touched the track at Bristol Motor Speedway. How do you prepare for a race at a place like BMS? “Bristol is one of those race tracks I walk into and almost gasp because it really is an amazing sports facility. The way the entire race track is enclosed with the stands is something you have to see in-person to truly believe it and appreciate it. I have been really looking forward to this weekend since the beginning of the year. I have always had a lot of fun just watching races there, so if it is as fun to race there as it is to watch, it will be good. It is a lot different than what it used to be since it was re-concreted. Being able to run three and four wide there is going to be fun. I watched Reed and the guys race on the new surface last year. I watched what changes helped and which didn’t help there throughout the race weekend so I have a pretty good handle on all of that. It is suppose to rain on Friday which is not good for us so we may be racing with limited practice. That means we will have to pull from all of the watching and learning from last season to get the best finish for the No. 41 Polaroid Dodge on Saturday afternoon.
Your teammate Dario Franchitti has never raced at Bristol either. Actually, I think he has only flown over the track in his helicopter. Are there any other folks in the garage you plan to seek out for advice or direction? “We will lean on a lot of guys and lean on Reed. He has run well there in the Nationwide car, but just hasn’t had the best luck. He seems to like the place, too, so I will definitely be talking with him and any of the open-wheel guys I have talked to in the past like Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne. They have all been very helpful and open with information to help me learn these new tracks. I will try to find them at some point to help get ourselves prepared for Saturday.”