Tuesday, May 18, 1999. Highlights of Winston Teleconference with Ken Schrader and Sammy Johns KEN SCHRADER (No. 33 Skoal Chevrolet Monte Carlo) COMMENT ON WINSTON OPEN ON SATURDAY NIGHT AT LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY "It's a ...
Tuesday, May 18, 1999. Highlights of Winston Teleconference with Ken Schrader and Sammy Johns
KEN SCHRADER (No. 33 Skoal Chevrolet Monte Carlo) COMMENT ON WINSTON OPEN ON SATURDAY NIGHT AT LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY "It's a suitcase race. The Twin 125s on Friday to line you up for the last chance race. If you can come through that last chance race, the Winston Open, and win that, you've got a good car for The Winston. You've got very little time to change your car (between races). They give you just a little bit of time there. I think Sterling (Marlin) has won the Open and went on to run second in The Winston. I'd rather be in The Winston, but I think you have an advantage if you can win the Open as far as starting in the back of The Winston."
COMMENT ON RAD GROUP "We think we've seen some results of the development work that's been going on with the RAD Group already. This is going to be a RAD car that we run this weekend. It's just aerodynamics. It doesn't really involve the chassis setup or the way the chassis is built. It's aerodynamic development that they've been doing with that group. We're going to utilize one of the RAD cars this weekend. Even though all the RAD cars are independent, we're sharing the knowledge we get off the group."
DISCUSS TWO-CAR TEAM AT ANDY PETREE RACING "It's hard to tell this early in the season. When you're working with a new team like that, at the start it might actually take a little something away from you. We don't think it has, but we can definitely see where down the road having the two teams is going to be an advantage."
COMMENT ON CHANCES OF MAKING THE WINSTON "Well, I've been the first loser three times. We've got to get in the race first. With the quality of cars that are not in The Winston, that's going to be a tough deal to do, but we sure think the Skoal team is capable of doing it. That's what we're going for Friday and Saturday."
COMMENT ON HOOKING UP WITH ELMO LANGLEY IN 1984 "It was a humongus opportunity. We were short track racing pretty much all over the country. I had the opportunity to go up to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and run an Indy car in '83 and it didn't work out. We were running fast enough to make the race and ended up wrecking instead. Right then, I kind of made up my mind that I was going to look down South because I thought the Winston Cup Series offered more opportunity and long term, plus I liked the level of competition that was down there. It looked so competitive. I met Elmo through Lee Morris and Michael Kranefuss at Ford Motor Company. I ran five races for Elmo and then got the opportunity to drive for Mr. Donlavey for three years, so that was the biggest break we've had in our career I guess. "It was a whole lot easier being a rookie in '85 than it is nowadays. With a team like the Donlavey team, we were pretty much guaranteed of being in every race. We could always started around 25th or so and just go out there and try to learn something, not take many chances and wind up 12th to 15th. Now, as competitive as it is, it's so hard for a rookie team to really get going now. Tony Stewart is coming in and doing a phenomenal job, and he Tuesday, May 18, 1999. Highlights of Winston Teleconference with Ken Schrader and Sammy Johns.
KEN SCHRADER (No. 33 Skoal Chevrolet Monte Carlo) has the benefit of being part of a two-car team with a real good, established car with the Bobby Labonte team. As we've seen with some other rookie teams, this is not an easy deal, but it was a whole lot easier back then. "It was everything (watching my father race). Because of that, that's all I wanted to do. I just wanted to race and be around the track all the time and be working on the cars. Because of daddy, that's how I wound up doing it."
COMMENT ON MID-WESTERNERS IN WINSTON CUP "I think there's a whole lot of series that give good preparation as far as moving up to Winston Cup. The USAC Silver Crown Series, which a bunch of us came from, those cars are pretty heavy and are nothing like Winston Cup cars. But they are pretty heavy and under-tired. You have to kind of muscle those cars around, kind of like a Winston Cup car. The ASA deal, you learn all the chassis knowledge you need, you learn how to run long races, plus with the Silver Crown races on TV and most of the ASA races on TV, it just made more people aware of other drivers who were out there in those series."
DISCUSS MENTALITY OF RUNNING THE WINSTON OPEN AND THE WINSTON "In the Winston Open, you're just racing to be in The Winston. Second, other than some money, which Winston puts up a good purse for both races, second is absolutely nothing. Seeing as you're just working to get qualified in the 25-lappers on Friday and the Winston Open, you have to do everything. You don't have to worry about keeping your car good so you can make an adjustment with 100 laps to go. You've got to do it all right then. There's no holding back whatsoever. It's a lot of fun. "We don't really run the open wheel cars anymore, but I still run my dirt late model a lot. That's why they call it the suitcase race. If you don't get it done, you go home. There's nothing worse. We've got a condo there at Charlotte with Rick Hendrick and boy that's a terrible place for me to watch The Winston. I hate it up there."
