Engineering Minds Want to Know
No de-briefing went down Friday afternoon at Martinsville. Practice and qualifying were cancelled, so Brian Vickers and the No. 83 team entered today with little to go on other than a computerized notebook and past experience.
But these are the days where Brian really makes his money, relaying information — handling characteristics, etc. — to the guys on the other end of the radio. Brakes are at a premium at Martinsville. Conditions this weekend are damp and cold. Getting the car to roll through the corners is paramount. So whatever knowledge Brian can drop during practice is certainly welcome.
“I have a little bit of an engineering mind, I guess you could say. I’ve always been intrigued by that,” he said. “That was something I was potentially going to go to college for. But I’m not an engineer and don’t claim to be, but I feel I can give the detailed information I need.”
Indeed, Brian welcomes his role as a translator of sorts, something he learned from veteran Jeff Gordon while Brian was at Hendrick Motorsports. He’s the driver, and only the driver knows what the car “feels” like.
“Let everybody do their job,” Brian said. “Two heads are better than one, but, that being said, let the crew chief crew chief, let the race engineer engineer and try to the make the car go fast. You just tell them what you need to go fast, tell them what the car is doing and where it needs to be better. And you do your part.
“It’s not their job to drive the car. It’s not your job to build the car. I collaborate with the engineer and crew chief on ideas and thoughts that I have.”
As far as on-track activity at Martinsville, Brian’s No. 83 starts 17th Sunday, while teammate Scott Speed’s No. 84 rolls off 35th. Scott, too, is in today’s Craftsman Truck Series race, where he’ll start 32nd in the No. 22 Red Bull Toyota.