Accavitti On Dodge Struggles
Topics: Dodge, Mike Accavitti
June 14, 2007
In a recent interview, Mike Accavitti, the Director of the Dodge Brand and SRT Marketing and Communication, unraveled the company’s struggles, goals and more.
Accavitti tackled how the new nose for the Charger and the Avenger put them behind. “The more change you have in an organization, the more change you have in a racecar, the more things you have to work on. I guess in all honesty I guess the teams underestimated the impact both of those changes were going to have. We tested the nose together several times last year. We all came to a conclusion. We all reached an agreement that it was the right thing to do. Every team had an input and every team agreed to that,” he said.
He added, “When we put the nose on the car, it affected the suspension setup more on those downforce tracks than we had anticipated. It’s taken a little while to get our arms around what the issues were and get some action plans in place. At the same time, we’re trying to figure out the COT, so that’s really what kind of got us behind the eight ball. We feel like we’re really picking up some steam now in our performance, average finish performance is showing it.”
Accavitti also intimated how they underestimated work load on the cot. “What we underestimated was the workload both the new nose and the COT was going to challenge us with. On the COT, we really didn’t have as good a grasp as we should have on that vehicle and how it was going to perform in a pack. We can only test so much. We’re learning as we go along, the teams are, taking actions to identify what the issues are. Again, I think they’re all making tremendous progress, particularly the Penske Organization.”
Asked to explain Kasey Kahne’s problems, Accavitti has this to say: “Kasey is the real deal. We have the utmost faith in Kasey and the Evernham Motorsports Organization. They’re a class act team, and they’re going to do what they need to do to get Kasey back in victory lane. You guys are more familiar with this sport than I am. It’s very difficult to explain how people can go from winning a whole boatload of races one year to not winning any races for a little while. We’ve seen it over and over again. Sometimes it’s called the sophomore jinx. Sometimes it’s called other things.”
Speaking about Newman’s success and other Dodge Team’s struggle, Accavitti said: “This is one of the biggest issues we’ve had. We can go incredibly fast as a group for one lap. We saw this actually last year. That really is the genesis of what led to the nose redesign because the drivers describe the former nose, as while it provided a hell of a lot of front downforce, it led to a car that was somewhat unstable in the pack. The new nose was supposed to rectify that issue. Last year we did very well in poles. This year we’re doing equally as well. I think we have one less pole this year than we did at the same time last year.” The fervor of the division is more stirring than before. It could not be easily shunned even by the dependable EBC brake pads.
Accavitti also commented on Tom LaSorda’s role with Dodge. “Chrysler LLC will be the name of the new company if everything goes through. Absolutely, Mr. Tom LaSorda is going to be the chairman and CEO of that company. He is supportive of the racing program,” he said.
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