Saturday, July 10, 1999. New Hampshire International Speedway. Jiffy Lube 300 Chevrolet notes and quote MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 Philips Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The past five or six weeks, we've qualified good. I've been real happy...
Saturday, July 10, 1999. New Hampshire International Speedway. Jiffy Lube 300 Chevrolet notes and quote
MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 Philips Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "The past five or six weeks, we've qualified good. I've been real happy with it. We're progressing, and that's a great feeling. To qualify eighth up here at a track where I've struggled makes us optimistic. We started practice this morning and we weren't anywhere near where we needed to be. We started yesterday, we weren't really where we wanted to be. I think I was 40th on the chart. We just kept working on it and got better. The same thing happened in this session. I wasn't comfortable with the car and then the communication between me and the team and we were able to get where we needed to be. At the end of practice, we were pretty pleased with the progress we made. We're going to go further with our changes. What you'd like is to show up and unload and be one of the fastest guys and have it be that way all weekend, but we work real hard to get what we've got. We're visiting another place here we've never been before as a team. Bobby has notes. I have notes, but I burned mine because they were so bad. "The first few times I came here I was pretty good. I ran 10th in '96. That was my only top 10. In the 30 car, I ran good a couple of times, but we didn't end up with good results. We were always competitive. In '97 and '98 with the Wood Brothers, I just don't feel like I did a good job over there, giving them the information they needed to make me better. I feel like I hurt them. When I came to this team, from the beginning I said I wanted to be involved and be a part of it. I wanted to show what I knew and tell them what I knew and tell them things I'd see about the car. This team was built to listen to me and use my input. I'm more involved than I've ever been before. "I think about Jeff Burton. When he got the 99 ride in '96 and I got the 21 ride in '96, we started off the first half of the year racing each other and the second half of the year he got a little better. We wound up 13th and 14th in the points. Since that time, you see where he's gone to and I'm still in the same place. I have a lot of respect for Jeff and the fact he's been able to be involved with that team and build it into championship caliber. I feel like I have the knowledge and experience to assist my crew chief, Bobby Kennedy, and my team, and get us closer to that point, too. "We've had to develop our team. We basically started our team in November or December. You hear guys now saying if they don't get their teams started now for next season it's too late. In the middle of October, we didn't have a sponsor and we didn't have any cars and we didn't have a motor program. Jim Mattei (car owner) thought about quitting as late as October. We put all that behind us, built cars and started the team. The first half of the season we had some great runs, but unfortunately five finishes of 37th or worse. We're still in the top 20 in points and it seems like all my favorite tracks is where I broke. "Charlotte, we were running the 600 with 30 laps to go we were running 12th and broke. We had a good run going at Dover and broke, and of course, last week at Daytona was a track I'd looked forward to since we left in February and we had a problem. I'm more in tune with running good than I am finishing. Last year with the 21, I don't know if it was my fault or what happened, but I was more concerned with getting every finish. I looked at 20th being better than 21st. This year, I'm saying let's go run up front and run better. If we outrun the guys who are around us in the points, then we'll pass them eventually. That's the line of thinking this year. What's missing, we've never been to the wind tunnel. Not one time, so an aerodynamic program Saturday, July 10, 1999. New Hampshire International Speedway. Jiffy Lube 300 advance. Chevrolet notes and quotes. Page 2.
MICHAEL WALTRIP (No. 7 Philips Chevrolet Monte Carlo) is missing. We're addressing that. Hopefully we're going to put together a program like Childress and Petree and Earnhardt have. We're going forth with an aggressive plan to develop the 2000 Monte Carlo. We're pretty good for where we're at, and the reason is teamwork and communication. There are some pieces of the puzzle we've yet to put together, and we're working on that now. "I didn't qualify at Phoenix last fall. I'd started 400 or so in a row, and that bothered me to miss a race. When I qualified yesterday, I was walking back to the motor home thinking I couldn't wait to get back to Phoenix. I want to win the pole so bad to put that behind me. With this team, by the time we get to Phoenix, that will be something that's realistically possible. New Hampshire is a big short track, but so is Phoenix. They all relate to Richmond and Martinsville. At Richmond, I think we finished 21st. We used a provisional and we used a backup car, and I don't remember passing anybody. Everybody just kept blowing their tires out, so we finished 21st. We went to Martinsville and qualified bad. In the final practice, we were last. I couldn't remember that every happening before, and I was tore up about it. The next day, we really ran good and broke an oil line and finished 39th. When we left there, we said we had to circle Loudon on the calendar and have a brand new car by then. We needed the latest-greatest to give us a chance to be better, and that's what we did. It looks like and feels like we've accomplished that. "If we do a good job this afternoon, there's no reason we shouldn't be able to run in the top five Sunday. That's a major story as far as our team goes and be in particularly because I haven't been that good in these places. We feel confident if we get it right we can accomplish that. We're still searching a little bit. We're working on the car and I'm sure everybody else in the garage is, too. We want to be more competitive this afternoon in Happy Hour. Hopefully, that'll make us good Sunday. "It's wide open all the way in the race, but the pits will play a part in it at some point. Whether you get two tires or four tires and how well that decision works. We've talked about that. I think the best strategy is to take all the things that are possible into consideration and write 'em down and have 'em in your playbook, but don't fill out your game plan. Just have all the plays that are possible in your book. As soon as the caution flies, if you had a strategy or plan, that changes it. We're starting up front. It's real important to run good in Happy Hour this afternoon. If we're 40th in Happy Hour this afternoon, then that's not good because we're starting up front. We need to be good enough to maintain that. If we're not good in Happy Hour, we'll be scratching our heads this evening. If we can get the car tuned up and running good in Happy Hour, then we'll look at it and work on different plans. We'll consider all things and implement them Sunday. "It's Bobby Kennedy's call. He listens to me but if he wants to do two tires it's fine with me and if he wants to do four, it's fine with me. If I have a feeling on something and I feel strongly about it, I'll tell him and it'll be considered. We try to respect each other and work real hard together and use everything around us, all of our resources to make us better. That's our goal. "Hopefully we won't have any more DNF's. We had enough of those. We're looking for a steady climb from 19th in the points. It's very possible to get in the top 10. Right now, guys eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th are running a little bit better than us. We can't outrun them, but we plan on getting better. If we don't finish in the top 15 in the points and have more top 10s and more top fives in the second half than the first half, then we won't be happy. We haven't used we got a late start as an excuse. We've just said we should be better in the second half. If we're not, then we've failed. I don't see any people on this team that will accept that. Everybody is real gung-ho about getting the job done."