CONCORD, N.C. – Four times each season, the NASCAR Cup Series race at superspeedways.
One lap at these tracks are two and a half miles, calling for fast speeds, close contact and in most cases a wreck drivers just can’t avoid.
Take a look at how the Hendrick Motorsports teams take on superspeedway racing.
1. Hendrick Motorsports employs a person that specializes in how to get cars ready to race at superspeedways. Steve Bergh is the superspeedway specialist for the Nos. 48 and 88 team. His main priority is getting cars ready for tracks like Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.
“The superspeedway races are probably four of the biggest races of the year as far as marquee events,” Bergh said. “Mr. Hendrick has a lot of pride in how his cars qualify and race. We’ve won a lot of them. So my job is to kind of babysit the cars from the time they’re born to the time we bury them.”
2. At other tracks, downforce is the main concern. At superspeedways teams are more worried about drag.
“At tracks like Talladega, we’re more concerned with drag and being very efficient at LOD or lift over downforce,” Bergh explained. “We pretty much trim the car out as much as we can from the drag standpoint which is air holding the car back. The more drag on the car, the slower it goes.”
3. Teams never want to get caught up in ‘the big one.’ However, wrecks at superspeedways are almost inevitable.
“Of course we don’t want to be in it,” Bergh said. “But we don’t do anything to the cars to prepare for it, if it wrecks, it wrecks. There’s nothing you can do to a car to make it survive that.”
4. Cars for races at superspeedways are built far more in advance than other tracks. The No. 48 and 88 team started working on cars for the October race at Talladega in July.
“We try and run them through a little bit early,” Bergh said. “It gives us time to do wind tunnel testing and stuff on them if we choose to go.”
5. Superspeedway races are all about the car.
“It really shows what the guys in the shop can build,” Bergh said. “We put a lot of time into it. Every detail is met and extra time goes everywhere into the setup to give our drivers the fastest cars out there.”