Wednesday, Jan 19

Ford Performance NASCAR: Cindric and Burton Preparing for IMSA and NASCAR Openers

Austin Cindric and Harrison Burton are both preparing for their first season in the NASCAR Cup Series.  Cindric will be driving the No. 2 Ford Mustang for Team Penske while Burton takes the wheel of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford.  Before jumping into their new rides for the start of the 2022 season, both will be teaming up to drive a Mustang GT4 for PF Racing in the four-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge event at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 28.  Both drivers took part in a media Q&A session this afternoon.

 

HARRISON BURTON, No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang – HOW HAVE YOU BALANCED THE PRESSURES AND DEMANDS OF RACING FOR ONE OF THE MOST WELL-KNOWN TEAMS IN NASCAR?  “It’s definitely a cool opportunity and a big responsibility to carry on that legacy and do it the right way.  That’s not lost on me, but I think the biggest thing for me is that I’ve kind of always put that same pressure on myself to perform and do well.  External pressure doesn’t really change my mentality about things.  I think all drivers want to be the winner.  We all want to do the best we can and I think that personality is the same with Wood Brothers and we’re all aligned with our goals.  We just have to work really hard to go accomplish them.”

 

HOW EXCITING IS IT GOING FROM XFINITY TO THE NEXT GEN CAR?  “It’s definitely a different race car.  That’s for sure, but at the end of the day it’s still the same techniques, the same mentality.  I thought Daytona in particular was a lot more like the older generations racing.  I think the pack runs that we did were really racy and really competitive and it was challenging.  We did some runs where we were hitting each other and trying to bump draft.  Me and Austin worked pretty extensively on that and it’s challenging.  The way the cars line up and they’re a handful, which is good.  It should be harder to drive these race cars and it was a fun weekend, for sure, trying to figure all that out.  I got to work with my teammates and race team and I think we made some good progress there.”

 

HOW DO YOU THINK COMPETING IN THE IMSA RACE WILL HELP ADAPT TO THE NEXT GEN CAR?  “Any seat time helps.  After Daytona, I went right to the go-kart track and drove my shifter kart because I think it helps.  This is no different.  The cars are now coming kind of more closely aligned with that series and so there’s an opportunity there for me to get track time on one of the road courses and do it with people that I regard really highly in road racing, guys like Austin that are winning races and have chances to win.  You watch Austin run a Cup race, at COTA in particular he had a chance to win.  He was fast and if you can do that, I think that’s really impressive.  Using those resources to get better.  I think if I’m being honest and I’ve had these conversations with my friends at Ford and at the Wood Brothers and at Penske, the one thing I wanted to work on to be better was be a better road racer.  To have an opportunity to do that right off the bat is awesome and credit to them for being committed to helping me get better.  That’s really all a driver can ask for.”

 

AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – HOW DO YOU FEEL YOUR YEARS IN SPORTS CAR RACING WILL HELP WITH THE NEXT GEN CAR?  “With regards to the rearview mirror, I think the digital mirror provides some advantages compared to a conventional mechanical device mirror.  It’s got pros and cons.  Obviously, reliability is a question mark.  Is it gonna vibrate itself to death after 500 miles at Daytona?  You don’t know that.  We have not done 500 miles at Daytona beating bumpers, so there still is a regular mirror in the car for those reasons, but as far as my experience with other rearview cameras, actually I just got back from South Carolina shaking down the car I’ll be running in the Rolex and it does have a different camera in it.  There’s different information, like the Bosch camera gives you, for example.  That’s something that I think has been developed by Corvette Racing for like the last 10 years or whatever.  They’ve provided it for customer programs and stuff like that, but regardless, the information that those mirrors seem to give you is kind of the importance.  In sport car racing, you don’t necessarily use the mirror to make the close maneuvers we’re gonna be making at big, fast tracks like mile-and-a-halves, two-mile and two-and-a-half mile racetracks. I would still say that it’s still all very new to everybody, but, otherwise, most new street cars all have rearview backup cameras.  No one is turning around and looking out the back glass anymore.  Some cars have it, but otherwise it’s what’s in the street cars now and I think it makes it more relevant for those watching as well as obviously myself being involved.”

