Winston Teleconference with No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T LEE McCALL (Crew chief No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T) "We have a lake house down in Greenville (S.C.) and we're going to go down there and enjoy the weekend and take...
Winston Teleconference with No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T
LEE McCALL (Crew chief No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We have a lake house down in Greenville (S.C.) and we're going to go down there and enjoy the weekend and take the kids out on the lake and we've got a golf tournament coming up and we're going to try to button that up. I'm just going to really relax and try to spend a lot of time with the kids and family this weekend.
"You always want to think that and obviously we had a great year last year and we knew if we dotted all our I's and crossed all our T's we'd be in the hunt this year. We've made that move. It's a little too early to be worried about that, but we're compiling all the points we can right now to challenge these guys at the end of the year.
"I think as a person, it makes me work harder and to push my guys to work harder also. When you're on top, you want to work even harder to keep the guys down behind you. We're working as hard as ever to do that. We're treating each and every race the same. We're going to go out there and compile as many points as we can. If we have an off day like we did at Richmond, we're going to come up with an 11th place finish or whatever our car is capable of doing. When you can turn a bad day into a good day like that, you felt like you've done something for that day.
"Chip and Felix have put some great people in place here and have put together a championship organization. I felt like when I was at the 12 car, I felt like there were a few people there capable of doing that. Right now, we have 100 people working here and each guy's goal is to reach the same thing. It's a credit to what these guys put together here. Tony is a great teacher and I need that at this point in my career. He's done a great job, giving me a lot of support, not only Tony but Andy and Felix and Chip. It's all about chemistry and right now those guys have put together a great race team to build a lot of chemistry.
"It's a communication factor and chemistry.... Sterling and I think alike. We kinda act alike. We're both laid back. We don't get excited about things. When you can show your emotion without showing your emotion and keeping it inside you know lots of times that's great for the guys on the race team. I think I do that quite well. Sterling and I talk sometimes two and three times a day, at least once. We reach deep down in each other's heart and brain and try to pick everything we can out. Obviously, 90 percent of the time we hit on the same thing and that's what it takes to have a successful relationship. We did a test at Lakeland, Fla., last winter and I knew right off the bat we were going to get pretty close real quick and figure out each other fairly fast. We did that by winning the 125s at Daytona. From there to this day forward, we feel a pretty large relationship.
"Any time you can get a weekend off and spend time with your family, that's great. We only have a few of those a year. If you're a racer and if you eat, breath and sleep it, it doesn't matter if you run 50 races a year or 20. When I came into this sport and saw what it took to live in this sport and want to stay, I knew it would be grueling and tough, and I knew I had to adapt to that. My family has adapted to it. Obviously you want to spend more time with 'em, but it's not always there.
"We'll continue a five-day work week. The road guys who go early will have a four-day work week and take a long weekend and come back refreshed next week because before long we start our 20-race stretch and the guys really need their time off also. I think so with the way we've got this thing structured, I totally concentrate on my race cars and my race team. The things that come above and beyond that, we have people here who handle it. I don't have to worry about if we have a room this week or where we're going to stay next week. We have people here who deal with the sponsors, and that really takes a load off the crew chief and things they used to do. To be able to totally concentrate 100 percent on the race cars is really a big plus now. We're pressing on. We've got our car fleet built up. We have one more brand new car to build, and that will give us 14 race cars to finish the season with. To have everything sitting here lined up and painted is obviously a credit to everybody here and this organization. We're approaching it just like we did last year. We had great success toward the end of the year and hopefully it'll turn out the same this year.
"Your guys kinda feed off your emotions. I try to set a good example for our guys. I'm laid back and I don't show a lot of emotion. I think if I was running around wide open and showing a lot of emotion, it would get our race team stirred up. Our guys are pretty laid back. They feed off their leaders. I try to set a good example for those guys. We've got a great group of guys on this Coors Light Dodge team. I'm real proud of them. Every team tackles their objectives differently. We have our philosophy and I'm sure they look up to us and say those guys are lazy. We approach each and every week the same. If you once stray away from that, you kinda disrupt your race team. We meet each and every day of the week with the road crews and go over our week's projects and talk everything out. We have a pretty good idea of our work week and work load. I think that's why you see our guys so laid back.
"It's a big puzzle here, and I'm just honored to be a small piece of it. We have a great motor program, and we really got going quick on that. We have a great aero program and we really worked around the clock to stay on top of it. That's what it's all about in this sport. You can't ever quit. You've got to keep raising the bar. Our guys work hard here to stay on top, not only for the Dodge teams but for the other teams in Winston Cup racing. They do an awful good job with that.
"Quite a few Dodges had some good runs last year, but they didn't have the finishes to show for it. It's all about chemistry. We built that from day one betwe. en myself and Sterling. We continue to build on that. I've probably said it a hundred times, but it's all about chemistry and attitudes. I really work hard on that and preach that to our guys. That's what makes the race team, and Ray Evernham is a living example of that. I don't' think we were doing anything different than anyone else. We were just a little bit ahead of everybody else on the chemistry end. We put that in place early and hit on some stuff right off the bat.
"If you're not getting along at the shop or your driver and crew chief isn't getting along, you're going to have total chaos. It might take it awhile to show and build, but eventually it'll tell on you and at the end, your performance is going to show you have a problem between communicating and chemistry. I think they had that up at the 12 car, and I think it turned out better for Jeremy to part ways. This whole sport is about people and chemistry.
"When we went to Daytona for Speedweeks, we had six of our downforce cars sitting here ready, painted and had already done a test or two. Daytona is obviously the biggest race of the year, but you can really lose focus early on your short track program and your high speed intermediate program. If you don't attack that throughout the winter time. We did that and had a great fleet of cars sitting here ready when we went to Speedweeks. We continue to build that. We've built three more new cars and we've won with one of them twice and raced another new one at Fontana. We continue to build new cars and in another week or so we'll have our fleet built up and have 14 hot rods sitting here in the floor. We'll start working on our 2003 program hopefully in August.
"Our short track program last year was off a little bit at the beginning but we improved on it at Loudon and Richmond and Phoenix at the end of the year. Our finishes didn't show for it, but we finished third at Loudon at the end of the year and had some great runs at Phoenix and Richmond but we had some problems. We're going to focus on our short track program and our road course program. We felt like those two types of tracks were our downfall. We're going to do some testing coming up pretty soon and really put a lot of focus into that and hopefully improve our performances at those places. Sterling obviously does a great job for us, but he knows he could be a little better on the road courses, and we're going to go road course testing and see if he can't figure out some things -- not only himself but myself. We're really working hard to beef up the whole organization's performances at those tracks."