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Above the Pit Box: Danny Stockman

Nine races into the 2014 season, fourth-year Richard Childress Racing crew chief Danny Stockman assess his No. 3 NASCAR Nationwide Series team as “just getting started.”

Stockman’s wheelman, Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Ty Dillon, has six top-10 finishes, so far, this season. This same No. 3 team won the Nationwide Series championship last season with Stockman calling the shots, and is currently tied for fourth in the driver point standings.

But Stockman wants more. He is in a similar position as he was this time last season with older brother Austin Dillon, but the championship-winning crew chief sees his team as the experienced bunch in the garage; thus the high expectations.

Stockman, from Ontario, Calif., has had success at Iowa Speedway in the past. In the 270-lap race last June his team won the pole, led 207 laps and finished second. Later that year, the team recorded another top-five finish. In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Stockman got a taste of victory lane in July 2010 at the 7/8-mile track.
We spoke with Stockman about this weekend’s Get to Know Newton 250 presented by Sherwin Williams.

This is Ty’s Nationwide Series debut at Iowa Speedway, does that change your approach?
I think we have a really good notebook on the track. We’ve won a truck race out there, Ty has run well there in the Truck Series. We led a lot of laps last season with Austin (Dillon). We probably should have won both of the races in Iowa last season, or at least we had the opportunity to win. We definitely have plenty of notes from that track. Ty has an ARCA Series win and has plenty of laps under his belt, we should be good.

Brian Scott and the No. 2 Nationwide team tested at Iowa just this past week, did you talk to them about their test?
Yes, definitely. I talked to Phil (Gould, No. 2 NNS crew chief) and went through their run-log. We talked about a few different things that they tried; it’s definitely going to benefit us for this up-coming race. The track surface is getting rougher and rougher after each race. They had a bad winter in Iowa this past year, so the track had to do about six different patches on the racing surface. NASCAR wanted to have a few cars go and see if the conditions were going to hold together.

What is the setup like for Iowa Speedway?
Iowa is a short track, but your setup is based around a 1.5-mile setup, almost. It’s not quite a 1.5-mile track, but it’s also not a short track. The setup is a lot different than a place like Richmond, or Loudon, or even Martinsville. I think it’s based around more of a 1.5-mile track.

This weekend’s race is a “stand-alone” event, so no Sprint Cup teams will be there. Does that change anything for the weekend?
These are the races we need to capitalize on. I think it affects the pit crews because teams may not have their normal over-the-wall pit crews or have teams that are Sprint Cup pit crews. We could capitalize on pit road with the team we have. Iowa can often times be a place where mistakes are easily made that are hard to recover from.

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