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PHOENIX -- As a former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion crew chief, Jimmy Fennig is no stranger to success on the race track. Now in charge of overseeing all of Roush Fenway’s R&D testing development, Fennig talked to Ford Racing about what he has done to help bring added success to the stable of cars at Phoenix this weekend.
Q. HAVE YOU DONE ANYTHING SPECIAL TO PREPARE FOR THE PHOENIX RACE?
A. Well, last November and December we went with Matt and Greg out to Phoenix to do a tire test for Goodyear. Chip Bolin, Matt’s engineer, came up with a new geometry that we incorporated on our R&D car. We tested it and Matt and Greg both liked that new geometry, so hopefully when it comes time to race, there will be something there.
Q. IS THERE ANY PARTICULAR REASON WHY THE FLAT TRACKS LIKE PHOENIX WERE SUCH A PROBLEM LAST YEAR?
A. I don’t know. I guess we didn’t spend enough time working on them. Hopefully, because we’ve tested there and have worked hard during the off-season, we’ve improved. Just in looking at different geometries and stuff like that, I believe they hit on something to make the front ends work a little bit better. That was the biggest problem.
Q. IN YOUR ROLE AS R&D DIRECTOR, ARE THERE THINGS YOU CAN DO IN THE SHOP TO PROVE OUT WHAT YOU LEARNED ON THE TRACK?
A. Yeah, we incorporate everything. We have been working hard on aero. No matter if it is a mile, half-mile or mile-and-a-half, aero is aero and we have been working hard on that. Everybody this winter has been working extremely hard at it.
Q. WITH ALL THE HARD WORK YOU’VE DONE, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE AT PHOENIX COME RACE DAY?
A. Hopefully, we will see these Roush cars running in the top-10. We have to keep on working on it, that is what we are there for. I think as a group, throughout the whole company, we have made better race cars. The simulations are better and everybody has been working very hard at getting better.
Q. WAS THERE A PRIORITY LIST AT THE END OF LAST SEASON IN TERMS OF WHAT NEEDED TO BE WORKED ON?
A. No, because last year if you looked at all our race tracks we weren’t winning. If you aren’t winning, you aren’t racing. We are looking at everything across the whole board and trying to improve on everything.