Getting a chance to kiss the bricks at Indy is no easy task

I always look forward to Indy. Personally, I like the racetrack. I like how you have to set up the car for that racetrack. It's almost a short-track setup but with the long straightaways, so you have to think of it as a superspeedway, as well. The setups are pretty unique.

Jeff Meendergin


The corners can compare to a short track -- real flat, a Loudon-type setup, a Pocono Turn 3 -- then your straightaways, you have to knock as much drag from the cars as you can. You see so many different styles of setup. Some try to make it fast in the straights but then struggle in the corners, or you get it so that you're fast in the corners but not as good on the straightaways. You almost have to opt for one or the other and take advantage in those areas where you're strongest.

The Brickyard definitely has got a feel to it, and it's one of our biggest races. We're bringing a brand-new car and we've come up with quite a few new ideas on it that I think are going to be really good. We've focused on bringing out our new chassis for the Allstate 400 because it stands out to us as a special race. The Daytona 500 is different because you have the whole offseason to prepare for it, and there's not as much prep going into this race.

We were down a little bit after a tough weekend at Chicagoland. We didn't perform like we were hoping to, but we bounced right back and tested with Chad McCumbie at Nashville, and we got good information from that. The best thing to do after a tough race weekend is go right back to racing. We did that and got over Chicago a little bit.

NASCAR gave us a draft of a new testing policy while we were at Chicagoland, and I think it's a great idea, personally. Basically, it's what we were asking for. We asked for 20 days instead of 24, but 24 is great, and I think that falls in line with what we were hoping for. That's about right. We added up our tests -- we've tested at Kentucky, Iowa, Lakeland and Nashville -- and we've tested about 20 days for Petty Enterprises.

The good thing now is we'll get to test at tracks we race at, and that's going to be money better spent, and you're going to get more value out of your tests, especially for a team like Petty Enterprises. We go to Nashville or Kentucky, and we learn stuff, but we can apply only 25 percent of it. We can't afford to test every week at different tracks and get only 25 percent of use from it.

Jeff Meendering is the first-year crew chief for the famed Petty Enterprises No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger driven by Bobby Labonte. Meendering will take ESPN.com readers inside his life on and off the track each week with the help of writer Angelique S. Chengelis.