 

DO YOU ALSO THINK WITH THE SEQUENTIAL SHIFTING AND RACK-AND-PINION STEERING YOU’LL BE ABLE TO ADAPT QUICKLY TO THAT IN THE NEXT GEN CAR?  “I don’t know if there’s a production car or vehicle that is made with a steering box anymore, so I’d say the rack-and-pinion is definitely a long time coming.  I see no reason why that should really even be a talking point if I’m blunt about it because it’s such a commonality.  Yeah, there is obviously development.  You’ve got to get it right and it’s new for our type of race cars, and I think that’s why it’s become an early talking point, but, for us, the last couple tests it hasn’t really even come up in conversation other than normal trying to figure out what ratio you want to run for certain racetracks, but otherwise it still provided a driver with plenty of feedback if done correctly.”

 

HARRISON BURTON CONTINUED – HOW LONG CAN YOU DO THE TANDEM DRAFTING IN THE RACE AND IS THAT GOING TO BECOME A THING LEADING UP TO THE 500?  “I think it was kind of hard to watch and understand how challenging it was to do.  Me and Austin were having to communicate and work together to try and figure out how to do it.  I know Austin did it with Joey beforehand and did some work with Ryan afterwards as well.  It was something we had to work at and it was challenging.  I don’t think it will be like the old tandem racing.  I think the pack is still gonna be the biggest way towards the front.  I think it can be a tool that you use for a short amount of time, but that’s really it.  We were working on it to evaluate that and evaluate its viability in the race and we felt like it was something we could use in a few situations, but nothing that was gonna kind of take over the race.  It’s not something we can do all race long, that’s for sure.”

 

AUSTIN CINDRIC CONTINUED HOW DO YOU BALANCE WANTING TO SHOW WHAT YOU CAN DO QUICKLY IN THE 2 CAR WITH HAVING TO NOT WORRY ABOUT RUNNING OVER THE EDGE AND WRECKING CARS?  “You just described being a race car driver.  I think being able to balance the opportunity.  I think Harrison and I both would agree that this season is a great opportunity for us to learn, but also establish ourselves at a top level in this sport.  If I give myself the luxury to think about those things, then I’ll probably let them consume myself.  Otherwise, I’m just excited to get to work.  I’m excited to start the communication with my race team.  There’s a lot of change happening within the industry.  I think change is opportunity and also change is quite difficult, whether if that’s, for example, I’ve worked with the same race team for the last four years and developed some really close relationships.  For me, now shifting to a different race team and a different race car and different competitors – those changes are all probably more at the forefront of my mind than the changes in this car.  That’s what’s gonna make being a rookie in the Cup Series challenging, but, otherwise, I’m excited for it.  You ask and you strive your whole career to try to make it to the top level, so there’s no reason to shy away from it once you’re there.”

 

HARRISON BURTON CONTINUED – WHAT WAS THE EXPERIENCE LIKE GOING TO DAYTONA AS A CUP DRIVER FOR THE NEXT GEN TEST?  “It’s been awesome.  All throughout this offseason I’ve been kind of gearing up.  I think Austin and I both are really trying to gear up for our first season and being as ready as we can.  For me personally, it’s just such a cool feeling to roll into Daytona, to see your name on the leaderboard with the guys that you’ve always wanted to race against, the guys my dad raced against – some of them.  I always thought that it was the coolest thing in the world that they were able to do that and what they did was awesome and now looking back on how bad I wanted to be in the opportunity that I have now, to have it is really neat.  The biggest thing for me is to kind of understand that it’s a huge blessing to be here and an insane opportunity for me to be here and also understanding that I have to make the most of it.  There’s a very limited amount of seats in this sport and you have to earn your keep.  That’s what these first few years are really about.  You see the guys that kind of sink or swim and you definitely want to work hard and be the guy that swims.  For me, being here is awesome, being in this opportunity is awesome, but I don’t think anybody is really just satisfied with just being here.  It’s cool and you have to keep in mind that it’s cool, but you also have to go to work and take advantage of the opportunity that you have at hand.”

