Saturday morning's Winston Cup Breakfast: RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Intrepid) - "Well, I feel really good about it. We have really picked up the last two or three weeks. Honestly, we've had a really good car all year long. I went...
Saturday morning's Winston Cup Breakfast:
RUSTY WALLACE (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Intrepid) -
"Well, I feel really good about it. We have really picked up the last two or three weeks. Honestly, we've had a really good car all year long. I went through a stretch of four races where I had two crashes, lost some brakes - crazy things like that. But I look back and say we were still running fifth here, fourth there, third there, and the car's performance was really good. We've had a couple good runs recently - a fifth and a sixth. Obviously it doesn't match my teammate's. He's been on a tear, no doubt about that. Last week we were running fourth. At this race last year, we were on the pole. We've had really good runs here, and I've got one of my favorite cars. I'm excited about it. Some things we've learned of late could really work out tomorrow.
"I like racetracks where you can set it down in the corner and peel on down the bottom of the race track. Dover is just a big Bristol to me. I've always loved running at Bristol and also at Richmond. Those tracks are racy. Dover has that same shape. You can run on the bottom, in the middle, up top. It starts out as two grooves on the bottom, but as the race goes on, you'll see turns three and four move up and a lot of racing happens up there.
"We've been racing back to the yellow for a long, long time. It looks like three or four guys screwed it up for everybody. That's what I think. Before I came to Winston Cup racing, we never did race back to the yellow anyway. No doubt there's going to be some people get caught in this situation, me and others, and that's going to hurt. But it will be a lot, lot safer. You get to a place like Martinsville or Bristol when that caution flag comes out and the leader's leading the race, gets out of the throttle off turn four to give some laps back to people, it's like a calculated train wreck to the start-finish line. It's a heck of a battle - four or five cars trying to get their lap back. It's very dangerous. I've hoped for a long time they would do this. My hat goes off to these guys. I think it's the right thing to do, although getting the laps back is going to be harder.
"I think every driver is driving their guts out trying to get their laps back anyway, charging as hard as they possibly can. Next year when they soften the tires up and cut this rear spoiler off it's going to be a lot, lot better. If I'm wrong, I may look like a fool, but I'm the one screaming and hollering to get the softer tires and the rear spoiler and I really think it's going to work. I think it's going to be a fun time to see these cars skating around, and when you put four tires on it actually does something and we get back to racing.
"You're going to see guys who are ready to go down a lap scrapping and doing everything they possible can. You're driving the crap out of everybody trying to hold onto that lap. It's going to be rough, and I think that's what NASCAR wants to see. Some tempers are going to rise. Some excitement is going to happen; it's going to be a lot of fun, no doubt about that. We already fight right now to keep from going a lap down, but I think you're really going to see a guy put up a battle.
"I think it's real hard to police. With all the sponsors we have nowadays, big sponsors, there was always a concern about who was where on the racetrack at what certain time and that's going to be hard to police. But now with the computers scoring our cars as we cross the start-finish line, that made that a little bit easier. A lot of organizations don't have a 43-car field. A lot more intensity played into what we do. A lot of guys could have said I was ahead at the start-finish line or when the caution came out, and I don't think NASCAR wanted to go through all that. They finally did it as long as they could with the current way, but there are people who abused it and they finally said, 'Hey look, we've got to make a call now,' and they did it.
"I think the only strategy it's going to change, you're going to see guys that are going a lap down driving the laps of their lives to try to stay on that lead lap. If they do go a lap down, they're going to have to have one strong hot rod to try to get that lap back. Or some kind of pit scenario where they're out on the racetrack and guys peeling off for normal green flag pit stops and they're on the track when the caution waves and they get their lap back that way. Very few people, only one or two get their lap back when the caution flag comes out, it's not like 20 cars go past the leader. I never have understood why the leader gets out of the gas so much so they get their lap back anyway. I wouldn't have done that, and I'm a pretty nice guy.
"I do have concern that when they say they're going to put on a softer tire (in 2004), that it might be just a small step. I'll give it to you in simple terms. I think these tires are about six steps too hard and I'm not asking to soften the tires up to where they get into blistering and dangerous situations like that. I'm asking the tires be softened up two or three steps where they will wear, and when we come down pit road we'll want to put four tires on instead of just staying on the racetrack or putting two tires or something. I'd like to get back like we used to have where you come in for four tires and it does something, the cars go out there screaming around the racetrack, start sliding around and slowing down and all that. If Goodyear does indeed come in with a tire a couple of steps softer to do what we need instead of saying, 'We're going to soften the tires but a very, very minute change that we don't hardly notice,' then we still have a problem. What makes the spoiler work is the softer tires. Goodyear says we can't soften the tires up unless you take downforce off, because if you don't take the downforce off it's going to blow the tires out or blister or stuff like that. If both of them make a big enough step, then we've got something.
"You're seeing some of the scrapping and brawling coming back. It's all happening with the younger guys. You don't see me and Bill Elliott duking it out right now, or Sterling Marlin - guys like that. The younger guys get real shattered, no doubt about that. That's Okay, but they have to understand NASCAR's got rules too, and they'll drag you into the big red trailer and they'll explain to you how they really don't need you in the sport to run a race on Saturday or Sunday. Then it hits home real hard and you understand it and you start abiding by the rules. But you have to have respect for your competitors. You don't want to go out there ands have your peers talking stuff about you. There are a couple of guys out there right now trying to crawl out from under that umbrella they got themselves in where their peers don't like 'em. Not just one or two peers don't like them - in fact that whole field don't like 'em. You don't want to be in that position.