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March 23, 2014

Robin Pemberton


KRISTI KING:テつ We are joined by our vice president of competition and racing development Robin Pemberton for NASCAR.テつ Several of you have requested comments from Robin on the pit road open and close flag.テつ If you'll talk to us about that and the situation during the race.
ROBIN PEMBERTON:テつ Yeah, I guess the question that you will ask is how it works or what takes precedent, and the crew chiefs, spotters and drivers understand that manual overrules any technology or computer‑operated light system in case there's a failure.テつ In this case you can see on the replays that the open and close official opened pit road as they do when the caution car comes around.テつ Flag went out, had difficulty with the switch, the location of the switch to turn the light on green.
We heard some of the scanners and the talk from our crew chiefs and spotters to the drivers, and they explained it‑‑ and most of them understood that, that the manual part was the part in charge.
I'll take any questions if you have them.

Q.テつ This isn't about the pit road but about the tires.テつ Were you concerned at all?テつ Is there anything that you guys feel like you might need to do, like reinstitute camber rules to keep those beta tire failures?
ROBIN PEMBERTON:テつ No, over the past few years we've been on a path to add mechanical grip, give more options to the teams.テつ We've opened up camber rules for grip in both the front and the rear of the car.テつ They have a lot of tools to use if they choose to do so.
But the tires weren't wearing.テつ At some parts of the race the tires were abused a little bit, so I guess that's why the failures.

Q.テつ You don't regard it as a Goodyear problem?
ROBIN PEMBERTON:テつ No.テつ We've talked to Goodyear.テつ We have asked, the competitors have asked to bring more aggressive tires, to bring tires that they need to manage and want to‑‑ how they use them and how they get the most out of them.テつ At this point in time I think Goodyear, it's the same tire that we've run on in the past.テつ Just the car is a little bit different.
But as always, we'll get back and we'll look at it, but right now I think Goodyear has done a pretty good job with it.

Q.テつ This whole tire thing didn't sneak up on these guys.テつ There were some indications yesterday that if they ran an aggressive tire pressure that this could happen.テつ Do you think the fact that they continued to try to be aggressive today is kind of borne out of the new points system where the win is so much more important and it was worth it to them to try to get that advantage?
ROBIN PEMBERTON:テつ I would think that if you're in this garage area you're paid to be aggressive and you'd want to take everything to the limit.テつ We know that winning is going to trump everything this year, and I think guys are more aggressive.
But when you look at it, there's some cars that were pretty good.テつ The 24 was pretty good on long runs today, and he, that I'm aware of, did not have any issues, and some others did and some others didn't.

Q.テつ It sounds like the answer to this is no, but was there any consideration given to giving them an extra set of tires?テつ I know some crew chiefs were on the radio kind of campaigning for that.
ROBIN PEMBERTON:テつ Yeah, there was questions for tires, but when we looked at the amount of laps left and the numbers of tires that were on the ground, we felt that it was sufficient.テつ By our count they should have finished the race with at least one set of stickers.

Q.テつ Robin, a couple things:テつ I know you said you've still got to do some discussion, but would part of the discussion be in regards to tires, coming back and looking at testing because this is a different car in one sense and the tire has remained the same over the last few years?テつ And secondly, can you just go over the process of the light control for the pit entry?テつ That's up in the control tower; is that correct?
ROBIN PEMBERTON:テつ The light is triggered to go red from the control tower when the freeze is‑‑ when the caution comes out.テつ It is manually triggered at the entrance of pit road currently, and the person that's down there also has a green flag to open pit road.

Q.テつ Back to the tire question, a lot of the left rears.テつ Is it how the crews set up the caster camber and toe for those, or how is it affecting the tires this much?
ROBIN PEMBERTON:テつ All of the above.テつ Last year we opened up the rules on camber for the rear end.テつ I would say that a year ago at this time we were early in the process, and teams were probably not as aggressive as they wound up being as the season unfolded, as they got the mechanics better in their cars and the opportunity to be able to make parts and pieces live longer now, I think they're probably a little bit better prepared for that.
So if they had too much camber‑‑ they've got a lot of choices, so if they had too much and it abused the tire, that's what happens.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
ROBIN PEMBERTON:テつ The Goodyear cold recommended is 22 pounds, and there were teams running as low as 14 pounds of air.

Q.テつ Just getting back to the question about testing, is that something that might need to be done here before next year when you come back?テつ And because you mentioned the light switch thing, is that the case that the person down there just didn't hit it or it just‑‑ something didn't work?
ROBIN PEMBERTON:テつ No, back to the light, they had trouble getting to the switch, as there's an area there for the official to reach through to display the flag.テつ He actually, according to the official, his uniform got hung in the fence and couldn't move.
You had another question?テつ The testing one?
As far as Goodyear tests go, they will continue to test and develop tires.テつ Teams could come out here and test if they wanted to because of the open test session, or their personal test sessions, and being that the next race is nearly a year off, I would anticipate with other things that we may have going on at the R & D Center and work that we're doing that the opportunity to come here and test is probably there.テつ So we'll see what comes of it.

Q.テつ Personally did you expect this kind of tire problems before this race?テつ And do you think that tire problems are just particular for this racetrack in Fontana or maybe can occur also for the next speedways?
ROBIN PEMBERTON:テつ Each racetrack is fairly unique and generally have unique tire setups.テつ Sometimes there's some crossover with a right‑ or a left‑side tire.テつ But you know, they're not‑‑ when you have an issue, and I won't call it a tire issue, I will say that there's an issue of abuse of tires as much as there is anything, so you can't put a blanket over any of these things or any racetrack or anything like that.
I think the general consensus is this racetrack races fairly well.テつ It's got a great raceable surface, it's wide, a lot of grip, guys like to move around the racetrack.テつ You see good speeds.テつ You can run on the top near the SAFER barrier and you can run on the apron and anywhere in between and pass cars.テつ This is one of our best surfaces that we run on for the year.
KRISTI KING:テつ Robin, thank you for your time.テつ Appreciate it, everybody.

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