 

AUSTIN CINDRIC CONTINUEDWHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO HAVE GOTTEN TO THIS POINT WITH THE EXCEPTIONAL CAREER YOU’VE HAD ALONG THE WAY?  “In a lot of ways it is gratifying as far as the conversation topic that I have no influence on.  That’s a lot of external noise and, for me, I’ve been surrounded by really great people and I would say Roger Penske has built an incredible race team.  I think everybody knows that, but the way he does things and the way he goes about things and the people that he sets up to carry out those jobs is what makes the difference.  I’ve really learned that.  It’s plastered in our shop and he says it quite often – human capital is the most important thing to our race team.  I’ve learned that.  I’ve been surrounded by some great people and I feel like there are a lot of people within the walls of Team Penske that are the reason I’m at where I’m at.  I probably couldn’t have told you that when I was racing Bandolero and Legends cars that I was ever gonna drive the 2 car.  I’m not sure that was even like a thought.  I remember playing video games with Brad Keselowski in my basement.  In my bedroom at home still has a signed picture from Brad after he won Bristol.  It’s kind of one of those things where you almost have to tell yourself not to think about because I have a job to do and I’m excited for it.  It’s what I’m passionate about.  It’s what keeps me up at night.  It’s what gets me out of bed, but now it’s kind of the time to start doing it.  I’m glad that it’s that time.  I’ve spent the last however many months thinking and organizing and trying to figure out how to do it and within the next couple of weeks we’ll be in L.A.”

 

YOU HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR TEAMMATES.  DO YOU FEEL IT’S A GOOD COLLECTIVE GROUP THAT WILL WORK TOGETHER WELL?  “Yeah, I really do.  The first opportunity we kind of had to do that we actually went to Indianapolis to promote the race before the Brickyard weekend.  It was myself and Ryan and Joey and that was after Brad’s announcement came out.  That was after my announcement came out, so it was kind of the first time.  It was kind of a preview of things to come and I think the three of us all left that experience like, ‘this is gonna be a lot of fun.’  I think in a lot of ways we’re all very competitive.  I think we all bring different strengths to the table, but a lot of things that can help push ourselves forward, and obviously Harrison is involved with that as well.  I think Harrison has been a great addition to our technical relationship with the Wood Brothers and I’m excited for that to continue.  I think we’ve got three, four including myself, guys that are pretty level headed and pretty committed to making things work and not have any distractions.  I’m excited for that.  I think that’s a huge part because when it comes to having teammates, which I haven’t had teammates in like four years, so it’s kind of cool.  It’s cool, but you have to kind of manage your time differently and utilize the information that you get from different people differently.  It’s been a fun experience and looking forward to being put to the test.  The Daytona 500 is the first real test of all that and I think the Fords in general have worked extremely well together in the past and really kind of cultivated some of this manufacturer movement in these plate races and I look forward to being as effective with that as possible.”

 

HARRISON BURTON CONTINUED – HAVE YOU EVER BEEN SPORTS CAR RACING BEFORE?  “The only thing that’s been close is I’ve done some Trans Am races before in the TA2 Series, so kind of, sort of, but not really.  I’ve never been in a full-on sports car race like what we’re getting ready to do, so it’s definitely gonna be a new experience.  Talking about learning your competitors and things like that.  What’s the etiquette like?  What’s all that stuff?  I don’t know.  I don’t want to show up and be the NASCAR guy that uses his bumper or whatever.  I don’t know what the rules are, so I’ve got to talk to my buddy Austin about that in great detail, but it’s my first time doing it and I’m excited to try some new things.  This is definitely going to be new for me.”

 

IS IT SO NEW YOU HAVEN’T BEEN IN THE CAR YET?  “I’ve never sat in it before.  I’m gonna show up and figure it out.  The people at the Ford Performance Center are going to help me and get some simulator time, which is gonna be very helpful to kind of at least know the feeling of the car and get a sense for the capabilities of the car.  That’s been an awesome tool for me throughout my career is simulators, so I feel like I can correlate that well to real life.  That will be a huge tool, so, other than that, that’s gonna be my first time on the racetrack will be for practice.”

 

IS THE REASON FOR DOING THIS RACE JUST TO GET ROAD RACING EXPERIENCE?  “Yeah.  I mean, number one it’s gonna be fun.  I’ll never turn down the opportunity to drive a race car, especially a fast Mustang like we’re gonna have.  As far as my motive behind doing it is I think that’s the biggest thing is focusing on being a better road racer.  Now, the Next Gen car is gonna kind of perform a little bit more similar to this car will, so that’s gonna be a good thing for me to kind of get in the mindset of.  The only real road races I’ve ever done are old generation stock cars, so understanding the capabilities, understanding what’s different and what’s not is gonna be a huge advantage when we roll into our first road races and hopefully kind of bridge that gap between the guys that have done it before and the guys that haven’t.”

