Jason Hedlesky, Mike Calinoff - Ford interview 2010-03-23

This Week in Ford Racing March 23, 2010 This will mark the second straight short-track race as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series goes from Bristol to Martinsville, and while both tracks are half-mile in distance, they're very different. Spotters...

This Week in Ford Racing
March 23, 2010

This will mark the second straight short-track race as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series goes from Bristol to Martinsville, and while both tracks are half-mile in distance, they're very different. Spotters Jason Hedlesky and Mike Calinoff talk about how the two tracks are different from their perspective.

JASON HEDLESKY, Spotter - No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE AS A SPOTTER GOING FROM MARTINSVILLE TO BRISTOL? "Bristol is actually one of my favorite places to spot at because we are so high up in the air. The way I explain it to fans is to picture taking a snow globe and shaking it and you look down and see everything in it. That is how Bristol is. I never have to turn my head because we are so high above the track that everything stays in sight. A week later at Martinsville, it is the same size track, but it is flat and you aren't as high above the racetrack, so you have to physically turn your head to see things that are happening just as quick, and in some aspects quicker, because everyone is trying to get to the bottom or get inside of somebody. At Bristol everything is in your peripheral vision. At Martinsville we are positioned toward turn one, so the laws of physics are against you there more than at Bristol. I enjoy spotting at both places but Martinsville, to me, is one of the toughest places we go to spot at because it is so busy and because of the angle we are at."

DO YOU MEET WITH CARL BEFORE BRISTOL AND MARTINSVILLE TO GO OVER CODE WORDS BECAUSE OF HOW FAST THINGS HAPPEN? "I guess we have been together so long now that he kind of just knows what I am talking about. We really don't have to meet beforehand to go over any special lingo. At a track like Atlanta, I can take my time and explain things because we aren't as bunched up as at other places. On the other hand, you are never alone in a place like Bristol or Martinsville. I will try to be fast with what I am saying. For example, if there is a caution, the first thing that comes out of my mouth is trouble 'yellow, yellow'. I use that as a key word to slow down. Then I try to let him know where it is at and what he needs to do. You come around at both places in like 15 seconds or quicker, so I try to be short, sweet and to the point."

CAN CARL READ THE URGENCY IN YOUR VOICE IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS? "I think that because we have been together so long that he realizes that some of the things I say might require more urgency than others. I always try to stay calm because things are so hectic for him in the seat and he doesn't need me screaming at him. The accordion effect can really get to you though, especially at Martinsville, you can really tear a radiator up quick there. At Martinsville they run so nose to tail and everyone is trying to get to the bottom that if something happens you are going to feel the effects of it. I just try to stay on my toes and look ahead and anticipate as best I can."

MIKE CALINOFF, Spotter - No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE AS A SPOTTER GOING FROM MARTINSVILLE TO BRISTOL? "Bristol is a much faster track. Since they changed Bristol is has become more tolerable to spot there because with two grooves, you don't have to get guys out of there. The biggest problem at Martinsville will be the double-file restarts. If you are sixth when they drop the green you can go back to 12th in a hurry. That is going to be the challenge, finding a hole and getting to the bottom."

DO YOU CHANGE THE WAY YOU CALL ON THE SHORT TRACKS? "We have our own language and he knows exactly what I am saying. Instead of saying 'two back to the 48,' I would say 'two to the 48'. I try to get things in real quick and use as few words as I can, but still get the information out.

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH A CAUTION FLAG? "When I hear it in my ear from NASCAR, I will glance at the flagman real quick and say 'yellow is out' and then I will say 'yellow, yellow' just to make sure he heard it."

ARE THE SHORT TRACKS MORE STRESSFUL AS A SPOTTER, OR DO YOU ENJOY THEM MORE? "My two favorite tracks are Bristol and Talladega. Things happen fast in different levels at both tracks. I like any racetrack where I really have to participate and where my job is pretty important."

DO YOU HAVE TO PUMP UP MATT FOR MARTINSVILLE SINCE HE ISN'T A FAN OF THAT TRACK? "Not really, Matt's moods are like that of any driver, dictated by the car that they have. If we have a good car and everything is going smooth then he is good. If not, then he will get cranky just like any other driver would. In that case, I try to keep him cheered up. The thing about Martinsville is that it is a long race and you really have a lot of time to fix the car and get it where it needs to be."

-source: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jason Hedlesky