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Old 11 Jul 2000, 16:33 (Ref:22575)   #1
Join Date: Sep 1998
United States
Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Posts: 2,762
KC should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridKC should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
Autoweek recently asked four current Winston Cup drivers what makes a good road racer. Each of those asked are good at racing a WC car on the road course and each have different racing backgrounds.

Ricky Rudd, driver of the #28 Texaco Havoline Ford Taurus: "Really, oval tracks and road courses are two different things. Being an excellent oval track racer does not make you a good road racer. You could be a scratch golfer, but that does not mean you can swing a baseball bat. They're different skills. It's not the turning left and right. Braking is one part of it. On the ovals everyone brakes with their left foot. So do I. But on a road course you need to be able to brake with your right foot and some people just can't adapt quickly. I's like asking someone who's right-handed to be left-handed for one week of the year and instantly be perfect at it. It's hard. It's a knack. You need to be aggressive with these cars but not put it out there too far. The esses here at Sears Point are like running through the sticks in a downhill ski slalom. You can watch guys really hang it out in the gates and throw up a lot of snow. It looks fast, but really they're just scrubbing off all their speed."

Mark Martin, driver of the #6 Valvoline Ford Taurus: "Oval racing is a repetitive skill that can be learned. Road racing is a talent. I was a good road racer before I ever drove in a road race. It's really no different than back home when I was 14. Road racing is just driving as fast as you can and keeping it between the ditches."

When asked if it took any more discipline or skill to save the brakes or tires during a road race in a WC car he replied: "Not really. If that's a problem, you're probably not doing it right. You'll use up the tires long before the brakes, and if you're abusing the tires you're probably slow anyway. I've been doing this a long time. Fast is fast, the way I see it."

Jerry Nadeau, holds 10 karting titles, and raced in the Barber Pro series, and European Formula Ford and Formula Opel before switching to WC cars: "These are not road race cars. They're really heavy and don't stop very well. They have a lot of horsepower with very little tire under them. You can't get off the corners, and you can't get in the corners. You slide around a lot. Everybody just come shere and does the best they can with them, drives hard and has fun. Sear's Point is a race driver's race track. I like to think if we do have any advanatge here, it's that the track makes the cars more even, and the driver counts more here than other places."

Robby Gordon, multiple desert truck racing champion and former CART champ car driver: "The road course specialists might come in and cut quick qualifying laps, but they can't beat a deep, established Cup team in the race. Our team just doesn't have the experience to be able to win yet. There are too many drivers who can win here... Rudd, Wallace, Martin, Jeff Gordon, the list goes on. There are more all the time. Jerry Nadeau and Scott Pruett have adapted quickly. Nothing in CART crosses over to this. The spring and shock changes apply somewhat, that's about it."

Each driver answered differently and each are rigth in their perspective. An interesting perspective from four very different drivers.

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