 

AUSTIN CINDRIC CONTINUED – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR ROAD RACING BACKGROUND AND HOW YOU GOT TO STOCK CAR RACING?  “My career path has been fairly unconventional when it comes to the NASCAR side of things or maybe just in general, but I would say the transition for me with doing primarily road racing and rally car racing was my relationship with Ford.  Back in the same series that Harrison and I are going to be racing in at the end of the month on Friday before the Rolex, that’s where I got my start with my relationship with Ford.  That started back in 2015 and ran a full season in IMSA and what was the Continental Tire Series, now the Michelin PIlot Challenge, and that relationship started and I had a few kind of one-off opportunities to drive some stock cars through that relationship and through my relationship with Penske and Cunningham and that started into a few one-off Truck races.  In 2017, I had the opportunity to go full-time racing in IMSA at a high level with manufacturer support or go start a NASCAR career racing for Brad in the Truck Series.  I feel like that opportunity wasn’t gonna come again and, sure enough, it wouldn’t because Brad’s truck team shut down a year later, but, either way, that’s what started it all – my relationship with Ford and I’ve been driving Fords and Mustangs ever since.  I would say a really strong relationship and a lot of fun in some blue ovals.”

 

HOW ARE YOU GOING TO HANDLE DOUBLE DUTY ON ROLEX WEEKEND?  “It’ll be my third time doing it, so I’ve kind of done it before.  I’ll actually say this is probably gonna be one of the easier times that I’ve done it and, by that I mean a lot of the time when I’ve run the Rolex it’s like a last-minute thing.  You get the phone call back on Monday saying you’re in the car and then you go to the Roar and you try and figure things out and maybe get six or seven laps in the car.  With four co-drivers it’s a bit of a cluster and then you have to go back and forth between both paddocks and it can be a bit stressful.  It all depends on where your pit box is because my walking time spent if my pit box is in two different places and walking between both garages and finding my helmet – all of that stuff are things you have to calculate out very carefully and then you’re working with engineers and people that don’t know, so you have to correlate everybody else’s drive time schedule.  It can be a disaster.  It hasn’t been, and it is a lot of fun.  I’ve left those weekends feeling very grateful because there are only a few guys that’ll be down there.  I haven’t looked at entry lists for the Michelin Pilot Challenge, but there are usually six or seven guys that end up doing it, kind of 28 hours of racing and it’s pretty special because, like Harrison said, anytime you get to drive a race car you’re not gonna turn it down.  I think I’ve gotten two quality opportunities to go and contend and try to have some success before the NASCAR season.”

 

SO HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU DONE BOTH?  “I’ve done it twice.  This will be my third time doing double duty.  It’ll be my fourth Rolex attempt and the first time I did it was between the GT4 Mustang and the LMP2 car, a prototype, so I would say that’s probably almost the biggest speed differential you can get throughout the entire weekend, which actually makes it easier.  It’s harder when the braking points are within 50 feet, but the tough part is about doing with the GT Pro Class is you’re one of the slower classes with the prototypes, so you’re always having to look in the mirror the whole time, where in GS we’re gonna be the fastest class.  One of the hardest things about endurance racing is traffic management and it’s like both ends of the spectrum.  I’d say switching back and forth that will probably be the hardest thing between Friday and the 24 Hours in the weekend.”

 

WHAT IS SO DIFFICULT ABOUT JOINING A CREW THAT HAS BEEN TOGETHER FOR A WHILE?  YOU ARE THE ONLY NEW FACE, RIGHT?  “Exactly.  I’m the new guy and the guy before me was a Cup champion, so there’s a lot different.  I have absolute confidence in the team.  I think from a difficulty standpoint change is hard.  It would be just like anybody else changing jobs or going and working with a different group of people or starting class with a different teacher.  It’s quite a bit different.  You have to learn personalities and understand certain things and all while we’re trying to develop a new car in a new situation, but change can be difficult and change can be rewarding and change can be an opportunity, so I’m excited for it.  I think Jeremy and I have really started to develop a pretty good relationship.  We’ve been able to do a lot of these tests together so far and kind of jump start that process and try and get ourselves the communication down as well as possible before the season starts.”

