Kevin Harvick reckons Hendrick Motorsports has found technical edge over NASCAR Sprint Cup rivals
|By Diego Mejia||Sunday, August 5th 2012, 13:16 GMT|
Kevin Harvick is adamant Hendrick Motorsports' cars are running very different suspension settings to the rest of the NASCAR Sprint Cup field, and therefore have an advantage over rivals.
The Richard Childress Racing driver has pointed at the rear-suspension settings of the Hendrick cars as something visibly different. This was particularly apparent at Indianapolis last weekend, where Hendrick dominated - Jimmie Johnson winning the race while team-mate Jeff Gordon seemed the only one capable of keeping up with the five-time Cup champion.
Speaking to reporters at Pocono, Harvick referred to the 'yaw' of the Hendrick cars, which to him was evidence of the car having found a technical edge.
The 'yaw' is more visible while cars run in a straight line, where they seem as if rolling sideways, the rear axle looking offset with the front. Such settings allow the car to generate more sideforce, translating into an aerodynamic advantage in the corners.
"All the Hendrick cars have more yaw than the whole field," said Harvick. "They have done a good job doing some R&D to get the things that they need, but that didn't just happen last week.
"That has been going on for several weeks before we came here to the first [Pocono] race. That is what this sport is all about: finding an advantage and making it work on the racetrack. They have done that."
Tony Stewart, who runs Hendrick-built chassis and engines at Stewart-Haas Racing, says he has worked in the same direction with his own outfit but has yet to find the same level of performance. However, he does not believe Hendrick is doing anything outside the rules.
"That is one of the things that we worked on in Michigan this week," said Stewart. "They have got the garage scrambling a little bit right now to try and figure out how to achieve exactly what they are doing.
"I don't think we were quite that far that they were. But they're not doing anything that's illegal. They're doing everything within the rules. So it's just whatever package you're running that's working for you."
Earlier this year NASCAR announced modifications to the rear sway bar mounting, hoping to control what teams do with the set-up of the device, as some were getting additional benefits in controlling roll. Such rules tweaks were expected to affect Hendrick cars but the team's drivers have carried on with their impressive string of top results.
Hendrick drivers have won seven of the past 11 Cup races and the team currently leads the standings with Dale Earnhardt Jr, while Johnson leads the series in wins with three following his fourth Brickyard 400 victory.