DISCUSS NOT QUALIFYING FOR INDY 500 "We were kind of headed that way (IndyCar racing). I know we wound up wrecking the car, and that was the best crash I've ever had in my career."
DISCUSS ROLE OF CREW CHIEFS "I don't think the crew chief has become a more pressurized spot than anything. As far as the owners having to produce for sponsors because of the amount of money they're paying now, the drivers having to produce, the pit crews having to produce. The crew chief obviously has to produce. The sport is that much more pressure-filled right now. I've been pretty fortunate. I haven't worked with a tremendous amount of crew chiefs. Then when I went to the 33 car, I did so because of Andy Petree, even knowing that he wasn't going to be able to be in that position long term because of the other facets of his job, running the team. Our new crew chief this year, Sammy Johns, the deal is just how the driver and the crew chief interact, how they communicate and stuff. I feel like I've been working with Sammy a lot longer than 11 races or so. I really enjoy working with Sammy. He's done a lot for our team Tuesday, May 18, 1999. Highlights of Winston Teleconference with Ken Schrader and Sammy Johns. Chevrolet notes, quotes. Page 3 of 4.
KEN SCHRADER (No. 33 Skoal Chevrolet Monte Carlo) already. If a team doesn't perform, there's a reason. Either the driver and the crew chief together can't get the job done or the driver plain old can't drive or the crew chief can't make the car handle or the motors don't run or they're not getting you in and out of the pit. At times, the crew chief could be the scapegoat, just like the driver could be. We're very fortunate in that regard in having Andy as a team owner. Andy has worked with some of the best drivers. He's won championships. Sammy can't go to Andy and say Schrader can't drive the damn car because Andy knows better. I can't go to Andy and tell him the car is just terrible. Sammy can't make it work. First off, we think we're getting the cars better. We're actually running better. We're fortunate we don't have to worry about that because we can't BS our car owner."
ANY FUTURE WITH INDY CARS OR DOUBLE RACING WEEKEND? "If I'm going to be pulling double duty on a weekend, it's going to be Busch and Winston Cup or trucks and Winston Cup. I actually have no desires to run a CART car or IRL car or anything like that, no desires whatsoever. I like my old stock cars. They're a whole lot of fun (along with) the Craftsman Truck Series. I'm not up on the open wheel deal and have no desire to really be involved in it."
SAMMY JOHNS (Crew chief No. 33 Skoal Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "So far, it's going pretty good. Kenny and I communicate well together and get along good. I feel like we're making the cars better every week. I really enjoy the opportunity to work with Andy Petree. Terry Satchel and Jimmy Elledge are all good competitors in this sport, and there's a lot to learn there and I've been learning a lot as every day goes along. I'm really enjoying my opportunity to work with Kenny and this team. "It's a fun race (Winston Open). I feel like we've got a good opportunity to go into and win it. Kenny has run well there a lot. I think he's got the second highest finishing average of anybody in The Winston. He really likes the Charlotte race track. We had a good test there. We're not going to hold back anything. We're going with everything we've got. We're going to give it our all to win it. "I'm comfortable with the situation I'm in. If I can't get the job done they'll let me know, and if I can't get the job done I'll probably be the first one to let them know. I'm in a fortunate situation with Andy Petree because he knows. He's been there and done it. He knows what's going on and he's a very honest person. If I'm not getting the job done he's going to sit me down and let me know where I need to work on it. I put most of the pressure on myself. I want us to win races and run well. Each situation is its own. You don't ever know the insides or what was really going on, so you really don't talk about it (other crew chiefs) that much. "Oh yeah, he (Schrader) can get excited and mad, especially when the car is not working. He'll let you know. Fortunately we haven't been in that situation a lot. Overall, he's a super nice guy and a heck of a race car driver. "When you're not winning every week it's tough. Everybody who works in this sport is doing it because they want to win races. You just have to come back and do all you can to keep morale up and keep them focused in the right Tuesday, May 18, 1999. Highlights of Winston Teleconference with Ken Schrader and Sammy Johns. Chevrolet notes, quotes. Page 4 of 4.
SAMMY JOHNS (Crew chief No. 33 Skoal Chevrolet Monte Carlo) direction. As long as you can put something out there for them on the horizon, that you are making progress and you are working toward winning races, it makes it a lot easier for them. We'd like to definitely get running better and move up to top-five runs instead of top 10s and get up in the points. We're 12th now. We need to get back in the top 10 and work towards getting in the top five. We need to get in victory lane. "I feel it's definitely going to be an advantage down the road (two-car team). I feel it's been an advantage already. Jimmy Elledge, crew chief of 55 car, and I communicate very well. There's nothing held back from either one of us. It's open book, any time we want. Kenny Wallace has a real good feel for a race car. He's got a good feel for shocks. We feel we've seen some progress already from the two-car deal and there's more to come from it."