BKR’s Take on Trucks … Doug Randolph

As part of Motorsport.com’s content partnership with Brad Keselowski Racing, we’ll provide fans with exclusive content before each NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race from the organization’s drivers, crew members and staff to readers throughout…

This week, we go one-on-one with veteran crew chief Doug Randolph of the Brad Keselowski Racing team. The University of Tennessee graduate leads the effort for the No. 19 LTi Printing Ford F-150 team and driver Austin Cindric.  Motorsport.com recently sat down with Randolph to get his thoughts before the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 Saturday at Martinsville Speedway.

1. What will be key for Brad Keselowski Racing to have success on Saturday at Martinsville Speedway with two rookie drivers competing in the NCWTS race?

Doing a qualifying lap is huge at Martinsville Speedway. It’s about timing and braking hard enough at the right distance going into the corner and getting back on the throttle. Then you get into the race even if you have a fast vehicle it’s still about the restarts and you’re at the mercy of things happening on the track. It takes a lot of skill and luck to get through a race at Martinsville.

2. How do you think your experience in the pit box with help your rookie driver Austin Cindric at Martinsville this weekend?

Like any track we go to, you know certain characteristics that they’ll have to look for in the track. And all of us had to learn by being there, and hopefully, during a race, they’ll remember things we talked about instead of having to learn the hard way. Hopefully, we’re learning through fewer mistakes but you still have to learn by living it yourself.

3. Martinsville is hard on race equipment, how do you prepare your truck for the toughness of Martinsville?

You know brakes will always be an issue (at Martinsville) and the brakes and technology have gotten better. NASCAR instituted some rules last year on the number of fans and hoses we could run and when your truck is handling really well and your driver doesn’t need to use the brakes to help the truck turn and that saves your equipment. We really spend a lot of time looking at brakes, hoses, and things on the truck before we get to the track.

4. How satisfying is it for you have a part in developing these young drivers?

All of us want a challenge of working with a young driver and helping them move up and you hope that happens and they do well and then you start the challenge all over again with another young driver. It’s very satisfying and it’s something about taking a raw talent and being the guy to help them along and get them their first win. I’ve been lucky to work with Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney, Paul Menard and Regan Smith and others when they were young and it’s satisfying to see them successful today.

5. How much will it help Austin this weekend that he’s made one start already at Martinsville in a truck?

I think it will help him a lot. His background is road course racing and Martinsville is one of those tracks where it seems the road course guys seem to rise to the top AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose always seemed to have good oval runs there and I think it’s because you use the brakes there like you would on a road course. The race before he realized the importance of the restarts.

6. How big a factor are the brakes on the trucks at Martinsville and they’re expensive, how do you handle the costs as a team for your braking systems?

For the truck and Xfinity series, the brake systems we use now were cutting edge in the Cup series 6-7 years ago, but NASCAR limits what we can use to help us cut costs in the truck and Xfinity series. NASCAR provides a list of brake calipers and systems we’re allowed to run. We still have very good braking systems that are only a percentage of the costs of the ones Cup teams use now. We can get good used parts from some truck teams and that helps us control our costs.