BILL DAVIS (Car owner Bill Davis Racing with Dodge Intrepid R/T drivers Ward Burton and Dave Blaney) NOTE: Davis, a 50-year-old Fayetteville, Ark., native who now lives in High Point, N.C., has been recuperating from kidney stones since May....
BILL DAVIS (Car owner Bill Davis Racing with Dodge Intrepid R/T drivers Ward Burton and Dave Blaney)
NOTE: Davis, a 50-year-old Fayetteville, Ark., native who now lives in High Point, N.C., has been recuperating from kidney stones since May. He's up and about and plans to return to the track for the Pepsi 400 in Daytona on July 7.
"They tried to kill me, but I lived," Davis said. "I've had kidney stones twice before, but the last time I've had them was 12 years ago. I've always been able to pass them before, but this one was too big to pass. For whatever reason, something went wrong when they went in there and tried to break up the stone. The bruise on my kidney was so big and I bled so much they wanted to give me a transfusion. For four or five hours, I couldn't move. I've never been in so much pain. I don't think I'm a sissy. I think I can take as much or more pain than the next guy, but I wouldn't wish that kind of pain on my worst enemy.
"I'm fine now. I feel OK, but I'm a little weak. I was in the hospital for 11 days, and I couldn't get out of the bed for a week and a half. I can get around now for about half a day and then I take a little break. I worked half a day at the shop last week. The doctor just didn't want me traveling. You're usually standing up all day when you're at the track, so I'm not going to California. I'll be back at full strength in Daytona.
"I'm not going to get to go on Kyle Petty's motorcycle ride back from California. This will be the first time I've missed it. I've been on just about every mile of every one he's had. My wife Gail is going to go, and I can't believe I'm going to miss it. We had to go to Homestead for a day last year to test for Dodge, and I might have missed one other day for testing, but I really look forward to that ride back from California. It'll wear you out when you're healthy, so I'm not going to try it.
"I've ridden motorcycles all my life. I bought my wife one for her 50th birthday, but I've been riding since I was 14. I used to race motocross many years and many pounds ago.
"It's been weird watching the races on TV. It's weird being a race fan. It's OK. Of course, I'd rather be at the track. Fox has done an incredible job with the telecasts, and I believe the numbers they're releasing because it's a great show. They give the casual race fan plenty of information. Larry, Jeff and Darrell explain the slang to the fans, and I'm a big Mike Joy and Dick Berggren fan. If you can't be at the track, watching it on Fox is the next best thing. They almost make you feel like you're there.
"Still, it's weird watching your race teams. Dave Blaney (driver of the No. 93 Amoco Ultimate Dodge Intrepid R/T) has had a couple of good back-to-back finishes (eighth at Michigan and 11th at Pocono). They haven't been beating themselves lately. They haven't been making mistakes and have turned in some good, solid efforts.
"Ward Burton (driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T) and his team have been struggling. All the elements it takes to win should be in place with that team, but it's not. The chemistry is not right at all. They're not playing with confidence. Any professional athlete will tell you you're going to have problems when you're not playing with confidence.
"Nothing has changed from last year with that team other than we've got a better car and better motor. Just look at what Chip Ganassi's team has done with Sterling Marlin this year in the Dodge camp. The potential is there, but we haven't made the most of it. We had the car to beat at Daytona with the 22, and the 93 had 'em covered at Atlanta, but that's been about it.
"The 24 team is making everybody scratch their heads right now. They've got all the elements to make life miserable for everybody. I didn't know if Jeff (Gordon) would dominate like he once did when he was with Ray (Evernham), but I knew he could. He's got the right people around him now. Robbie (Loomis) has got everything in place, and he's working great with Jeff.
"I couldn't be happier for Ricky Rudd or Fatback (crew chief Michael McSwain) and all the guys on the 28 team. I like 'em all. They're my friends, and it was good to see Ricky win again.
"At certain tracks, both of our teams are capable of winning. The 93 team is not ready to be a threat to win every week. If they hadn't messed up in qualifying at Texas and got in an accident on pit road, Dave could have easily been in position to win that race. He was up to third down the stretch and ended up sixth. At certain tracks, if things fall into place, Dave Blaney is capable of running in the top five and if you do that enough, you'll be in position to win.
"The 22 team needs to get some confidence back. We've got a better package than we had last year, and they've got to understand that. Everybody there's got to get on the same page and get going. The 22 is way off. It's the worst year they've had in years, but there's plenty of time to turn it around. Dodge went with the 22 team because they thought it could win, and we haven't threatened yet except at Daytona and with the 93 at Atlanta. Thank goodness for the 40 team.
"I don't think I'm disappointed with Dodge's performance to this point. It's hard to win in this series. Bill Davis Racing isn't a team that's won a lot of races in the past. Neither is SABCO or Petty Enterprises recently. Ray is just getting his stuff started and getting the right people in place, so you've got to be realistic.
"I don't think I'm disappointed with where Dodge is at, and I don't think people should think I'm naive or crazy when I say that. If you look at the poles (two) and top fives (eight) or top 10s (19) and laps led (513), it's not outstanding and we're not satisfied. It's time to win a race, but we're only 15 races into a 36-race season. We've got three more races before we're even halfway. Some of the Dodge teams have been knocking on the door, and hopefully we'll win one soon. With a little luck, maybe it'll be one of my teams and I'll be there to see it."