Red Bull looking for spark
bob ford/times news Casey Mears walks toward his car during Friday's qualifying session at Pocono Raceway.
Things weren't going very well around the Red Bull Racing Team.
So with Casey Mears filling in for Brian Vickers in the No. 83 Toyota with Vickers undergoing treatment for blood clots and Scott Speed needing a change of luck in the No. 82 Toyota, Jay Frye, general manager and vice president, decided to make a change in crew chiefs this week at Pocono Raceway for the Gillette Fusion Proglide 500.
Mears ended Sunday's race 23rd. He spun off the track after his car touched Elliott Sadler's car on a restart on lap 159. Speed finished 20th.
"We decided to make the change this week," Frye said Friday prior to time trials. "Obviously, with the situation the team is in, we're able to experiment. Other teams have done the same in the past. Ours is maybe a little bit different because we hybrided two teams. We took six people from each crew and swapped them."
Jimmy Elledge, who moved over as crew chief to the No 83 car has worked with Mears before at Chip Ganassi Racing and has had some success. This is a new venture for Ryan Pemberton, who is now crew chief for the No. 82 car.
"We think Ryan can help Scott go to the next level so we're quite excited," Frye said .
He feels the biggest benefit to making the change right now will be performance.
Mears and Speed finished 29th and 30th in Charlotte the week before.
"We're able to experiment right now with some different situations," said Frye. "We need to get some momentum to finish the year up and then going into next season.
"We need to get better and I think with Casey and Jimmy right now the terminology part will fix itself quickly. They know each other. I think if you look at Casey's career statistics, his best were when Jimmy and him were together."
As far as Vickers goes, right now his goal is obviously to get well.
"Anytime he can be out here and wants to be out here we certainly want him to be out here," said Frye. "He has to pace himself, he has to take it easy, he has to do different things. His main focus and our main focus with him is just to get better, but obviously it's great to have him around. He's a big help to the team. He's a big help to Casey translating our information and terminology to him so that's been real good.
"Right now he's doing great. Again, this is not going to happen overnight. His recovery is a three to six month process. He looks great. He's doing great, but it's going to take a while for this process to go through."
Frye said that the change has definitely motivated the team.
"We saw it happen the day we made the announcement at the shop," he said. "Walking through the shop you just saw a little different pace going on. There were people switching back and forth to different teams, people moving from trucks and different things going on with the cars. In baseball, a manager gets fired, the team just lost eight in a row and the next thing you know it wins 10 in a row. Sometimes it's just a little change in the chemistry."
So the Red Bull Racing Team is looking for that little spark.
Hopefully, it will come soon.