I have a couple questions for you.
First, Brendan has a reputation as being such a nice guy. Do you think that sometimes drivers take advantage of Brendan because he is so nice? Second, You and Brendan have been working together for a really long time, how has that helped you through the year this far? Third, you and Brendan had been working in Las Vegas for many years in a shop that the Orleans racing truck was in, what was the hardest thing to get used to when you went east??? Personally I would miss In & Out burger. Hehehe. Thanks for your time and good luck on the rest of the team, Las Vegas is rooting for you guys. - Nicole Lawson, Las Vegas, NV
That's a lot of information! I would have to say yes and no to drivers taking advantage of Brendan. Alot of time, we will lose too much time because we are allowing the lead lap drivers to get around us. At the same time, he has done what he needed to do this year which is gain the respect of the other drivers. By not holding them up when they had a faster car, that will come back to us down the road somewhere and we have already seen it. He hasn't gone out like a rookie and wrecked his and others equipment recklessly. He has had a few skirmishes, but they weren't his fault. Not every driver can say that honestly. Secondly, the length of our relationship does help. We have trust in one another that we will get things figured out, sooner or later and that goes along way. Third, the hardest thing to get used to was the new people. We have a great group of guys here at Penske-Jasper Racing, it was just the initial 'first day at school' feeling you get.
Do you feel that your personal friendship with Brendan has an effect on how well you work as a team? - Colleen Lynch
I think so. It makes it easier to communicate. We are not offended by each other's opinions. If you are working on a project with a stranger vs. a friend it is not as easy to say the things you need to say because you have to concern yourselves with how they will take it.
Recently Brendan has mentioned that you guys are getting chassis from the 12 and 2 shop. Are these used chassis from last season or this season and if so are you having to make major changes to them to make them work for Brendan? - Diane McKain
We have got a couple of chassis from the 2 and the 12 and we have to change out the seat. This is not an easy task these days with the safety features and rules. We also have to add a couple of things to update them. Once we get the cars, it will take about a month to make them race ready.
Shane, I was just wondering what size tires and wheels does the team run? And does it change from track to track? - Josh
Basically, the tires are mandated as to what we run. The wheels remain the same. They are 9 1/2" wide and the tread is about 10". The stagger or circumference on the Talladega and Daytona tires vary a little bit. But our wheel size remains the same.
Shane, the qualifying effort of your team has become very consistent. Realizing that there has been quite a bit of bad luck (getting collected in someone else's mistakes almost weekly), what is it going to take to start getting the quality finishes that we are all convinced your team is capable of? - Brent Britton
We talk about this alot in our team meetings before each race. Our equipment has been better. The speed has been there, we just need to execute. You can't make a mistake at this level. You have to have a game plan and you have to execute it throughout the day. When you are competing against drivers like Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to name a few, you can only make a couple of mistakes and recover. You have to focus. When you are racing at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series level, you have to minimize your mistakes. In places like Fontana earlier this year and some of the places where we have run better, we have executed all day. Unfortunately, some of the races here recently we have made mistakes and put ourselves in the position where we were taken out. The entire team takes responsibility for our mistakes. We just need to focus on getting out of the mistakes and stepping to the next level where we are executing our plan instead of having to alter it.
After Brendan's visit here over the Mothers Day weekend, we're big fans and find ourselves in front of the TV each weekend for all the action. It seems that on the fast tracks he always take the mid to high line. Any reason for that? Tell him this question is from the candlemaker in Illinois. - Best Regards, Phil Niemerg
I don't really know why he likes the high line. It worked for him in the truck series, but it has definitely hurt him in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. I think maybe the wider arc feels better to him. With the truck, a driver can go into the turns as hard as he wants, and still turn it down. The cars will not handle that way. I can't really answer for Brendan though, for some reason, he feels more comfortable in the high line.
What has been the biggest challenge for you and Brendan in the switch from Craftsman Truck racing to Nextel Cup cars? - Karen
I'd say, now later in the year, it is creating a notebook with useful information. We didn't always know what to expect. We have been working more on balance with the cars and that has helped. In the Truck Series, we had a great balance with our trucks which in turn gave us great speed. It was easy to get away from the basics when we started this deal, but we have been focusing on our car now, not so much what the other guys are doing.