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October 17, 2013

'From the Pit Box' - Shane Wilson - Talladega Superspeedway

RCR/HHP Photo RCR/HHP Photo

In 2013, Shane Wilson was reunited with driver Brendan Gaughan following a 10-year split, assuming the role of crew chief for the No. 62 Richard Childress Racing entry in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The RCR crew chief joined the company in December 2005 when he was paired with Bakersfield, Calif., native Kevin Harvick to head the No. 21 NASCAR Nationwide Series entry. Since joining the RCR family, Wilson has worked with several of the organization’s drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series.

Thus far this season, Wilson has led Gaughan and the No. 62 team to six top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 17 races.

Q: How do you set up the truck for Talladega Superspeedway?
A:
“You set it up to get the most speed. You’re not usually at the limitation of the tires when racing at Talladega (Superspeedway), so it’s just really about getting the spoiler out of the air and getting the yaw right to where the truck will go the fastest. (Yaw: when looking at the front of the truck to the rear of the truck, you check to see if the spoiler is to the right or left of the front tires.) So the biggest thing is doing what you need to in order to get the most speed out of the truck.”

Q: How does the truck change during a run in the race?
A:
“We always talk about track position, which will apply to this race, but you have to make sure your truck takes off well and handles well throughout the course of a run. The trick to racing well and possibly winning the race, is to make sure the truck is still handling well at the end of a run when you are low on fuel which means that it’ll probably be too loose at the beginning of a run with a full tank of fuel that adds weight in the back of truck. As a crew chief, you have to make sure that you find a happy compromise from the beginning to the end of the run for your driver to make sure they can drive the truck from the beginning until the end of a run, and the race for that matter.”

Q: What are the keys to success at Talladega Superspeedway?
A:
“Staying out of trouble and avoiding the ‘Big One’ is obviously important thing to do when racing at Talladega (Superspeedway), but you must also have speed or it’s going to be a really long day. You build the truck the best that you can in the shop and then make a few solo runs and pack runs once you get to the track to make sure you have the speed you need in both situations. With the new rules, you also have to make sure that you don’t get the motor too hot, which could cause some issues throughout these long superspeedway races.”

Q: What is your favorite race memory of Talladega Superspeedway?
A:
“I have had a couple of really good races at Talladega Superspeedway. Brendan (Gaughan) and I almost won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series there in 2004. We were leading with two laps to go and ended up finishing fourth, we were right there in the mix of things at the end and were very competitive during the race. What made that race so memorable was that was the first time we had some decent success in the Sprint Cup Series. I’ve also won a few Sprint Cup races there with Clint Bowyer. Any time you can win a Sprint Cup race or finish in the top five, you have a lot of fun.”

 

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