Here Tim Ward goes from having fun to being completely serious. This was a common thread t
CT: How would you evaluate the ability to develop communication between a driver and his crew chief?
Nathan: My car owner, Robbie Allen, used to be a driver and it's pretty easy to communicate with him about what the car is doing and what we should be doing next. If I had a crew chief who I didn't have a relationship with and didn't have the common experiences that Robbie and I have, it would be a very different situation. I can see where spending some time doing simulations would be real easy to build a common set of experiences.
CT: Do you see the fact that you have some common experiences with your crew chief as a positive or a negative?
Nathan: I look at that as only a positive. Having a common set of experiences between us gives us some common ground in racing to really help us communicate. Even with a common set of experiences, doing some simulations would be a good thing for the whole team, not just the crew chief. It would be a great team building activity to have the whole team get together and work on the BlueTiger and just give everybody an opportunity to drive the car without risking anything. I can only see that good would come from that type of activity.
Jeff Catlin was the only driver in the group who had started out as a crew chief then gravitated into the driver seat. Jeff traveled all over the Western United States racing both Sprint and Shifter Karts. Currently, he races in ASA's Speedtruck Series.
CT: Jeff, what did you think of the virtual experience?
Jeff Catlin: This thing is unreal. When can I buy one? It doesn't take long and you are completely into the experience. The feeling is so realistic and it completely ties in what you see to what you're feeling as you sit in the seat. The fact that you are strapped in makes the slightest motion of the seat transfer to your body instantly. The BlueTiger is the best racing simulator I've ever had the opportunity to use to date.
CT: Do you think this would've helped you when you were first learning to race?
Jay Crockett gets put through the paces. It's a lot harder than it looks to go fast and st
Jeff: I wish I had one of these when I started racing. I would've accelerated my learning in a huge way. The idea that I could practice every day would've made learning a much more positive experience. I mean, you still need to drive the car, but those opportunities usually only come in small bits of time on the weekends-and, then you have to share the track with other drivers. So just getting down and driving and doing laps by yourself is a very rare occurrence.
CT: Jeff your circumstance as to how you arrived as a driver is very different from the other drivers in this experiment. You went from the pit box to the seat; usually it goes the other way. How would you evaluate the ability to develop communication between a driver and his crew chief?
Jeff: I would love to have my current crew chief in a chair next to me while I was driving the BlueTiger. The fact that he could see what was happening to the car as it was traveling down the track would be a huge advantage. Having the ability to see just the effect of a chassis adjustment and what it was doing to my ability to drive the car while it was happening would be a huge learning accelerator. The crew chief could directly observe the effect by watching the driver as well as the car and not just base the effect or magnitude of a change on lap times alone.