BILL LESTER: It's overwhelming. This is really the culmination of a dream I've had to race in professional motor sports. My wife believed in me when she let me pursue this dream to make it happen. Since then there's been trials and...
It's overwhelming. This is really the culmination of a dream I've had to race in professional motor sports. My wife believed in me when she let me pursue this dream to make it happen. Since then there's been trials and tribulations, but I wasn't complete because I wasn't doing what I wanted to do with my life I'm doing something here that a lot of people didn't think I could do. I'm so happy that Bill Davis believed in me and that Waste Management decided to get behind me. It means a lot to me.
The run was good. I was apprehensive not knowing exactly what I had. In practice the track was very slick and I had no grip from the center of the corner off, but my crew chief said not to worry and I trusted him. The laps were good and I didn't leave anything on the table. That was the best I could do with that car. I wouldn't change a thing.
There was definitely some nail biting going on there [at the end of qualifying]. There's no guarantee. They said I ran a good time, but I didn't know if it was going to stick. I was hopeful my prayers and dreams would be answered, and they have been. I'm hoping this will open a lot of eyes and a few more doors in corporate America. I'm relieved. I just can't wait for Sunday.
(What do you expect for the race on Sunday?) I expect to race 500 miles. I expect to learn a lot and add knowledge to my database of information. I hope to gain the respect of my competitors. I'm hoping for a top-20 finish, but you can't predict outcomes. I'm excited to race with the best drivers this country has to offer.
The good thing is I had the Craftsman Truck program to worry about, so the good thing is I'm just a focused on the truck series as Cup qualifying. Having my parents and my pregnant wife here has really put everything in perspective, but when I put that helmet on, it's all business.
I talk to Dave Blaney and Johnny Benson on occasion and they've given me some tips. The person I've leaned on the most is my crew chief, and we've had a great connection so far. I believe in him 110% and he believes in me.
The biggest issue has been the age issue, but fortunately I don't look or act my age. I'm pleased that those doubting thomases are a little bit in the situation of reevaluating the statements they made. There are always people who don't believe in you, but if I listened to those people, I wouldn't be where I am today.
Willy T. Ribbs and I spent a whole lot of time together when I was in San Jose and Oakland, and I was struggling in my tech career trying to get out of it and he was struggling with his open-wheel career. Then he made his mark in NASCAR and the Truck series. For whatever reason we don't talk anymore, and I think that's unfortunate. I think Willy has a different career he's following and I wish him the best. What he's done to inspire me has been invaluable.