Transcript: Crew Chief Rudy Fugle – Press Conference – Phoenix Raceway

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by one of our Championship 4 crew chiefs, Rudy Fugle.

Rudy, why don’t you go over quickly how you feel after today’s session.

RUDY FUGLE: It went solid. I think we fought some problems — actually, I hope to find things that I think are fixable for Sunday. Excited about that. I thought we got better by the end of practice compared to where we started, which is always a good thing. We have a good spot to go work on it. I think we got a shot.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When you look at the practice speeds, we see where everybody is at. Is there anything as a crew chief you take away from that? You’re looking at bigger picture stuff?

RUDY FUGLE: Yeah, you’re always looking at the sheet. That’s how we get evaluated. Really looking at averages. Then you’re trying to find a way — today’s practice was a lot of people in practice. You get some skewed results probably on some of your runs. That’s for everybody.

Your five-lap average might look bad because you had traffic in the first five, and somebody’s 15-lap average because they got tail end. We always try to evaluate that from SMT later on and the video.

Worrying mostly about our car this weekend and trying to make the best of it.

Q. (No microphone.)

RUDY FUGLE: Yeah, no, with this package and this place, I think the more we can have a balance for the long run, and the short run, is the key.

Q. Yesterday William said you guys put the helmet fans a little higher in the car. Was there any thought of saying we’re going to keep them low and suck it up for a championship race?

RUDY FUGLE: No. I mean, his health is number one. If he has 5% more in the tank at the end of the race, it’s going to pay way more off than that little bit of weight up high.

That’s the only place we haven’t put them all year long, trying to find the best place to get the fumes and temperature right to his helmet. It’s definitely worth a try.

Q. (No microphone.)

RUDY FUGLE: No, this week. This week, yeah, this weekend is the first time we’ve gone there. One of our teammates has run it there. We’re always trying to search to make it better on the drivers.

Q. There was four or five laps where William caught the 12 and was trying to get around him. I don’t know if they were on the same tires at that point. Ryan was able to defend that. What are you looking for in those moments? How much can you gauge from that session?

RUDY FUGLE: Yeah, I think he had four lap older tires, so he had a little bit of a disadvantage.

I mean, you’re really giving William a shot to see the strengths and weaknesses of his car. You don’t know, that could be a bad run. They could have made a change that was bad and they’re still making laps.

Anyways, the characteristics of the car are generally transferring over throughout the weekend. I think that part’s good.

Q. For a guy who flew in the middle seat for four hours out here on Wednesday, William seemed in a good place yesterday. How quickly did he, or you and him and the team, put behind Martinsville? Selective memory works here that he’s past it already.

RUDY FUGLE: For sure. It helps that we made it. We have an ultrafocus for this week.

Yeah, you can’t carry that stuff. We race way too much to carry that with you. We’ll probably talk about Martinsville again in probably 10 days. We talked about it real quick Monday morning, and we were done and over with.

Q. (No microphone.)

RUDY FUGLE: That’s what he does. He’s cheap like me, so I understand that (smiling).

Q. (No microphone.)

RUDY FUGLE: No, I was on the team plane. He had to get here earlier to talk to y’all.

Q. The new tires, notice anything different as far as tire wear?

RUDY FUGLE: Yeah, nothing yet. I think the characteristic of those will come out in the sun. Today’s practice was mostly in the shade. Once we get a 50-lap run, you’ll see more characteristic of that. Even last week in Martinsville, we really didn’t see a difference until the race started.

Q. Is there a big difference if you were to run practice during racing conditions as opposed to during the sunset?

RUDY FUGLE: Yeah, for sure, there’s a couple things we’re talking about. The way the car builds over the long run, air pressure builds. We’re going to have to anticipate the right things.

I don’t know, when you’re a truck racer, that’s usually where you get stuck, wherever they let you practice, wherever they let you race. We’re used to a lot of those changes, especially here, so I feel good about that.

Q. Coming over from Europe, it’s warm here compared to Europe right now. How big is the influence of these relatively hot temperatures to the aero package?

RUDY FUGLE: Yeah, for sure, it’s going to heat the tires up. Without the downforce, as much downforce on the car when the tires get hot, you’re going to lose control and the cars are going to lose handling a whole lot quicker into the run.

Tires get overheated, say lap 40, more downforce, it’s going to be lap 25. It just speeds up the ill handling and how the cars change over the run.

It will be pretty big as warm as it is. It’s probably seven, eight degrees ambient warmer than it normally is this time of year. We’ll definitely be dealing with that.

Q. (No microphone.)

RUDY FUGLE: We’ll try. It will help a little bit. It’s something we’ll have to deal with. Everybody will have the same thing. You try to build it in the setups.

THE MODERATOR: Rudy, thanks for joining us.