Mike Nelson is the crew chief for Ryan Newman's No. 12 Dodge, which nearly won the Pocono 500 in June. Newman was in the process of making a pass for the lead when heavy rain halted the race at the 106-lap mark.
Knowing they had a car capable of breaking Newman's 59-race winless streak, Nelson says his team is excited to make the return trip to the Pocono Mountains, considering they are bringing the same car back to the track.
Q: To the average fan, Indianapolis and Pocono look like identical tracks. But to a crew chief, is that really the case?
Nelson: I don't think so. There are some similarities. Turn 2 at Pocono is somewhat similar to the corners here at Indy. Other than that, I consider them two totally different racetracks.
Q: What unique characteristics does Pocono have?
Nelson: Turn 1 at Pocono is unique. It's not anything like what you see here [at Indy]. It's pretty bumpy and it's a banked corner. The other corners are relatively flat. That's what makes Pocono unique. It's a unique track and we always have a lot of fun with it. It's been a good track for us.
Q: Is the most difficult thing about Pocono having to compromise the setup to make the car work in all three corners?
Nelson: Well, you do hear that a lot and it's true to some extent. But I guarantee you; everyone in the garage area tries to make all three corners perfect. That's what we work at.
Q: Is there one of the corners that's more critical than the others?
Nelson: You've got Turn 3, which leads to the frontstretch. That's important because you need to get a good run coming down the frontstretch. Most people work really hard on making sure that's a good point in your program. All corners are important, though. If you can get through all three better than everyone else, you've really got something.
Q: When you run as well as you did there last month, does your confidence carry over to the next race?
Nelson: Yeah, for sure. Denny Hamlin won both races there last year. We're taking the same car we had back there the first race and we're looking forward to going back.