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Jimmie Johnson talks about challenges with new aero package at Indy

NASCAR New Hampshire Auto Racing

Driver Jimmie Johnson heads out of his garage after completing practice for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H., Saturday, July 18, 2015 (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)


Jimmie Johnson met with the media Friday morning before Sprint Cup cars began practicing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (You can watch practice online here.)

Johnson discussed some of the questions and he was looking to answer during today’s three practice sessions (Friday’s schedule here).

Here’s some of what Johnson said today:

What are the questions you have coming in today with the new package and different gearing?

Jimmie Johnson: “From my standpoint, it’s just how much throttle are we going to run around here? Is it flat in Qualifying; Turns 3 and 4 seem to be a little bit more forgiving than (Turns) 1 and 2. So do you run flat in (Turns) 3 and 4 and have to lift a little in (Turns) 1 and 2? With these vehicles, especially on the Xfinity side, we often hear that somebody ran wide-open around the race track and they’re a little bit slower.

“So, is it better to do a slight lift and not overload the chassis and have too much steering wheel input in the car and drag speed out of it? So, I’m excited to get on the track and figure out what the effort level is going to be. The driver’s inputs have such an outcome on the set-up of the race car, that from there, once we all get a rhythm, on the race track we can start making good changes.

“So, I know the team has lots of questions about power band and how we go about working this car. That tail section on the back of the car that we run on the superspeedways, that creates a lot of drag, so the ride-height of the vehicle is going to be real crucial and there’s varying theories on where that needs to be. So, today is going to be a very busy day and I’m not sure we’ll get all the answers we want, but we’ll at least get going in the right direction.”

As far as not knowing the fearing, how much difference does that make from your point?

Johnson: “It’s a big difference and I didn’t realize how sensitive the engines were until they reduced the power. I think with less power a couple hundred rpm is a massive difference in acceleration rate. And especially the starting point because the engines perform, if you pit a random number it’s 7500 is where they start to build. At 7300, there’s nothing there.

“So, if your minimum is 7500 on new tires, and then you have a second or two seconds of falloff, that just keeps moving down and the car is so doggy up off the turn. So, it’s not easy to get it right. And obviously with these long straightaways in the draft, you can get a lot of rpm. So, it’s not going to be an easy target to hit. And I would assume NASCAR’s is going to side on less gear to try to take care of the engines, if I was to guess.”