 

HARRISON BURTON CONTINUED – DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO PROVE YOURSELF A LITTLE BIT MORE TO YOUR TEAM COMPARED TO AUSTIN WHO WON AN XFINITY CHAMPIONSHIP?  “Yeah, obviously that was tough, especially coming off the end of the season before that we had.  Not having the results that we wanted was a tough pill to swallow, but at the end of the day the people at Ford and the people at the Wood Brothers and an alliance with Team Penske all kind of believed in me and I got hired, so I feel like they believe in me.  I feel like that’s the biggest thing is having a team that believes in you, that surrounds you and wants to go to work with you.  I’ve gotten nothing but confidence from the people around me.  They believe that we can go and be successful and that’s from our crew chief level to the people at Ford, all the way down to just saying hi to the people in the shop.  It’s nothing but excitement and that’s been cool to see.  It’s definitely nice to be wanted to be a part of a race team and I definitely feel like they want me to be here and I definitely want to be here, so as far as that goes I don’t feel like there’s any pressure to prove myself, but for myself personally there is.  I’ve always wanted to be the best I can be and I feel like last year didn’t really show that, but there’s always room to improve and I feel like those years always kind of make you better.”


WHAT SPECIFICALLY ARE YOU HOPING TO LEARN DRIVING THE GT4 MUSTANG THAT WILL HELP WITH THE NEXT GEN MUSTANG?  “The biggest thing I’m looking for is learning the braking capability of a new car.  I think being used to having to adapt to things is a good thing, where this is gonna be a completely new thing for me.  I’ve never sat in this car before and I’m gonna have to show up and race against some really, really talented race car drivers and go try and beat them.  That’s a good thing to do.  That’s kind of what I’m gonna do all year is I’m gonna show up in a series I have never competed in with a bunch of guys that I don’t normally race against in a new car and go try and beat them.  They’re obviously gonna be the best stock car racers in the world, so just being used to change, being comfortable being uncomfortable is kind of a term that best describes what you have to be as a race car driver and, for me, that’s one of the biggest things I look forward to kind of taking away from this and just learning basic road course techniques from guys and learning how different people approach things.  In house we’ve got some amazing road racers with Austin and the Indy car side of guys that I’ve kind of worked with some and talked to, and I feel like I’ve already learned and I’m gonna be better from it and this is gonna be an opportunity for me to trial and error some of those things and see how they work for me.”

 

AUSTIN CINDRIC CONTINUED – AS A SPORTS CAR VETERAN IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’RE LOOKING FOR SPECIFICALLY YOU’D LIKE TO GET MORE ACCLIMATED WITH BEFORE GOING TO NEXT GEN FULL-TIME?  “I might correct you and probably say I’m not a sports car veteran, but I certainly feel like I’m gonna racing against a lot of good guys.  Being in GTB Pro, you look at the entry list and my jaw kind of dropped, so I’m excited for that challenge.  I think to Harrison’s point, though, that’s why I’m so excited about this Rolex probably more than any other one I’ve competed in because if you’re doing something in that class that means you’re good because you’re gonna beat the best.  It’s the same mentality that i’m probably gonna have to take away to bring to the Cup Series this year because you’re racing against the best and if you do anything, it’s because you’re good.  There’s no excuses.  There’s no external factors.  Everybody is good, so if you’re doing something it’s because you’ve earned it as a team or as a driver or whatever it may be.  As far as relationship between why it’s relevant and what’s important, obviously seat time is very crucial and important.  Harrison and I are gonna have a very busy two weeks ahead of us right now with the Roar and the test and then the Phoenix Next Gen test and then back to the Rolex.  That’s kind of busy, but I think, for me, I have a very strong desire to win the Rolex 24 and that’s my motivating factor to do this race.  I’ve worked really hard every offseason to try and make something happen, not to get in a five-driver lineup just to go do the race and experience it.  I’ve kind of done all that.  I’d say the Rolex is probably the most realistic race I can look at and say I would like to win that race, and I think this is a great opportunity for me to do that or at least establish my capabilities to do so and, like I said, against a group of drivers that are incredibly talented, incredibly experienced all in their cars.  You’ve got a lot of guys that are very specialized for the cars that they’re in.  I’ll use Dirk Muller as an example, one of my co-drivers.  I mean, he’s won the Rolex twice.  He’s won so many races.  Patrick Assenheimer knows the car.  He’s raced in the Nurburgring 24, NLS races.  It’s guys that know their car super well, so I’ve got some homework to do to do so, but I’m excited for the opportunity.  It’s a fun way to start the year.  It’s kind of gratifying because the last two years I haven’t done the race and I would say over the last two years I’ve found myself now in a position where I’ve got a great opportunity with a very well-organized well-oiled team, drivers, crew, mechanics, engineers that are ready to put our best foot forward.”

