Brett Bodine, driver of the No. 11 Brett Bodine Racing Taurus, is in his second day of testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as he prepares for next month's Brickyard 400. This marks the first time Bodine has gotten back behind the wheel after...
Brett Bodine, driver of the No. 11 Brett Bodine Racing Taurus, is in his second day of testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as he prepares for next month's Brickyard 400. This marks the first time Bodine has gotten back behind the wheel after suffering injuries in a practice accident at Michigan International Speedway on June 14.
BRETT BODINE - No. 11 Brett Bodine Racing Taurus
HOW DID YOU FEEL AFTER A FULL DAY OF TESTING YESTERDAY?
"Everything was really good. We got going really well yesterday and I got up to speed in a hurry myself. I was sore and tired at the end of the day, but I've got a couple weeks to get myself back in condition and get everything worked out for coming back to Indianapolis. But I felt great in the car. Everything really went well. We had a great day testing and really picked the car up a bunch, so I think we could consider it a pretty successful day."
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST LAP LIKE ON THE TRACK AFTER BEING IN SUCH A HARD ACCIDENT?
"Well, my rehab has been so good and the people I've been working with are so dedicated that it really wasn't even an issue getting in the car. I felt I could control the car and drive the car good. The rehab has been so extensive that I knew that wasn't going to be a problem. I didn't really expect any problems. I just got in the car and got after it. That's kind of how the day went. We had a brand new car here and had a few little problems, but after we got everything adjusted, we started making some pretty good progress with speed."
IT'S HARD TO SAY AN ACCIDENT COULD BE A BLESSING IN DISGUISE, BUT OPERATIONALLY SPEAKING HAS THIS TIME AWAY FROM THE TRACK HELPED GET THINGS PREPARED FOR THE BRICKYARD?
"It was kind of good that we didn't have another race to go to and with the timing of the way everything went, it gave me some time to rehab and get ready to test. The timing of everything really worked out well. Of course, you want to race every week and the guys want to race every week, but without sponsorship in place and having to build a new car for Indianapolis, the timing of everything worked out really well."
WHERE DO THINGS STAND WITH SPONSORSHIP?
"The sponsorship situation hasn't changed much. It's progressing. We feel very confident that we're gonna get a sponsorship in place for the rest of the season, but until it's a signed and delivered deal, it's not a deal. We've all been in this sport long enough to know that things can look really, really good and then fall apart in the final hour. Hopefully, this one doesn't fall apart."
IS IT EASIER TO FIND A SPONSOR FOR THE BRICKYARD EVENT?
"Our plan is to be at the Brickyard 400 with or without a major sponsor. We've got the buy-a-brick program to help fund the car and that should help a little bit. We're also hoping to sell some one-off sponsorships for this race, but we're gonna be here and race the Brickyard 400. After that, wherever the major sponsorship issue falls will determine our future."
Elliott Sadler, driver of the No. 38 M&M's Taurus, began his two-day test on Tuesday - one day after most of his fellow competitors. Sadler, who plans on staying through Wednesday to complete his session, spoke about the team's preparation for the Brickyard 400.
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus
IS THIS A TRACK YOU LIKE?
"Yeah, there's so much history at this race track. It's pretty fast and pretty smooth and I think all the guys get up for it. I think next to the Daytona 500 this is definitely the second-biggest race of our season and that's why everybody comes and tests and puts a lot of emphasis on it. There's a lot of history at this place, which presents a lot of pride if you win it, so, yeah, I definitely love coming here."
THERE'S A LOT OF MONEY AT STAKE, TOO.
"The money is all right (laughing). That never hurt anything, but it's more pride to me than anything. I think if we were able to win the race and be able to kiss the bricks and get to victory lane here, a place where so many great champions have been, that would mean more to me than anything."
HOW IS THIS TRACK DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS?
"Just the way it's shaped. You're in and out of the corners so fast because it's such a momentum race track. You've got to handle here pretty well because you're running so fast through the corners, but then you've got such long, long straightaways that you can't give up much on the body for drag. It's a pretty big compromise. The crew chiefs definitely pull their hair out a lot here for testing and the race, but it definitely makes it all worthwhile if you hit it all right."
HOW WAS THE CAR TODAY?
"I ran a few laps this morning. This is our first day, so we're just gonna do some race stuff today and tomorrow. Then, if we get a chance, we might make some qualifying runs but racing is what pays all the money and the points, so that's what we kind of want to work on."
IS IT GOOD TO HAVE THE PARITY THAT'S PRESENT IN THE SPORT TODAY?
"I think so. I remember a couple of years ago when Jeff Gordon, I think, won 14 races and Mark Martin won seven. I think that narrows it down too much. I think we've got way too many big sponsors involved in this sport that need a shot and deserve a shot to win races and be in victory lane, so I think parity is where it's at. I mean, nobody wants to come and watch the same car lead the same laps every single weekend. I think it's great that you can pick between 20 cars and you don't know who is gonna win. With the way the Goodyear tires are now, some people might put on only two tires and some might not put on any and do gas only. It puts a lot of different characters up in position near the end of the race. It makes the crew chief's job a lot harder and it makes the driver's job a lot harder, but it's definitely good for the sport."
WITH THE COMMON BODY STYLES ARE THE RACES MORE IN THE DRIVER'S HANDS?
"I know I've heard the word common template and everybody uses it, but if somebody thinks the front of the Chevrolet and the Ford are common, then they don't know much about race cars. I don't know what's common about these race cars, other than where the roof is. If you look at the tails and the noses, none of them look alike. I think it's definitely a direction to go in as far as the bodies being slid around and moved - that's definitely a good combination. But as far as the nose and the tails in these things, some of them are pretty outrageous."
RYR HAS BEEN PRETTY DOMINANT HERE AT TIMES. DOES THAT GIVE YOU CONFIDENCE COMING HERE?
"I think DJ has won this race twice and they've definitely had some great finishes here and a lot of it goes back to the horsepower. They're very focused on the engine program here this weekend during our test. They've got a lot of computer stuff hooked up to it to make sure they get all the data they need to come back. Yeah, I have more confidence this year than I ever have because I know we're gonna have some of the best motors in the field when we show up for qualifying and the race. The only job we've got to do is just make sure it goes through these corners. Yeah, I definitely feel more optimistic and feel like my chances are better winning this year than they ever have been because of that and because of experience. This is gonna be my fifth year here and I think we'll get better everytime we come."