LARRY McREYNOLDS (Consultant No. 44 Georgia Pacific Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Fresh out of the Fox broadcast booth, McReynolds came to Daytona International Speedway as a consultant for the Petty Enterprises, Inc., team with driver ...
LARRY McREYNOLDS (Consultant No. 44 Georgia Pacific Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Fresh out of the Fox broadcast booth, McReynolds came to Daytona International Speedway as a consultant for the Petty Enterprises, Inc., team with driver Buckshot Jones. McReynolds discusses his latest undertaking.
"There's several reasons behind me doing what I'm doing. Fox, from an economic standpoint, made it to where when we finished up in Milwaukee (last week's Busch Grand National race), other than doing the Totally NASCAR show on Mondays with Steve Burns, other than any meetings they might have come up, I could sit at home. That would be great, especially when you've got a wife and three kids that I haven't spent a lot of time with since they've been born, but I know and Jeff Hammond knows the same deal. If you're in this sport every day, you can't keep up with it. If you're away from it, you're not going to keep up with it.
"At the same time, I like a challenge and this will be a challenge trying to help this deal. Would it be very rewarding if all of a sudden I went over and became a consultant for the 24 or 88 car? It wouldn't be very rewarding. They're already there. If I can come in here... I didn't come over here to be the crew chief. I didn't come over here to make decisions. I came over here to be a consultant. Anything these guys need. If Bryant Frazier (No. 44 crew chief) says go down to turns one and two and see if you can tell us anything about what our car is doing, that's what I'm going to be there for. If Buckshot calls and asks me what his line looks like in turn three versus some of the other cars, that's what I'm going to do.
"Whatever they need. I want to be here as a sounding board, someone to bounce stuff off of, somebody to give them ideas and thoughts. It might be about managing people. It might be about what I see weak on the pit crew. I want to help them. I don't want to be just riding on someone's coat tail. If we can get this race team where it makes every race and set our bar for top 20 finishes, I hope we can move that bar quick, but top 20 would be a good bar to set it at and get it in the top 30 in points. If we can reach those goals in 20 races, I'll feel pretty rewarded.
"I think I've seen consultants a lot along the way. I think there's more in this garage area than meets the eye. I look on a smaller scale at Philippe Lopez and what he's done for Hut Stricklin. He's certainly made a difference. As a crew chief, the demands on a crew chief have become so great. I look back on my last few years as a crew chief and it would have been nice to have someone to ask to go do certain things.
"You've got a broader range as a consultant. They can give me wind tunnel numbers and I can go analyze the figures for a couple of days. I won't have to worry about getting the car ready to go to the track. I had good people around me and a great car chief and team manager, but maybe another Larry to bounce stuff off of would be great. You go test and it could take you a week to analyze everything. You just don't have time to do that. You look at it on the way home on the plane, and that's about all you had time to do. This is going to give Bryant another pair of eyes and ears. Maybe it'll draw the driver and crew chief together a little better.
"You always feel pressure. If you don't put pressure on yourself, you're not going to be successful. All I can do is come in here and try to share things with them and hopefully help them.
"The TV deal went by so fast. Somebody told me we did 90 shows. It was kind of sad. It was sad at Sonoma, but it was real sad at Milwaukee because we knew that was it until we come back next year. I watched all the tapes. It actually seemed better than it did when we did 'em. I've walked away from the shows doubting things I did or didn't do. The tapes always came across better than you thought you were doing them, and all the experts told me that's the way it would feel.
"When I left Sonoma, I felt like we had won the Daytona 500. That's how good the broadcast seemed that day. When we got home, and the ratings were 5 something, that's pretty good for a road course race. For the most part, there were very few shows I walked away from that I didn't feel good about. The biggest thing is the people overseeing us, I don't think they're ear-massaging people. If they'd been unhappy, they would have told us.
"The sad part about this sport, you can be just a little bit off and it's the difference between first and 10th. You can be a little bit off in a couple of areas, and it can be the difference between first and 20th. I'm not talking about a bunch, 10 or 15 horsepower or the wrong spring in one hole or 5 counts of drag. I really think what's missing on all these deals with Petty is that they're just a little bit off in a lot of areas. That's the difference between scrambling to make a show and being No. 1. It's all there. We've just got to get it all mixed right.
"I don't want to get back into a 24-7 deal. I can't. I want to go to all the races with them and go to the shop at least one day a week. If there's a week they need me at the shop every day, I'm going to go up there. If there's a week they don't need me, I won't go. I'm not going up there just to be a warm body sitting in the shop. I want to go up there, get the job done and get out of there. I'm going to try to go to the tests, but even the tests are going to be hard to go to because most teams test on Mondays and Tuesdays and Mondays are dead for me because of the Totally NASCAR Show.
"I'm excited about working with Dodge in their first year to see what they're like and see how they compare to the Monte Carlo. The 40 car has given us enough hope to know it's there. You've just got to give it the right pieces and parts and ingredients. I know in talking to the Dodge people, they're willing to give you whatever you need to get the job done, so I'm real excited about that."