What caused the brake issues at Pocono?
Add another team to the list that had brake issues in Sunday’s Cup race at Pocono Raceway.
Crew chief Todd Gordon said on “The Morning Drive” that Joey Logano’s car lost its rear brakes with five laps to go.
“That actually was the demise of our day,’’ Gordon said Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Logano finished 23rd — his fifth consecutive finish outside the top 20.
Others who reported brake issues Sunday included Jimmie Johnson, Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Chase Elliott. Kevin Harvick said he had to be careful with his brakes.
“We never could stop like we needed to all weekend, so you just had to be really careful with the brakes,’’ said Harvick, who finished second to winner Ryan Blaney. “If I’d overdrive it for a lap or two, the pedal would start going down, and then I was really at a deficit. I had to be very aware of where I let off every lap.’’
So what was the issue with the brakes that affected some drivers?
Gordon cited the lower aerodynamic package NASCAR instituted this year.
“We’ve continued to evolve the aero packages here, and as we make the spoilers smaller and smaller, we’ve got a lot less drag in our cars,’’ Gordon said. “Drag just being when you lift off the throttle, there’s enough aero force to slow the car down. As that drag goes away, then we’ve got to slow the car down mechanically. That goes to brakes.’’
Drivers are relying on brakes as they eclipse 200 mph entering Turn 1 at Pocono.
“Without that spoiler on the back, there’s a lot more brake usage,’’ Gordon said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “That kind of compounds itself. The more you use the brakes, the hotter it gets, the more the wear rate goes up. It kind of works on itself.’’
Asked if he was worried about brake issues after his teammates had such troubles Sunday, Elliott said: “I wasn’t real pleased with it. That’s not a comforting feeling if your brakes are going away. But, mine weren’t bad enough. I could manage it. I could kind of keep them in check. I knew kind of when I was pushing them the pedal would fade, but if I took it easy on them they’d come back. So, it was on the edge but manageable.”
Kahne said he had been “fighting serious brake problems for a while” before he crashed. Johnson said his brake pedal “went right to the floor” before he wrecked.
The series returns to Pocono in seven weeks. Teams could be faced with these issues again.
“I would say of all the intermediate (tracks), outside of our short tracks, (Pocono is) probably one of the most aggressive on the brakes, especially in the rear because there’s so much decel that has got to happen,’’ Gordon said.
I feel great today. Scary feeling to have no brakes at 200MPH but even worse to have no brakes and being on fire needing to get stopped.— Jamie McMurray (@jamiemcmurray) June 12, 2017