The Adrenalist wanted to learn more about Junior Motorsports’ engineering department both during the season and in the off-season. As a result, we had an opportunity to ask Richard Boswell, one of the team’s senior engineers, to respond to our questions.
How do you modify your car’s during the season?
“We’re constantly trying new things during the season. For example, several times this year we’ve cut out various bay bars in order to figure out better ways to structure and stiffen our chassis’. Along with stuff like that, we altered the front end geometry several times, but in the case of things like that, you never know what will happen until you try it. At the end of this season, we changed all kinds of things, just to see if we could get a sense of which way we were headed for next year. Since we can’t do electronic data acquisition at the racetrack like the formula one guys, all we can do is figure stuff out on the fly.“
What is your design philosophy, i.e. strong versus light, other, or all the above?
“We look for a happy medium on both sides. For example, the more tungsten you can get in a car to help lower the center of gravity, the better. But, if we get to the racetrack and the chassis is flexing all over the place, its not going to help us at all. However, when the car of tomorrow came out, people were putting 90 pounds of tungsten in these cars, but now, after several years we’re putting nearly 350 pounds in these cars, so you can see how things evolve.”
Does the team build new cars every season?
“Typically we mileage everything, so if we run a car in 8-9 events during a season, and we run a car in 1-2 events during a season, we’ll build a new car and replace the older car. Everything we do is on a mileage basis. Also, if there’s been is an update, or we’ve come up with something new during the season, the off-season is a perfect time to update all of our cars.”
In the case of older cars; what happen to them?
“A lot of times its easier to just sell an older car to a team that doesn’t have the money to build their own stuff every year, or is just getting started; so we can usually get more money from selling an older car than recycling it.”
How much money do you typically get for older racecars?
“To be honest, I’m not sure what we get. Once the old Nationwide car was phased out, people were just about giving the old cars away. On the other hand, with the new car of tomorrow I’ve seen used prices ranging from $6 to $10k, which is still a pretty good value, since these days, a new chassis costs around $80k.”
JR Motorsports leading driver Aric Almirola finished fourth in the 2011 Nationwide Championship, while producing 1 pole, 7 top-5s and 18 top-10s, at an average finishing position of 7th overall based on 34 events. Teammate Danica Patrick finished her partial 2011 Nationwide season in twenty-sixth place in the Championship, while producing 1 top-5 and 3 top-10s, at an average finishing position of 3rd overall, based on 12 events.