Richard Childress Racing
October 2, 2013
From the Pit Box - Kansas Speedway
No. 31 crew chief Luke Lambert tells us what to expect this weekend at Kansas Speedway
This season, 30-year-old Luke Lambert returned to the No. 31 team in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition after spending four years as team engineer, working alongside crew chiefs Todd Berrier and Scott Miller. The No. 31 team scored three wins, 27 top-five and 61 top-10 finishes during the four-year stretch and made three appearances in the prestigious Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. In 2011, Lambert earned two top-five and five top-10 finishes in 17 Sprint Cup Series races as interim crew chief of the No. 31 team, making his debut on top of the pit box at the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The 2005 North Carolina State University mechanical engineering graduate served as crew chief on the No. 2 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide Series during the 2012 season, leading driver Elliott Sadler to four wins, four pole awards, 15 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes en route to a second-place finish in driver championship point standings.
Since taking over as the No. 31 Caterpillar/Cheerios Chevrolet SS crew chief for driver Jeff Burton, the team has scored two top-five and six top-10 finishes and sits 20th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Lambert joined Richard Childress Racing shortly after graduating college as an engineer in September 2005.
Q: How does the team setup the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet for Kansas Speedway?
A: “Kansas Speedway is a high-speed, 1.5-mile race track that was recently repaved and has a nice, smooth racing surface. The new pavement allows for the setups to be aggressive for high-speed downforce optimization. The corners also have a lot of grip so you focus on keeping the best edge through the corners while maintaining downforce optimization. Combining all of those elements together will give you the best lap time.”
Q: How do the track conditions change during a race at Kansas Speedway?
A: “Typically, Kansas Speedway track changes are dependent on the weather. If it is a sunny afternoon, the car will lose overall grip and more sun can also make it free during a race, especially on corner entry. It is similar to most 1.5-mile race tracks across the country.”
Q: What are the keys to success at Kansas Speedway?
A: “Track position is most important at Kansas Speedway. A strong qualifying effort is key and during the race, quick pit stops and staying out of traffic will give our Caterpillar team the best opportunity to be successful.”