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Above the Pit Box: Danny Stockman

Last season, No. 3 NASCAR Nationwide Series crew chief Danny Stockman felt his team could have had some better finishes at the three road course races on the schedule. His team recorded one top-10 with driver Austin Dillon, who went on to win the Series’ championship later that year.

Stockman has younger brother Ty Dillon behind the wheel this season, who has two road course starts under his belt, to date. The two-time championship-winning crew chief is optimistic about his team’s direction and approach as the 2014 schedule comes to the first of three road course races. Stockman took his team to Virginia International Raceway last month to test the five different road course configurations the southern-Virginia track has to offer. The test was beneficial and Stockman has taken an approach of “practice makes perfect” for his team and 22-year-old driver.
The 32-year-old, Winston-Salem, N.C.-native spoke about his approach for this weekend’s race at Wisconsin’s four-mile, 14-turn track.

You can follow Danny on Twitter, @Dstockman3

How do you approach a track like Road America?
Road courses are definitely a change of pace. The challenges are a lot different and we really focus on our race strategy more than anything. The idea is to pit the least amount of times possible and stay on the lead-lap.

How do you set up the car?
The car set up is tremendously different than what we run on a weekly basis turning left. There’s a lot of front-end geometry changes and the front-end settings are different. We’re trying to create as much traction as we can in the rear-end to add more bite. Overall, it’s fun. You have to think about different things that you normally don’t.

Do you like road course racing?
I grew up racing go-karts and working on go-karts, so it’s something I’ve done a lot of my life. I really enjoy making a trip to the road courses three times per year.

What did you learn last season at Road America?
As a company, we struggled there last season. We built all new cars and made a ton of changes to our set up. We lightened our cars up and made them “road race” only cars. We made our engines a lot better.

What’s your pit strategy this weekend?
Our pit strategy is, really, to pit the least amount of times possible. As far as the pit crew goes, it’s completely backward with the fuel-fill being on the right side of the car instead of the left. But it’s like any other week, we practice a lot and we should be just as fast as any other week. Our pit crew guys are world-class athletes, they have been practicing hard, and they’re good at what they do.

Looking at the rest of the field, how do you stack up?
The No. 22 team and the No. 54 team usually has strong cars and talented drivers. We know what we are up against. I think if we can finish all the laps, and be there at the end, we’ll have a successful day.

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