 

YOU ARE A ROLEX SPORTS CAR VETERAN.  ARE YOU SURPRISED YOU ARE THE ONLY FULL-TIME NASCAR CUP DRIVER IN THIS RACE?  “Yes and no.  I would say no because I know how hard it is to get in the race no matter what your situation or status is.  There are a lot of really really talented drivers that aren’t in the race that aren’t NASCAR drivers that probably have more on their resume that would make them valuable to a team, but it is challenging because there’s a lot more than just being a good driver that gets you a seat in a race car.  That’s the reality of the sport and it’s frustrating, but at the same time I know there are plenty of Cup drivers that did try and make the race or understand what it would take to do so, but I think my relationships within that world certainly keep eyes on me as far as what I do in the NASCAR spectrum.  There are a lot of people I’ve worked with – probably half of the race teams that are down there that know me, so it’s about relationships just like anything else, but at the same time probably not top of priority.  I’ve got more than just getting seat time motivating me to go do that race.  Like I said before, I’ve got a pretty strong desire to go be successful in that race.  Then there are other guys.  I’ll use Chase Briscoe as an example.  He is doing this Michelin Pilot Challenge race with us in the sister car for PF Racing, but he’s got the Chili Bowl this weekend and there are a lot of NASCAR guys doing the Chili Bowl this weekend.  That’s a lot to put together.  I know he’s pretty stressed about his schedule right now because he’s got the next three weeks flat-out.  There’s balancing that, but if I was to look at it subjectively I think we’ve got seven or eight road courses and one dirt race, so as far as prioritizing doing different things, I think the dirt race is more of an exhibition than the seven road course races.”

 

ANY SPORTS CAR RACES IN YOUR FUTURE BEYOND DAYTONA? “I think we have one off weekend, so it’s probably not gonna happen.”

 

HARRISON BURTON CONTINUED – “That’s a really good point.  I’d love to do it, but the schedule is so tight and it’s definitely gonna be a challenge to try.”

 

WHAT HAS THE TRANSITION BEEN LIKE GOING FROM TOYOTA TO FORD?  “It’s been, like Austin has spoken to a few times, change is definitely difficult.  It’s been not as difficult as I thought it would be, honestly.  I was really nervous because I had been in the Toyota camp for a long time and I had this amazing opportunity here.  I was nervous to kind of change everything that I had done and it’s been a really gratifying change just because of the open arms that everyone at Ford and the Wood Brothers and Penske has welcomed me with.  It’s been a pretty easy change for me.  I feel right at home and where it also helped was the people at TRD were excited for me.  They were not upset I left.  It was cool.  Everyone seemed to be happy that I had a really cool opportunity and so I’m really appreciative of that and now as you see with us doing these IMSA races and Ford being committed to helping us get better, it’s been a quick start.  We’re ready to go racing and it’s been good.  It’s been harder to remember everyone’s names, but other than that, it’s been a gratifying experience.”

 

AUSTIN CINDRIC CONTINUED – IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN TAKE AWAY FROM THE CUP RACES YOU RAN LAST YEAR THAT WILL HELP THIS SEASON WITH THE NEW CAR?  “Yeah, absolutely.  Everything that we’ve learned at those tests are things we’re gonna apply for the season and it’s pretty much the only data points we have to apply for the season, so these tests have been crucially important.  I think the one observation or maybe a question that I have or something I’m trying to understand or at least a part that I’m proud of is that at Team Penske we’ve had all of our available cars able to run laps and make miles and have changes and be able to understand, so I think our team has done an incredible job at being prepared with a lot of unknowns.  The early part of the season there’s still gonna be a lot of unknowns.  There’s not a lot of practice.  I would also say that there’s not as much compared to kind of what this garage is used to as far as making changes, so I say that kind of plays hand-in-hand, but knowing where the tires are gonna go.  There were certain things that we had a lot of control over as a race team that are now gone, so as far as like from a car side.  I think there are a lot of differences, a lot of change, mentality shift, and these tests have been really good for those things that aren’t just mechanical pieces on the car.”

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